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It's a Picasso!

Yesterday marked the 134th birth anniversary of Pablo Picasso. As a tribute to the icon, we revisit some of the finest works of the Spanish painter that have and continue to influence the art world

  An employee poses in front of Le Train Bleu, one of the largest works by Pablo Picasso, at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum in 2010.

 

An employee poses in front of Le Train Bleu, one of the largest works by Pablo Picasso, at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum in 2010. Measuring 10.40 m by 11.72 m, the painting was created as the front cloth for ballet company, Ballets Russes’  Le Train Bleu performance in 1924. Pic/AfpPic/AFP

Measuring 10.40 m by 11.72 m, the painting was created as the front cloth for ballet company, Ballets Russes’  Le Train Bleu performance in 1924.

Picasso shares a private moment with wife Jacqueline in their home in Vallauris on October 22, 1961.

Pic/AFP

The She Goat (1950) on showcase at the Picasso Museum in France, reflects his interest in Classical imagery. The artist crafted the skeleton using discarded materials such as wicker baskets and metal scraps from his yard and filled out the body with plaster.

Pic/Getty Images

The Three Dancers — this 1925 canvas painting by Picasso is one of his most famous works in the Surrealist style.

Pic/AFP

A top view of Picasso’s largest stage curtain (34 ft x 54 ft) created for the realist ballet, Parade, in 1917. Seen here are workers hanging the curtain in Hong Kong in 2004, ahead of the official launch of the Year of France in China.

PicassoPic/AFP

Spanish dancer Joshua Ullate rehearses in front of Picasso’s Guernica at the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid in 2014. Created in 1937 as response to the bombing of Basque town of Guernica in Spain, the 11 ft x 25 ft painting is considered one of the most powerful anti-war paintings in history.

Spanish dancer Joshua UllatePic/AFP

The Weeping Woman, a 1937 painting by Picasso, on display at the Tate gallery in 2012. Depicting a singular image of universal suffering, the painting carries forward anti-war theme that Picasso portrayed in Guernica. Pic/AFP
The Weeping Woman, a 1937 painting by Picasso, on display at the Tate gallery in 2012. Depicting a singular image of universal suffering, the painting carries forward anti-war theme that Picasso portrayed in Guernica. Pic/AFP

Sylvette David aka Lydia Corbett, former model of Picasso, stands in front of a photograph of herself (right) as she was posing as a young woman for the artist's work, Sylvette (1954, as seen on the left) at the Kunsthalle museum in Bremen, Germany, in 2014. Pic/AFP
Sylvette David aka Lydia Corbett, former model of Picasso, stands in front of a photograph of herself (right) as she was posing as a young woman for the artist's work, Sylvette (1954, as seen on the left) at the Kunsthalle museum in Bremen, Germany, in 2014. Pic/AFP

(Right) Nude, Green Leaves and Bust (1932), featuring Picasso’s mistress and model Marie-Thérèse Walter, on display at Christie’s in New York in 2010. It set a world art auction record in  2010 when it sold for a staggering $106.4 million. Pic/AFP
(Right) Nude, Green Leaves and Bust (1932), featuring Picasso’s mistress and model Marie-Thérèse Walter, on display at Christie’s in New York in 2010. It set a world art auction record in  2010 when it sold for a staggering $106.4 million. Pic/AFP

Pablo Picasso’s portrait of Dora Maar, his mistress and principal source of inspiration, being prepared to go under the hammer at Sothebys auction house in London in 2006. Pic/Afp
Pablo Picasso’s portrait of Dora Maar, his mistress and principal source of inspiration, being prepared to go under the hammer at Sothebys auction house in London in 2006. Pic/AFP

Pablo Picasso applies himself to a project of ceramics in his workshop in Vallauris April 1949. Pic/Getty Images
Pablo Picasso applies himself to a project of ceramics in his workshop in Vallauris April 1949. Pic/Getty Images

Picasso in numbers

9 The age when he completed his first painting, Le Picador.

50,000 The number of pieces of art, including paintings, drawings, engravings, sculptures and ceramic works that Picasso produced over 80 years.

$179m The price that set a new world record for the most expensive artwork sold at an auction. It was for Picasso’s Women of Algiers (Version 0) auctioned at Christie’s in New York in May this year.

Artist speak: The picasso effect

At a time when artists were painting realistic figures and landscapes, Pablo Picasso dared to paint Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907) with five ladies, two of whom were in profile and yet, you could see both their eyes, which actually is impossible.

(Above) Arzan Khambatta;  (right) A piece from Khambatta’s 2005 show titled, Homage to Picasso
Arzan Khambatta

Thus began the craze to experiment  and come up with distortions, which were new to viewers but provided food for thought. My most favourite work of Picasso is Guernica that depicts the gory scene from a Spanish battlefield.

A piece from Khambatta’s 2005 show titled, Homage to Picasso
A piece from Khambatta’s 2005 show titled, Homage to Picasso

Power is depicted with distortions and image jugglery, and the complete non-inclusion of colour adds to the effect. It is a work of art to be experienced on several fronts — for its sheer size, its complete contemporary pop art twist, and for the feeling it portrays.

Atul Dodiya

During 1991-92, I was awarded a scholarship from the French Government and made my first international trip to Paris. I lived in an area that was seven minutes away from the Picasso National Museum. When I saw his original paintings, each work looked like a masterpiece; that kind of consistency is rare to find in an artist. I was scared of his fearlessness and experimentation without any hesitation. Usually, once your style is appreciated, there is a tendency to repeat but Picasso surprises you each time. That was most inspiring. In my work, I don’t follow a particular style. While it is tough to pick a favourite, it would be the Guernica, especially considering the current scenario of the growing intolerance in the city. This painting was his response to the (Spanish) Civil War and he even said, painting is not done to decorate apartments; it is an instrument of war.

Bose Krishnamachari. Pic/Shadab Khan
Bose Krishnamachari. Pic/Shadab Khan

My favourite work by Picasso is Guernica. It shows Picasso as a politically and socially conscious artist figure. I was lucky to see the work at the Reina Sofia National Museum of Art in Madrid. As an artist with rigour and an incredibly celebrated performer of art, power and politics at the right time, he inspired me. As he is a historically relevant artist I have used his portraits in a couple of my works in the form of drawings and paintings.

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