Famous Paintings by
Pablo Picasso

It's hard to summarize what characterizes paintings by Pablo Picasso - his production was enormous and varied in style throughout his life. Perhaps what most signifies his artistry is Picasso's refusal to obey the rules of the establishment. Picasso's best known periods are the Blue Period, the Rose Period and the Cubist Period.

First Communion

Picasso First Communion

Year: 1895/96
Dimensions: 166x118 cm
Material: Oil on canvas
Movement: Academic art; Picasso's Early Years
Current location: Museo Picasso, Barcelona

About the painting: Early paintings by Pablo Picasso are very realistic; he made this when he was only fourteen years old. The image shows his sister Lola receiving First Communion. The painting was displayed at an important exhibition together with paintings by the most distinguished artists in Barcelona. For anyone who has ever doubted Picasso's ability to paint realistically, this painting should be evidence enough. But Picasso was soon to free himself from academic rules.

La Vie

La Vie Picasso

Year: 1903
Dimensions:197x128 cm
Material: Oil on canvas
Movement: Modernism; Picasso's Blue Period
Current location:Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland

About the painting: The man in the painting is Picasso's close friend Casamegas, who had killed himself two years earlier. The event brought about Picasso's Blue Period. Paintings by Pablo Picasso from his Blue Period are monochrome and cold. What is going on in the picture? Is the man in the middle and the couple above him paintings from the artist's studio? The mother is holding her baby, looking at the couple in love. They are all close together, but still separated by their experience. The blue color and firm contours emphases this separation.

Garçon a la Pipe

Garcon A La Pipe Picasso

Year: 1905
Dimensions:100x81,3 cm
Material: Oil on canvas
Movement: Modernism; Picasso's Rose Period
Current location:Private collection

About the painting: Paintings by Pablo Picasso from his Rose Period often depicts local people, many of them being from the entertainment industry. He painted Garçon a la Pipe when he was living in Montmartre in Paris. Picasso said of the boy that he loved to watch Picasso paint. In 2004 Garçon a la Pipe was sold at world record price US$104 million at Sotheby's auction in New York.

Les Demoiselles d'Avignon

Les Demoiselles dAvignon

Year: 1907
Dimensions:166x118 cm
Material: Oil on canvas
Movement:Modernism; Cubism
Current location:Museum of Modern Art, New York

About the painting: This painting was the start of analytic cubism. In paintings previous to this one a change in style had begun to show; Picasso started to make sketches with broad, fast strokes. His study of native art, such as Iberian and African sculptures, greatly influenced him to take a huge step away from conventional western art. But interestingly, the woman in the middle of the painting is clearly inspired by a painting by Dominique Ingres, The Turkish Bath. Picasso let her keep her beauty and female proportions. But the two women on the right are completely distorted. Apollinaire and Georges Braques rejected the painting at first, but soon caught up with Picasso's ideas. Cubist paintings by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque became evan more komplex after Les Demoiselles d'Avignon.

Portrait of Dora Maar

Portrait of Dora Maar Picasso

Year: 1937
Dimensions: 92x65 cm
Material: Oil on canvas
Movement:Modernism; Picasso's Post-Cubist Period
Current location:Musée Picasso, Paris

About the painting: Dora Maar was a Yugoslavian photographer and Picasso's mistress during the war years in the twenties and thirties. Picasso has depicted her both from the side and from the front at the same time, but still manages to create a completely balanced and beautiful portrait. Notice how he has put her in a small box; it expresses a feeling of confinement.


Guernica Picasso

Year: 1937
Dimensions: 349x776 cm
Material: Oil on canvas
Movement: Modernism; Picasso's Post-Cubist Period
Current location:Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid

About the painting: This is one of the most famous paintings by Pablo Picasso, and it's regarded as a national treasure in Spain. The black, grey and white image describes a horrible event in the Spanish Civil War; the bombing of the Basque town of Guernica. Civilians suffered greatly during this bombing, and Picasso's monumental painting shows terror,despair and nightmare chaos. It was commissioned by the Spanish Republican government for the Spanish display at the World Fair in Paris in 1937. At first Picasso was going to paint something entirely different, but changed his mind when he heard of the bombing. The painting is full of symbolism, for example the light bulb shaped as an evil eye (the Spanish word for light bulb is bombilla, which makes you think of the word bomb). Picasso's mistress at the time, Dora Maar, documented the creation of Guernica. After it was shown around the world it became a symbol of peace. Guernica did not return to Spain until 1981, according to Picasso's wish that it would not become Spanish property before the end of Fascism.

Back To Top>>>

Return from Paintings by Pablo Picasso to Pablo Picasso

For Members: Login