In honor of Pablo Picasso's 136th Birthday on October 25th, here are some fun facts about his life.
1. Picasso's Full Name Has 23 Words
Picasso was baptized Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Martyr Patricio Clito Ruíz y Picasso. He was named after various saints and relatives. The "Picasso" is actually from his mother, Maria Picasso y Lopez. His father is named Jose Ruiz Blasco.
2. When He Was Born, The Midwife Thought He Was Stillborn
Picasso had such a difficult birth and was such a weak baby that when he was born, the midwife thought that he was stillborn so she left him on a table to attend his mother. It was his uncle, a doctor named Don Salvador, that saved him.
"Doctors at that time used to smoke big cigars, and my uncle was no exception. When he saw me lying there he blew smoke into my face. To this I immediately reacted with a grimace and a bellow of fury”
- Pablo Picasso
3. Picasso's First Word: Pencil
It's like Picasso was born an artist: his first word was "piz," short of lápiz the Spanish word for 'pencil.' His father Ruiz, an artist and art professor, gave him a formal education in art starting from the age of 7. By 13, Ruiz vowed to give up painting as he felt that Pablo had surpassed him.
4. Pablo's First Drawing
At the tender young age of 9, Picasso completed his first painting: Le picador, a man riding a horse in a bullfight.
His first major painting, an "academic" work is First Communion, featuring a portrait of his father, mother, and younger sister kneeling before an altar. Picasso was 15 when he finished it.
5. Picasso was a Terrible Student
No doubt about it, Picasso was brilliant: artistically, he was years ahead of his classmates who were all five to six years older than him. But Picasso chafed at being told what to do and he was often thrown into "detention":
"For being a bad student I was banished to the 'calaboose' - a bare cell with whitewashed walls and a bench to sit on. I liked it there, because I took along a sketch pad and drew incessantly ... I could have stayed there forever drawing without stopping ”
- Pablo Picasso
6. Picasso's First Job
Picasso signed his first contract in Paris with art dealer Pere Menach, who agreed to pay him 150 francs per month (about US$750 today).
7. Did Picasso Steal the Mona Lisa?
Actually no, but in 1911, when the famous painting Mona Lisa of Leonardo da Vinci was stolen from the Louvre, the police took in Picasso's friend, the poet Guillaume Apollinaire. Apollinaire fingered Picasso as a suspect, so the police hauled him in for questioning. Both were later released.
8. Cubism: Full of Little Cubes
In 1909, Picasso and French artist Georges Braque co-founded an art movement known as cubism. Actually, it was a French art critic Louis Vauxcelles who first called it "bizarre cubiques" or cubism, after noting that Picasso and Braque's paintings are "full of little cubes."
9. Picasso was a close friend of Marc Chagall
Picasso and Chagall, two of the greatest painters of the last century, were friends...Read the whole story.
10. Picasso claimed "Paul Cézanne was my one and only master."
In 1943, Pablo Picasso declared to photographer George Brassaï that artist Paul Cézanne was "my one and only master."...Read the whole story
11. Where is Picasso buried?
Picasso was buried in the grounds of a château that he bought on a whim in 1958 in the village of Vauvenargues in the south of France. Small groups of visitors are now allowed to view his final resting place, where he has lain since his death aged 91. The raised burial mound is topped with his 1933 sculpture, Femme au vase.
Picasso is said to have bought the estate after discovering that it lay on the slopes of Mont Sainte-Victoire, which was painted more than 30 times by Paul Cézanne, the Impressionist artist. "I have just bought myself Cézanne's mountains," he told his agent.