The summer of 2007, my family and I took a vacation to Paris for two weeks. Before leaving, I didn’t really know what to expect, except for many tours of tourist attractions and museums. During the trip, the weather did not cooperate with rain and cold temperatures each day, but my expectations on the museums were met.I went to Musee du Louvre, Musee de l’Orangerie, Musee d’Orsay, Musee du Luxembourg, and finally Musee Picasso (the most interesting one).
While we were at Musee Picasso, I kept hearing my mom say, “This is something a 5 year-old would make. Why is Picasso so famous?” Apart from the fact that it got very annoying to hear her say this every couple of minutes, she did have me thinking about Picasso as an artist. How did he become famous? Why is there a museum dedicated to his so-called masterpieces? After this year, I learned more about Picasso through my art history seminars and finally understood the secret to his success.
Pablo Picasso was a Spanish artist during the 20th century. Interestingly, he demonstrated extraordinary artistic talent in his early years and a passion for drawing. He received training and was sent to the Royal Academy of San Fernando at the age of 16. His work started as very realistic and technical, then became strongly influenced by African sculpture. While African artifacts were being brought to Paris museums and Picasso experienced a “revelation” while viewing this artwork, later painting Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (considered the first Cubist work). He then developed a style of painting from this called Analytic Cubism with Georges Braque. This involved taking apart objects and analyzing them in terms of their shapes. He later, nearing World War II, moved into surrealism creating, arguably, his most famous work Guernica (a depiction of the German bombing of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War).
Picasso was a very smart artist. He not only knew how to technically create realistic art, but knew the styles of the changing periods and what was popular at the time. That was probably why he became famous because of his ability to adapt to the changing trends of society at the time, almost like he was a chameleon.
Luckily for me, the AGO (Art Gallery of Ontario) is having an exhibition called PICASSO: Masterpieces From The Musee National Picasso, Paris. It will feature 147 works from the museum until August, 2012. I am planning on visiting the exhibition to remember the works I saw 5 years ago. I’m planning on taking my mom (although she may repeat what she did last time) so I can share my new-found knowledge of Picasso. Maybe she will appreciate the artist like I have.