The Genius of the 20th century, whose work and artistic contribution can be classified in both the Age of Modernism and the Age of Pluralism, is artist and social commentator Pablo Picasso. Picasso is a genius because he helped create an entire new art form through his modern artwork, but he also was an individual not content to simply work as an artist. His works also reflected his political beliefs, were often a social commentary on what was happening in society, and were always interesting or even startling. He represents both the Age of Modernism with his paintings and other artworks, and the Age of Pluralism with his works that were not only art, but political commentary, too.
Pablo Picasso was born in October 1881 in Malaga, Spain. He grew up in Malaga and began to draw at a young age -- supervised by his father, who was a professor and artist himself. When he was ten, the family moved to La Coruna, where Picasso enrolled in the Instituto da Guarda. He studied art, sculpture, and even watercolor techniques at the Instituto. He painted his first serious oil paintings by 1894-95. By 1895, Picasso had visited the Prado Museum in Barcelona, and enrolled in the La Llotja art school there when he was still only fifteen. He understood the mechanics of painting, and was far ahead of his classmates, even though most of them were older than he was (McCully, 1997). He began to exhibit some of his works by 1896, and his father was a tireless promoter of his son's work and career. During this time Picasso also began to frequent the bars and cafes that were popular with writers and artists, and his political beliefs began to formulate and take shape. In 1897, he entered the Academia Real de San Fernando in Madrid, but by 1899 he had returned to Barcelona to live with his family. He was done with schooling, and preferred to sketch and paint on his own. He earned money as a graphic artist, and also associated with popular artists and writers in the bohemian art community (Els Quatre Gats) of the city. Biographer McCully continues, "Catalan modernism was the predominant literary and artistic movement in Barcelona at the turn of the century, and the writers, dramatists, graphic artists, and painters who gathered at Els Quatre Gats were exponents of the movement's international aspirations" (McCully, 1997). Modernism was the most popular style of painting during this time, and Picasso experimented with it, creating several works, one of which was chosen to hang in the Spanish pavilion at the Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1900. Picasso traveled to Paris to see the pavilion, and he and several friends took over a studio and remained in the city until January 1901, when he returned to Madrid and took a studio there, but returned to Paris and a new studio by the middle of the year.
This began the artist's "blue period," where he painted almost exclusively in that color, experimenting with shades and color balance. He later said this period resulted from the suicide of a good friend. His artwork was becoming well received, but he returned to Barcelona in 1902, and began working on several sculptures. His biographer continues, "Picasso's earlier sculptures -- including a seated woman, a picador, and a blind singer -- suggest the prevailing influence of Auguste Rodin, especially in the expressive treatment of surfaces" (McCully, 1997). He continued to move between Paris and Spain several times, and finally settled in Paris for good in 1904, where he next moved into the "Rose" or "Pink Period." In 1905 he began a relationship with Fernande Olivier, and Gertrude Stein became his patron. He moved on to relationships with many women during his career, and had During this time he developed his distinctive modern style, and by the time he turned 25, he would become known as an innovator and creator of modern art as we know it today. He dabbled in cubism, Dadaism, and many other styles, but eventually developed a style that was uniquely his own. His style was modern, sometimes violent, and always unusual and daring.
His work became revolutionary for its color, its modern or "cubist" shapes, and his…