October 25, 1881: Pablo Picasso Was Born in Malaga, Spain

At his birth, Picasso failed to breathe and the midwife pronounced him as stillborn. Then an uncle blew cigar smoke in his nose and the baby Picasso began to cry. (I feel the same way in restaurants when someone does that.)

According to Picasso’s mother, the boy could draw even before he could talk. And of course he went right on drawing. And painting. And making sculptures. And making history. Although he knew how to paint in the classic style, Picasso preferred to break the rules, experimenting with perspective, bodies, faces, styles, and colors. Perhaps his most famous picture is the black, white, and gray picture Guernica, which commemorated the bombing of the village of that name by German and Italian Fascists in the Spanish Civil War in 1937. It uses one of his recurrent themes, that of the Minotaur (savage mythological beast half-man and half-bull) as the centerpiece in a dystopic vision of “brutality and darkness” as Picasso later characterized it.

Guernica, 1937 by Pablo Picasso via http://www.PabloPicasso.org

A PBS Website on “Treasures of the World,” which includes a page on the painting, notes:

“Speculations as to the exact meaning of the jumble of tortured images are as numerous and varied as the people who have viewed the painting. There is no doubt that Guernica challenges our notions of warfare as heroic and exposes it as a brutal act of self-destruction. But it is a hallmark of Picasso’s art that any symbol can hold many, often contradictory meanings, and the precise significance of the imagery in Guernica remains ambiguous.”

There is an official website on which you can see many of his works here. One of his self-portraits is shown below:


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