- Blue Period (1901 – 1904)
- Origins/Sources/Inspirations: Influenced by a journey through Spain and by the suicide of his friend Carlos Casagemas (1881-1901).
- Distinguishing Characteristics: use of nearly monochromatic blues and blue greens, subjects of misfortune (beggars, drunks, prostitutes, the crippled, hungry, sick, and destitute).
- Significance: Reflection of Picasso’s own melancholy nature at the time; defined Picasso as a modern painter, addressing symbolical, philosophical, and humanitarian themes.
- EXAMPLE: Pablo Picasso, La Vie (Life) (1903), Oil on canvas, Cleveland (OH), The Cleveland Museum of Art
- Rose Period (1904 – 1906)
- Origins/Sources/Inspirations: French culture, Picasso’s relationship with Fernande Olivier (1881 – 1966).
- Distinguishing Characteristics: Palette of pinks, reds, and oranges, romantic in nature, subjects of harlequins, circus performers, and clowns, subtlety of line.
- Significance: Step away from figurative work towards a more expressive and abstract use of color and line, beginning of artistic prosperity for Picasso.
- EXAMPLE: Pablo Picasso, The Family of Saltimbanques, (1905), Oil on canvas, Washington, National Gallery of Art
- Proto-Cubism (Iberian and African Period) (1906 – 1907)
- Origins/Sources/Inspirations: Ancient sculpture of Iberia, African art (particularly totem art).
- Distinguishing Characteristics: Nudes, a disregard for perspective, the relations of body parts to each other, and the logic of natural appearance, stylistic and sexual extremes.
- Significance: Defied convention and defined Picasso as an innovative artist with artistic integrity.
- EXAMPLE: Pablo Picasso, Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, (1907), Oil on canvas, New York, The Museum of Modern Art
- Analytical Cubism (1907 – 1912)
- Origins/Sources/Inspirations: Demoiselles d’Avignon, Paul Cézanne (1839 -1906), Georges Braque (1882 – 1963).
- Distinguishing Characteristics: Monochromatic, neutral coloration in brownish shades, relatively unemotional subject matters (still lives, nudes, landscapes), open figuration and abstraction.
- Significance: Developed a new way of seeing that reflected the modern times, emphasis on form over content.
- EXAMPLE: Pablo Picasso, Girl with Mandolin, (1910), Oil on canvas, New York, The Museum of Modern Art
- Synthetic Cubism (1912 – 1917)
- Origins/Sources/Inspirations: Georges Braque (1882 – 1963), fascination with construction and deconstruction, modern urban street life.
- Distinguishing Characteristics: Texture, patterning, collage, text, newspaper scraps.
- Significance: Redefined the visual function of technique and of the materials used, viewed as the precursor of the artistic avant-garde throughout Europe.
- EXAMPLE: Pablo Picasso, Violin, Glass, Pipe, and Inkpot, (1912), Oil on canvas, Prague, Národni Gallery
- Classicism (1916 – 1924)
- Origins/Sources/Inspirations: Classical antiquity, the ballet, theater, high society, Picasso’s wife Russian ballerina Olga Koklova (1891 – 1954), photography.
- Distinguishing Characteristics: Figural imagery conveyed in the classical tradition, subjects of classicist nudes and portraits (emphasis on the human form, often monumentalized), beach scenes.
- Significance: A return to order amidst times of war, an assertion of Picasso’s artistic freedom to alter his style as he saw fit.
- EXAMPLE: Pablo Picasso, Family on the Seashore, (1922), Oil on panel, Paris, Musée Picasso
- Surrealism (1925-1936)
- Origins/Sources/Inspirations: Surrealist writers, artists, and sculptors such as André Breton (1896 – 1966), Paul Eluard (1895 – 1952), Joan Miró (1893 – 1983), and Alberto Giacometti (1901 – 1966), Picasso’s mistress Marie Thérèse (1909 – 1977).
- Distinguishing Characteristics: relations between the sexes, artist-and-model subjects, mythological subjects, a sense of violence and tension, disjointed and distorted forms.
- Significance: Reflections of Picasso’s own tumultuous love life as well as political tensions of the time, revealing of Picasso’s “unconscious.”
- EXAMPLE: Pablo Picasso, The Sculptor, (1931), Oil on plywood, Paris, Musée Picasso
- Guernica and the Spanish Civil War (1937)
- Origins/Sources/Inspirations: Response to the bombing of the town of Guernica in Spain during the Spanish Civil War, commissioned by the Spanish Republican government for the Paris International Exhibition at the 1937 World’s Fair in Paris.
- Distinguishing Characteristics: Monumental size, grey, black, and white color palette, combination of classical and surrealist styles with principles based on children’s drawings (the use of detail motifs, contouring, and perspective), the bull and the horse as important figures in Spanish culture .
- Significance: Powerful commentary on the horrors of civil war, anti-war symbol for peace, considered one of the most important 20th century works of art.
- EXAMPLE: Pablo Picasso, Guernica, (1937), Oil on canvas, Madrid, Museo Nacional del Prado, Cason del Buen Retiro
- World War II (1939 – 1945)
- Origins/Sources/Inspirations: Turbulence of WWII, the occupation of France by the Germans and Picasso’s subsequent isolation in his French studio.
- Distinguishing Characteristics: Cubist dissociation, figuration, and childlike symbolism, portraiture, compositions that relay a sense of tension rather than harmony, subtlety and allusiveness.
- Significance: Utilized ambiguity of form to disguise his critique of WWII and political turmoil, cautious allusions to violence and conflict, created works commemorating Jewish friends killed in concentration camps.
- EXAMPLE: Pablo Picasso, Cat Catching a Bird (1939), Oil on canvas, Paris, Musée Picasso
- Later Works (1945 – 1973)
- Origins/Sources/Inspirations: Communist ideology, masterworks by famed artists such as Diego Velázquez (1599-1660), Édouard Manet (1832 – 1883), Lucas Cranach the Younger (1515 – 1586), El Greco (1541-1614), and Nicolas Poussin (1594 -1665), Picasso’s wife Jacqueline Rogue (1927 – 1986).
- Distinguishing Characteristics: Symbolic form, self-referential, overtly sexual, reinterpretations of artwork by other great masters’, portraits (particularly of his wife Jacqueline), subject of the artist at work in his studio, bullfights, bathers, figures from classical mythology, sculptural and ceramic works, prints.
- Significance: Secured Picasso as a famous public figure with a worldwide reputation, Picasso viewed as the most important figure in and founder of Modern art.
Periods: A Catalogue Raisonne of the Paintings, 1900 – 1906.
Greenwich: New York Graphic Society Ltd., 1967.
- 1. Daix, Pierre and Georges Boudaille. Picasso The Blue and Rose
Works 1890-1936. Edited by Ingo F. Walther. Germany: Benedikt Taschen, 1994.
- 2. Warncke, Carsten-Peter. Pablo Picasso 1881-1973, Vol. I The
Works 1937-1973. Edited by Ingo F. Walther. Germany: Benedikt Taschen, 1994.
- 3. Warncke, Carsten-Peter. Pablo Picasso 1881-1973, Vol. II The