Pablo Picasso Cubism for Kids

by Buffy Naillon, Demand Media

    The legacy left behind by artist Pablo Picasso forever changed the way people view art. Although he worked in every artistic medium throughout his long life, most people cite his breakthroughs in painting from 1907 to 1911 as his greatest achievement. Taking his cues from a 19th century artist and from the art from primitive cultures, Picasso pioneered the art movement known as cubism.

    Biography

    Pablo Picasso was born with a talent for art. Picasso's father, Jose Ruiz Blasco, taught art at the School of Arts and Crafts in Malaga, Spain. Picasso showed promise as an artist very early in his life with some rumors stating that he knew how to draw before he could talk. Picasso eventually studied art in La Coruña, Barcelona and Madrid, where he attended the School of Fine Arts. He entered the school as an advanced student. This was because he showed his artistic ability by completing all required work for the school's entrance exam in one day. Pupils had up to one month to complete the work. He applied this same kind of genius to his life's work as an artist, which changed the history of art forever.

    Influences

    A few unrelated elements exerted influence on Picasso's work, which ultimately led to the creation of cubism. Picasso followed the work of 19th century artist, Paul Cezanne, whose innovations in art changed the way of depicting objects on the picture plane. He could visually identify the geometric structures that underlie most objects in nature and life and recreate them in recognizable form on canvas. This along with primitive art from Iberian and African cultures shaped Picasso's art.

    Les Demoiselles d'Avignon

    These diverse influences swirled together until Picasso created the ground-breaking painting "Les Demoiselles d'Avignon," which depicted five women in a brothel. The seeds of cubism emerged in this painting, which showed not only the influences of Cezanne and the primitive art, but more as well. The faces of some of the women seemed to be from more than one angle, much the same way one would see a sculpture of the face. The piece caused a scandal in the art world, because no one had ever seen anything like it before in proper art circles.

    Cubism and Braque

    Picasso wasn't alone in creating cubism. He and French painter Georges Braque carried on an artistic conversation of sorts in which they explored the facets of cubism. It had two phases --- analytic and synthetic. Although portraits painted in cubist style showed the sitter from more than one point of view, the subject was still recognizable. Collage as an art form emerged from cubism as well as a full realization of the technique for recreating objects in geometric form that Cezanne had started.

    About the Author

    Buffy Naillon has worked in the media industry since 1999, contributing to Germany's "Der Spiegel" magazine and various websites. She received a bachelor's degree in German from Boise State University. Naillon also attended New York University and participated in the foreign exchange program at Germany's Saarland University. She is completing her master's degree in educational technology at Boise State.

    Photo Credits

    • Mario Tama/Getty Images News/Getty Images