Well, it is Picasso’s 125th birthday and he certainly deserves a little celebration. He is widely acknowledged as the most influential artist of the 20th century. I am an avid fan …not necessarily because I love all of Picasso’s work-I actually don’t-but because all of it incites an emotional response. Pieces like “Petite Fluers” evokes a sunny, childlike smile. “Guernica” (probably my favorite) is heart-wrenching and epic. However, when I see a reproduction of “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon” I feel uncomfortable, even a little revolted. I am sure Mr. Picasso would have been delighted to hear it! Good or bad, it is a strong response that most artists are driving for.
I think it is amazing to see how varied and prolific Picasso was. His father was an artist and teacher and saw his potential at a young age. He went through several periods that are distinct and unique and is credited for starting the Cubist movement. Which was had a huge impact on modern art. You can read an in-depth biography and see works from each period at Artchive. Another great site which will link you other sites where you can view Picasso’s works is Artcyclopedia as well as Artsy.
When I was teaching art classes, I combined learning about art history with practicing actual technique. At first, I was unsure as to whether the kids would like it or find it boring. I was quickly surprised to see that they loved it and clamored for information about influential artists. I would love to share some of the activities we did. Let me know if you like this and want more. Here is a project that you can do with your kids to experiment with Picasso’s style:
Make your own Cubist Paintings
Cardstock or construction paper
For inspiration take a look at House in a Garden and Portrait of Maya with a Doll and Three Musicians.
1. Set up a still life by arranging a few items from around the house on your kitchen table. Anything will work: fruit, dishes, bottles of various things, look for a bunch of different shapes. Or you can draw a few pictures of yourselves or eachother.
Use a variety of colors, make one realistic and one crazy and wild. (Try blue hair, green skin, purple eyes.)
Do your pictures from different angles. For example, draw one sitting in front and one to the side.
Use whatever medium your child likes, crayons work great for this because they produce such bold colors.
2. Draw at least 2 pictures of your subject.
4. Arrange the peices of your pictures on a piece of cardstock. Try a few different configurations.