Happy Birthday Picasso and Giacometti

by Aileen Mitchell 21. October 2016 11:16

October is a wonderful time for artists: leaves begin to turn red and gold, the light changes from a hot sun to a warm glow, and morning dew begins to look exceptionally pretty. As well as celebrating the changing of the season, we're also celebrating the birthdays of two very influential artists, Pablo Picasso and Giacometti.

Pablo Picasso

Pablo Picasso (1881 – 1973) mastered many movements in art throughout his extremely busy career as an artist. From cultivating Cubism to coming up with collage, Picasso was a man who was constantly seeking to experiment and grow as a person through artistic expression, which resulted in a legacy of 50,000 works that we can all admire today.

After learning the basics of how to paint and draw from his father, an art professor, Picasso attended art school, Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando, before dropping out and making his own way in the world of art. This is known as his 'Blue Period' due to all of his portraits conveying undertones of depression – but was also partly down to the colours and materials Picasso was able to afford at the time.

Although a classically trained artist, each of his styles was considered ground-breaking. After Picasso moved to Paris, his paintings became much more optimistic. Each piece was tinted with orange-pink hue and is known as his 'Rose Period'. It was in Paris that Picasso began experimenting with form and tribal influence, creating one of the most famous works of art that also paved the way for Cubism,

George Braque was an artist also living in Paris, who was later to become the co-founder of Cubism with Picasso, didn't immediately take to the style. After seeing Les Demoiselles d'Avignon he was recorded to have said,

"It's like he wants us to drink gasoline and eat fire!" Needless to say, he grew to like the painting and Cubism was born.

Picasso's boundless energy and non-stop artistic experimentation meant that he did not stay a Cubist for very long. He began adding mixed media to his canvases including newspaper and cloth, which is said to be the birth of collage art. Although he was constantly experimenting and producing art, Picasso stopped exhibiting his works whilst living in Nazi occupied Paris during the Second World War. Picasso did not feel his work would fit the Nazi's ideals of 'perfect art'.

Today we can enjoy a wealth of paintings, sculptures, tapestries and rugs that span from Cubism to Surrealism, created by one of the most famous artists of the twentieth century.

Pablo PicassoPablo Picasso

Les Demoiselles d'AvignonLes Demoiselles d'Avignon.

Pablo HoneyPablo Honey – Czar Catstick

Alberto Giacometti

Alberto Giacometti (1901 – 1966) was born in a small town called Borgonovo in the southeastern Swiss Alps. His parents recognised his artistic talent from a young age and encouraged it as much as they could.

Giacometti soon became and artist who could create portraits in stunning realism, using bold strokes and a bright palette. A theme that developed throughout Giacometti's career as an artist was the figure of portraits (usually himself) kneeling on one knee, gazing towards the viewer. As a young boy, Giacometti's drawing studies changed from the classical three-quarter face pose to completely frontal view. This was incredibly stylised art from someone so young.

Gradually, Giacometti's portrait subjects would be bent and constrained to fit into the canvas size they were painted on and altered for geometric clarity. This then lead to Giacometti's contribution to art as a cubist painter.  

After his initial successful early beginnings, Giacometti's most famous work comes from a period that is largely considered as modernism, as they are arguably devoid of meaning. In truth, Giacometti found himself living through a prolonged existential crisis with his art. Although able to use techniques that produced wonderfully realistic portraits, Giacometti found he was unable to unravel what his latest, more modernist style meant and was almost permanently in a state of lost frustration.

The most famous works from Giacometti are the elongated figure sculptures. These willowy people grew slimmer and taller the more he made, partly due to being constantly re-worked and re-modelled (this also explains their texture). Giacometti himself confessed that these sculptures were more akin to the shadows that these figures cast; ultimately, he did not know to translate what he saw into his art. This became apparent in his paintings too as the surfaces grew much thicker with layers of re-worked paint.  

These two artists are both fascinating examples of people who devote their entire lives to working out how to express their creativity, giving the art world some of the most influential and iconic pieces in return.

To see some of our own talented artists' modern day masterpieces, stop by our online gallery.

GiacomettiGiacometti and his large scale famous figure sculptures, 1962

Alberto GiacomettiGiacometti working on his smaller sized famous figures, 1962

Tags:

Art History | Artists

Comments are closed




Own Art makes buying art easy and affordable - spread the cost of your purchase over 10 months with an interest free loan. Find out more

News and information

Contact us

  • ArtGallery.co.uk
    Millennium House
    Brunel Drive
    Newark
    NG24 2DE