Happy Belated Birthday Picasso! plus poetry challenge



 It was Pablo Picasso‘s birthday yesterday (25th October 2010).  Born 1881 Malaga Spain, Picasso is probably the most innovative, exciting and original artist to have lived.  He had a long life  (1881 –   1973, Mougins, France) filled with creative output and daring.  Some have called him a genius, but most agree that he was quite an opinionated, forceful  and sometimes difficult character.  Picasso had strong opinions about  art, life, politics – everything, and he wasn’t frightened of voicing them.   Here is just a few of the artist’s quotes and a few of my own observations.  please feel free to add your own.  For more about this artist please look at my earlier post (here)

Are we to paint what’s on the face, what’s inside the face, or what’s behind it?

(Picasso managed to carry out all three – see his cubism period)

Every act of creation is first an act of destruction.

(I suppose by this, Picasso may mean that in order to create one has to throw away the maps and the rules and find your own way – tear down to build anew)

Everything you can imagine is real.

(imagination in itself is its own reality)

Give me a museum and I’ll fill it.

(being an extremely prolific artist – this was probably no idle boast 🙂

Bad artists copy. Good artists steal

(Well Picasso was certainly an individual – but then so was Matisse his closest rival – each fired up the other)


Joy of Life Matisse


Colors, like features, follow the changes of the emotions.

La Celestina 1904 from the Blue Period

 (and colours affect the senses)

God is really only another artist. He invented the giraffe, the elephantand the cat. He has no real style, He just goes on trying other things.

(one can only imagine how this quote was interpreted…)

He can who thinks he can, and he can’t who thinks he can’t. This is an inexorable, indisputable law.

(well observed Pablo…. and it’s easy to see which camp the artist fall into)

I have a horror of people who speak about the beautiful. What is the beautiful? One must speak of problems in painting!

(It is this way of thinking that marks Picasso out as a seeker and a striver and tells us a lot about the way he approaches art)

If all the ways I have been along were marked on a map and joined up with a line, it might represent a minotaur.

(this remark is almost Dali like :-D). 

self portrait


My mother said to me, “If you are a soldier, you will become a general. If you are a monk, you will become the Pope.” Instead, I was a painter, and became Picasso.

(One of the things I most admire about Picasso is his belief in himself and it becomes obvious from where this belief sprang from…)

 Others have seen what is and asked why. I have seen what could be and asked why not.

(Picasso’s inquisitiveness, his search for knowledge and his wilfulness is a trademark of his)

Painting is a blind man’s profession. He paints not what he sees, but what he feels, what he tells himself about what he has seen.

(I quite like this emotive quote)

The artist is a receptacle for emotions that come from all over the place: from the sky, from the earth, from a scrap of paper, from a passing shape, from a spider’s web.

( this is so true – inspiration can come from anything and anywhere, it is the ability to transform that makes us artists)

There are only two types of women – goddesses and doormats.

(an unfortunate opinion – but true of the artist.  The muses start as Goddesses, but end as doormats as new muses are found)
When I die, it will be a shipwreck, and as when a huge ship sinks, many people all around will be sucked down with it.

 (this makes me smile – the idea of Picasso going down like a huge ship!  The artist’s own self-importance and self belief though egotistical never cease to amaze me! His ego and talent are of equal proportion!)

You mustn’t always believe what I say. Questions tempt you to tell lies, particularly when there is no answer.

(There we have it – Picasso cannot resist having his say, sometimes just for the sake of saying something.  However, there is a lot of truth in some of his comments and he has left us this legacy (….and the task of sorting the wheat from the chaff)


To commemorate Picasso’s birthday there is another Poetry Challenge over on Bookstains!  This time the inspiration comes from Picasso’s Weeping Woman.  Please click the woman for details of how to join in! 


Weeping woman 1937 by Picasso
Quotes from this website – with thanks!
Images from here  here and here and here and here and here with thanks!

PS There’s a lovely Memorial Haiku page over on the HAIKUDOODLE blog.  Please remember loved ones and contribute a Haiku 🙂


12 thoughts on “Happy Belated Birthday Picasso! plus poetry challenge

  1. A++++. Thank-you for this post. When I first began drawing and painting, I had a difficult time absorbing Picasso and his work. How I handled that was to read about him and absorb him and his work. I came across this painting of a woman ironing: http://artandherstory.blogspot.com/2009/02/picasso-woman-ironing.html At once, everything that I had read and a deep feeling for this expressive artist seeped into me and into understanding. I look for him, now, in my students and myself and try to pay attention to the fact that it is not only an image we are creating but a piece of ourselves. Thank-you for the quotes. It is quite nice to read those one after the other, Lynda.

  2. That’s a super painting of the ironing woman Leslie. You’re right – he is a big deal and he lives up to what we expect from a great artist. I don’t mind his arrogance – he can afford it 😀 He’s a showman in a way, but not in the league of truly eccentric Dali lol. I love the way he wrestles with painting and how it relates to problem solving and also his relentless persuit of ‘truth’. It keeps his art and passion fresh and makes his work exciting. Glad you enjoyed this Leslie:-)

  3. For me, Picasso is the personification of creativity. You don’t have to like him as a father, husband, or any of the other roles we all play…in fact, we probably wouldn’t personally like or befriend many of the artists we think of as being famous. But you have to hand it to him for being an art-making phenomenon starting from the time he was a child to the paintings he was making in the 1970’s when everybody was convinced he was senile. He kept moving forward. I could be content just studying his drawings.

  4. Here here Al! Couldn’t agree more – he truly is an art making phenomenon – one of the most innovative and prolific artist. One of the modern masters – who still feels ‘modern’ now. he never got bored or sterile – he never gave up, he never lost his enthusiasm for his art and I think that this made him everlastingly ‘young’. I wouldn’t like to live with him – but I do respect his relentlessness in progressing arts history!

  5. It’s interesting that you mentioned Dali. Dali did a portrait of Picasso and when asked “who is the best artist today” Dali replied, “Picasso…..No Dali”
    So he first thought of Picasso and then changed his mind and decided he liked himself better. Was this a slip of the tongue or in Dali’s usual fashion, a deliberate comment to gain attention?

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