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Pablo Picasso Quotations

sun When you come right down to it all you have is yourself. The sun is a thousand rays in your belly. All the rest is nothing." - Picasso

You know, music, art - these are not just little decorations to make life prettier. They're very deep necessitites which people cannot live without." - Picasso

Art is not the application of a canon of beauty but what the instinct and the brain can conceive beyond any canon. When we love a woman we don't start measuring her limbs. - Picasso

To finish a picture? What nonsense! - Picasso

We must pick out what is good for us where we can find it." - Picasso

I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it." [Pablo Picasso] Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up." - Pablo Picasso

It takes a long time to become young. - Picasso

Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life. - Picasso

One must act in painting as in life, directly. - Picasso

Look for a situation in which your work will give you as much happiness as your spare time. - Picasso

Why should I copy this owl, this sea urchin? Why should I try to imitate nature? I might just as well try to trace a perfect circle. What I have to do is utilize as best I can the ideas which objects suggest to me . . . illuminate them [somewhat]." [Pablo Picasso]

Computers . . . give you answers. [With Picasso]

[Also work somewhat] below your means. If you can handle three elements, handle only two. If you can handle ten, then handle only five. In that way the ones you do handle, you handle with more ease, more mastery, and you create a feeling of strength in reserve. - Picasso [By this Picasso means simplify well enough, among other things. - T.K.]

It is . . . probably my delight - to use things as my passions tell me. What a miserable fate for a painter who adores blondes to have to stop himself putting them into a picture because they don't go with the basket of fruit! . . . I put all the things I like into my pictures. The things [items] . . . just have to put up with it. - Picasso

The purpose of Art is to create enthusiasm. - Picasso

The important thing is to create. - Picasso

The chief enemy of creativity is 'good taste.' - Picasso

Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone. - Picasso

I have seen what could be and asked why not. - Picasso

The hidden harmony is better than the obvious. - Picasso

What is a face, really? Its own photo? Its make-up? Or is it a face as painted by such or such painter? That which is in front? Inside? Behind? And the rest? Doesn't everyone look at himself in his own particular way? Deformations simply do not exist. - Picasso

Picasso's Art

My mother said to me, "If you become a soldier, you'll be a general; if you become a monk you'll end up as the pope." Instead, I became a painter and wound up as Picasso.

Pablo Ruiz Picasso (1881–1973 was a Spanish painter; one of the recognized masters of 20th century art. After his so-called Blue Period (1901-04) and Rose (1905-08), Picasso took part in developing Cubism, and later turned to surrealistic figures. His controversial masterpiece is the large painting Guernica (1937). It is valued just as much as Leonardos painting of the careful donna Mona Lisa.

Guernica shows the dreadful destruction of the Basque capital by German bomb planes.

The fate of jazz and Picasso art - both are now warmly welcomed. At first called "corky" and persecuted and today studied in prestiguous universities. "A word to the wise will suffice . . ." (American proverb)

To rub it in: For many years art critics called Picasso's refreshing art devilish and - well - insane. The point is that his art just looked rather unnatural in its ways:

Because Picasso was equated with modern art per se, all the extremes of public responses were unloaded upon him, at every stage in his career. When the National Gallery in London orgainzed the first major post-war Picasso show in England, one newspaper . . . damned his art as the work of the devil, dismissed piggy-nosed portraits as the imaginings of a schizophreninc, and declared that such work should not be publicly exhibited in England . . .

Picasso haters . . . saw his talent as something demonic. One American critic called him the "devil incarnate" in 1910; and the "New York Times", generally a restrained and proper paper, gnashed that he was the very devil and that his audacity was breathtaking . . . Not many years later, German critics (and not even the worst) were busy perpetuating the usual equation of visual deconstruction with insanity, viewing Picasso himself as a neurotic . . .: "People are no longer locked away in asylums. Nowadays they found Cubism." (Warnke 1995, I:10, 12)

Incidentally, mature Picasso art after his cubistic phases can in some ways (delicate lines etc.) be quite like fresco art from ancient and highly developed Crete (or Thera, from beyond 1600 BC, for example).

"You live, you learn"

Watch a cat painting too . . .

A talented elephant signs a painting: Can elephants really paint?


Picasso Anecdotes

A poor artist owned a supposed Picasso. He sent it via a friend for the master to authenticate it. Picasso: "It's false."

From a different source the friend brought another and another Picasso-painting. Each time Picasso disowned them. Yet the third time the man said, "But I saw you paint this one with my own eyes."

"I can paint false Picasso as well as anyone," retorted Picasso. Then he bought the first painting for a sum four times as high as the owner had originally hoped it would fetch.

In later life Picasso visited an exhibition of children's drawings. He observed,
      "When I was their age, I could draw like Raphael, but it took me a lifetime to learn to draw like them."

Pablo Picasso painting

Picasso was relaxing on a beach in the south of France when he was accosted by a small boy clutching a blank sheet of paper. The child had evidently been dispatched by his parents to solicit an autographed drawing. After a moment's hesitation, Picasso tore up the paper and drew a few designs on the boy's back instead. He signed his name with a flourish and sent the child back to his parents. Relating the incident at a later date, Picasso remarked thoughtfully,

"I wonder if they'll ever wash him again?"

During World War II Picasso suffered some harassment from the Gestapo in Nazi-occupied Paris. An inquisitive German officer, coming into his apartment, noticed a photograph of Guernica lying on a table. "Did you do that?" he asked Picasso.

"No, you did," said Picasso.

A visitor to Picasso's studio found the artist gazing disconsolately at a painting on the easel. "It's a masterpiece," said the visitor, hoping to cheer him up.

"No, the nose is all wrong," Picasso said. "It throws the whole picture out of perspective."

"Then why not alter the nose?"

"Impossible," replied Picasso. "I can't find it."

And then yourself, perhaps

Some children and grown-ups tell they cannot draw and paint. One should tell such ones: "If you can hold a pen, pencil, or crayon and let it glide over some paper, you can draw. It is that simple at first."

Mastery can bring with it some deserved confidence, or encouragement. But to make others dependent on encouragements is far from good enough, for what matters is allow the innate artistic drive flow through. A few more things to think of: "Art can be quite exhiliarating in its way, and to be artistic may be even better."

Pablo Picasso quotations, Picasso anecdotes etc., Literature  

Brassaï, Gilberte. 1999. Conversations with Picasso. Tr. Jane Marie Todd. London: University of Chicago Press.

McNeese, Tim. 2006. Pablo Picasso. New York: Chelsea House, 2006.

Rodari, Florian. 1991, A Weekend with Picasso. New York: Rizzoli.

Walther, Ingo F. 2001. Pablo Picasso, 1881-1973: Genius of the Century. New York: Barnes and Noble Books, 2001.

Warnke, Carsten-Peter. 1995. Pablo Picasso 1881-1973. Vols 1 and 2. Cologne: Taschen Verlag.

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