Born in Málaga in 1881, Pablo Picasso was one of the twentieth century’s greatest artists – and one of its most influential. A founding member of the Cubism movement, he was a painter who also worked on sculptures and ceramics and was a stage designer and print maker as well. His work was always considered highly radical.


Picasso’s father was a painter and art teacher and his own artistic talents became obvious from an early age. Indeed, legend has it that his first word was ‘piz piz’, as he tried to say the Spanish for pencil, lápiz.

When Picasso turned 14, the family moved to Barcelona where he attended the city's School of Fine Arts well below the usual age of admittance. He preferred walking the city’s streets and sketching to formal classes – something which later repeated itself at Madrid’s Royal Academy of San Fernando.

A move back to Barcelona saw Picasso fall in with an artistic and intellectual group based at the Four Cats (El Quatre Gats) café. Here, Picasso swapped the classical methods of his earliest training for innovation and experimentation.

By the start of the twentieth century, the artist had opened a studio in Paris. It was the start of his ‘Blue Period’, during which that colour dominated. He depicted isolation, anguish and poverty, with Blue Nude, La Vie and The Old Guitarist among the period’s notable works.

By 1905, warmer colours began to appear during the ‘Rose Period’, including reds and pinks. Paintings from these years include Gertrude Stein and Two Nudes.

A stark depiction of five nude prostitutes, Les Demoiselles d’Avignon is considered a precursor of Cubism. In this school, things are taken apart then reassembled in an abstract way, highlighting geometric shapes. In1907, Cubism shocked and gripped the art world in equal measure.

Picasso Art

Picasso’s early cubist works included Three Women and Girl with Mandolin, while later art from this period moved even further away from the conventions of the time.

Dominated by the First World War, the years 1918 to 1927 saw a short return to realism in paintings like Three Women at the Spring. After 1927, Picasso became involved in a fresh philosophical and cultural movement - Surrealism - and in 1937, his most famous picture of all, Guernica, presented a devastating Surrealist critique of the horrors of war.

After the Second World War and by then a global celebrity and a Communist Party member, Picasso grew increasingly political. Crude techniques and childish imagery now dominated his work - one of the best examples is Self-Portrait Facing Death, done in crayon and pencil.

Picasso died in France in April 1973, aged 91 but his legacy and influence still remain thanks to his creative vision, technical wizardry and capacity for constant reinvention.

If we’ve inspired you to pick up a paintbrush, Solent Plastics stocks some of the essential kit, including our Really Useful Box Range of ergonomically designed stackable boxes, with or without lids, for storing all your materials.