Pablo Picasso: Challenging the Past

See the latest Picasso exhibition at the National Gallery London

We are just a short walk away from the National Gallery and hailed as one the most influential and famous artists of the 20th century, Pablo Picasso was a painter, draughtsman and sculptor who is best known for co-founding the Cubist movement.Call us on Tel: +44 (0)207 834 1438.
Pablo Picasso Exhibition

Pablo Picasso

Picasso is often described as a dominating force in Western art, and he was certainly very prolific - producing around 22 thousand different pieces of art in his lifetime. There has not been an art movement in the 20th century that he has not influenced, contributed to or founded. He is also a force to be reckoned with - no artist before or after him has had such a large global appreciative audience during his lifetime. He has even had two museums dedicated to his work alone in his own lifetime.

Pablo Picasso's art works have been very varied, he has tried his hand in many different art styles and disciplines, trying to ceaselessly create a style all his own and leaving permanent marks in each art movement.

Brief Biography of Pablo Picasso

The son of a professor of art, Pablo Picasso learnt to paint by meticulous studying and copying of the masters at a young age. Regarded as a boy genius, Picasso was accepted by a couple of Schools of Fine Arts at a very young age as the works he produced were more advanced than those senior students who were studying for their final year projects. His talent was so great, that even his father gave him his own brush and palette vowing that he would never paint again after watching Picasso finish one of his own paintings.

Abandoning formal art education in his mid teens, as he felt that there was nothing new that he can learn from being taught in such a way, Picasso went to Paris to find a style all his own. At first he admired the great European masters such as El Greco, Valezquez and Goya, he tried their techniques in several paintings and portraits. He also looked at contemporary and recent modern artists of the time such as Toulouse-Lautrec, Renoir, Monet and Manet and worked them in such a way as to create his own style.

Picasso’s Blue Period

The suicide of his friend, fellow artist Casagemas bought on a new style of art for Picasso, one described as Picasso's Blue Period. This was when most of Picasso's canvases took on hues of blue and blue-green with a very melancholy mood about them. People of the street – prostitutes, beggars and poor gaunt people were subjects of his paintings. One of his most famous canvasses from this period is La Vie completed in 1903.

Although his artworks from this period are popular now, they were not at the time he painted them – this may have been due to the melancholy air about them. Picasso’s Blue period is said to be inspired by a more Spanish influence.

Picasso's Rose Period

The Blue Period gave way to Picasso’s Rose Period. Here the paintings were of a more cheerful nature and took on warm tones of pink and orange. Picasso’s Rose period was influenced by happier circumstances at this time as well as a French influence.

African Inspired and Cubism

Here Picasso's paintings were inspired by African masks and along with Georges Braque created cubism. Cubism was a very important avant-garde art movement in the 20th Century and it revolutionalised European painting and sculpture. Cubism was so popular, it even influenced and inspired related movements in literature, architecture and music.

Cubism is inspired by primitivism found in Iberian art, Greek art, African art and tribal masks and Native American art and was initially started by Paul Cezanne’s later works. The painted surface is broken up into many small multi-fragmented areas – therefore you get a sense of a plural viewpoint of the subject matter – as if you see all viewpoints of a 3-dimensional object on one plane. This results in a simplification of objects and subject matters into simple forms such as spheres, cylinders and cones etc.

Along with Georges Braque Picasso inspired three phases in cubism:

  • Protocubsim – as seen in Les Demoiselles d’Avignon
  • Analytic Cubism
  • Synthetic Cubism – using synthetic materials in art

Picasso: Challenging the Past Exhibition

Picasso: Challenging the Past is the latest exhibition of Picasso's works examining and exploring the influence of the European masters on his works, his re-interpretations and also his art works responding to them. The exhibition opens at the National Gallery in London and will run from 25th February until 7th June 2009.

If you are planning a visit to London to see this exhibition, why not stay for the night and take advantage of Georgian House Hotel's special offer! For full details, please click here.

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Georgian House Hotel is ideally situated in a very central location, so visiting sights all over London is quick and easy. Why not book Georgian House Hotel when you plan your trip to the Tate Modern to see the latest exhibition on Mark Rothko? You can book online or email to make a reservation on, or telephone on 0044(0)207 834 143.