I have never taken an art history class, and I have never been the biggest Picasso fan, so can someone please explain to me why he is arguably the greatest artist of the 21st century?
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If you're not basing your argument on history, what are you basing in on?
Because he is one of the pioneers of modernist thinking.
I actually skipped class yesterday to go to the opening of a Picasso show at the Gagosian gallery in NY, but the line was so long and slow moving, I was all the way in the back when the place was closing in 45 mins.
I don't know that there is a single greatest artist of any era. But if there is, it's not him. At all. Not even close. He was a charlatan and a clown, not a painter by any stretch. And before someone comes in here saying that he could paint traditionally, he was an average academic student at best in his teens. Especially for that era.
i think whether he was a great realist painter in the past is irrelevant. The transition from realism to more abstract pieces isn't why he is famous. It's why he did it, and what his later work represent. The artwork he did as a young teen were soulless.
Despite the rude comments I've recieved thus far in this thread, (I mean seriously, I'm not some troll) I did do a bit of research and I came across nothing particularly satisfying. "he broke the rules" is what most things said, but I think that's a more or less silly reason.
I'll probably ask my teacher the next time I see him.
Opinions are like assholes, we all have them and everyone else's stinks.
Then he later developed cubism which was mocking the conventions of the art world at the time, so rather than paint what he actually saw in front of him, he was instead analyzing the subject, and breaking the form down into cubes, hence "analytic cubism". Later on he developed Collage art which was also a breakthrough, he wanted to experiment with creating paintings without just using paint, breaking away from the conventional sense of what a painting should be made of.
i think its safer to say he was one of the first, then the actual First, but he was a pioneer for helping the art world to break free from old false thinking of what art is, and that enlightened and influenced many people, ranging from artists, writers, musicians, etc.
I wouldn't say that the art before Picasso was false. Why is he famous? That's a relatively simple answer. Just look at his biography, and find the dates when he showed something, and the public reacted to it. You could find the precise days and artworks that made him famous. You can look at all the magazine articles and films, etc, that helped put him in the public eye.
Is he great, or indeed, the greatest? That's subjective, and nothing I can say would help you. I don't think you can put arguments, such as, "He broke the rules," in defense of such a statement. You either like the work or you don't. My best advice is simply to look at his work. All of it. Bear in mind when it was done, and come to your own conclusions. See if there are any of his paintings that make an impact, that you feel you're learning from.
EDIT: And to be clear, I wasn't being rude before, I was raising a philosophical point. Under what standards would you rate someone the greatest artist of the 20th century?
?? Picasso was having private showings of his work actually, only for friends and high bidders. In fact, it wasn't even his cubism that was known of at the time he created them, it was a different style of cubism created by other artists that were well known, because they showed their work publicly.
I agree though that if he is the greatest is totally subjective. What people consider him great for, could be why people might dislike him for too. Noone should shove their opinion of his greatness down other people's throats. It's cool to know what he is famous for though
He was the first to give us the idea that beauty can be found in other things besides representational work and straight realism, to any lasting effect, in the commercial art industry. To understand Picasso you have to understand the French Academy, the Rococo period, and the dialogue between France and Italy.
You might find some indepth research interesting, but I'll sum it up for you: French artists wanted to be better than anyone, and they realized that during the Rococo they had being copying from copies copied from copies. This made the figures remarkably unrealistic, almost maggoty ugly with dated fashion senses that did not age well to the then modern French eye, and nothing as beautiful as Rome/Italy was still producing using techniques they pillaged and raped out of the Greeks. Rome couldn't achieve the technical perfection of the Greeks - their statues were almost always balanced on a "third leg" of sorts - Greek Statues were well balanced - a testament to their mathematical brilliance (along with Pythagoras, one of my personal favorites.) That being said, Italy was gifted with Michelangelo's brilliance, and his technique had been recorded and preserved.
The French learned art from Italy in response to the rococo crisis. I am foggy on how this happened but would presume a delegation of some sort was sent to Italy with a group of artists. The French Academy today is lineaged to Michelangelo.
The system designed and set up in the French Academy was the one that trained Bougueareau, Gerome and hundreds of artists that took realism beyond anything the world had ever seen. I would credit this to the competitiveness of the French, and to French wine. Bouguereau was the crescendo of the movement - no one could touch him. Alot of artists became discouraged and wished that there was room in the market for more than just realism.
More happened, but basically Picasso said we can push it the other way. That there is more to art than realism and sweetness. Even if Bouguereau painted ugliness, (and he did) there wasn't a market for it. Picasso introduced ugliness via the novelty of straight lines and non-representational art.
Picasso painted for novelty, Bouguereau painted for novelty. The technical proficiency of Bouguereau was superior, Picasso's was not. The realist paintings by Picasso have been exposed as a fraud, perpetrated by Picasso to gain entry to the Spanish Academy. The Spanish government was involved in a lawsuit for the fraud a few years ago. The paintings belonged to his father.
I don't like Picasso. He was a misogynist and a product of modernism, an ugly awkward phase of art today. However I do have to thank him for having a part in making room for weirder realism today.
That is my very short view of what happened and why Picasso is integral to the development of art as it is today. He isn't the best artist of the 20th century, I think that dignity belongs to Einstein, when we broaden our definition of what art means. It isn't what Picasso painted that mattered, but what he said about our shallow definitions of art with his words and paintings.
it should be noted Picasso wasn't the only one at the end of the 19th century saying we could do art in other ways - Monet was doing it, Sargent was doing it, Van Gogh was doing it, the Bauhaus was doing it.....so Picasso was neither one of a kind in his art revolution, nor original....
Last edited by Izi; April 16th, 2011 at 04:06 AM.
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Picasso was certainly famous.
But, could he be considered the equivalent (in his field) of Sir Isaac Newton in the field of mathematics and science?
Comparable to Leonardo or Michelangelo?
I don't know-- maybe he hasn't really been dead long enough to evaluate his greatness?
"He was the first to give us the idea that beauty can be found in other things besides representational work and straight realism"
Monet, Caillebotte, Orpen, Cezzane, Van Gogh, Klimt, Leger, Hofmann, Derain, Dove, Kirchner, Franz Marc, Picabia, Klee, Malevic, van Dongen, Giacometti, Dufy, Hartley, Brancusi, Paula Modersohn-Becker, Flora Itwin Schofield, Mondrian, Georges Rouault, Balla, Kupka, Feininger, Spillar, Bonnard, Denis, Matisse, Vuillard, Nolde, Kandinskij, Vallotton, Jawlensky, Munch, Signac, and Seurat were all older than Picasso.
"This made the figures remarkably unrealistic, almost maggoty ugly"
Um Watteau? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Watteau
"Rome couldn't achieve the technical perfection of the Greeks"
Most Greek statues we see today are actually Roman copies, the orignals having been destroyed.
"The French learned art from Italy in response to the rococo crisis. I am foggy on how this happened"
Artists like David won prizes from the French Academy to go study in Rome. They then returned and taught others.
Last edited by TASmith; April 16th, 2011 at 04:37 AM.
You can't really assign many pure firsts to Picasso's work: most everything he did has at least some precedent. However, he was one of the early major figures in several major movements of art, which is extremely unusual. Also, he was skilled at self-promotion, a trait which many modern artists decidedly lacked.
Biggest conman that got away with it.
Nothing but contempt for people like that.
He was the great explorer. Not afraid to wonder off the edge into things he knew people wouldn't understand. I think in a way he made things he knew would divide people in half on opinions. Maybe sometimes creating a piece of shit, just as an experiment to see how many flies he could attract. If everyone thought he was greatest thing, that wouldn't be a lot of fun would it?
To say he's a conman or he would consciously create shit as an experiment to see who would actually like it, discredits his sincerity with his art, and that's untrue. He loved art, maybe not the art world at times.
Point is; he didn't break all the rules, he kept the rules in a new way that most people, untrained to see, didn't understand.
Cubism wasn't about just breaking the strictly representational view of things; it also had artistic integrity. Value and contrast relationships, color contrasts, composition, unity... they're all still in play. That's why Cubist pieces were art, and not just random post-modernist trash.
Last edited by p sage; April 16th, 2011 at 08:15 AM.
Well in pieces like "First Communion", done at age 15, you may be right as far as him still searching for his voice. But it's a technical wonder, and in that sense has great artistic integrity
So how about this one:
That says a lot about the artist, and communicates very nicely. It's a perfectly wonderful design and the metaphors and sense of humor are fantastic.
Without Picasso, there would be no James Jean. Just saying.
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@Elwell, I agree.
After reading the replies on this thread, it's apparent that there are different opinions about Picasso - so to the thread starter, go read some books (advice I should also take, I concede because I don't know much about Picasso, but at the same time I don't really care to know much about him). I'm not trying to be sarcastic here, I'm trying to encourage you to do more research.
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It is okay to completely hate his work, but you should definitely try to understand his work first. Picasso was one of the best cartoonists to paint in oils. He had some great and fun graphic ideas and a lot of confidence in his brushwork.
He also had the correct politics, which helped him get promoted by popular democratic-progressive movements, which include many who work in the media, educational and entertainment field... all fields that control mass opinion.
Also, there is a great deal of money invested in his work, and for many decades now it has been written in large books on art that he was very great. By the law of cause and effect, these two facts would not be true unless his work was intrinsically valuable and objectively great. (irony warning)
Personally I like his work and find it very powerful. Not Dean Cornwell powerful, but authoritative and fun to look at.
Last edited by kev ferrara; April 16th, 2011 at 02:12 PM.
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All this talk about Picasso and no one's shown any art?
Although, I agree that there's a lot of crap Picasso work out there. That's more because of his status every piece of rubbish he scribbled on a napkin was saved. Such crap existed from every artist, IMO. The difference is no one saved it. With Picasso we can see every little idea, scribble, half-thought, etc. warts and all and it's framed and displayed, because it's "Picasso." He achieved such "rock star" status that he could scribble some lines on a napkin and buy a house with it. When he was being serious, though, I think he produced some really nice stuff.
Here's a sample to start your research:
The first is one of my favorites. One thing nobody talks about is that Picasso had a great sense of humor. A lot of his pieces genuinely make me laugh. "Fine Art" can get really stuffy sometimes. This isn't a still life. It's really an overweight upper class obnoxious woman with two obnoxious dogs.
Yes, Picasso did Bargue, too.
(This is in a root 2)
Portrait of Erik Satie. He's actually constructed out of a subliminal series of tumbling cubes (Picasso's a cubist) to suggest Satie's tumbling music.
Picasso did comics, too. The Dreams and Lies of Franco.
The Dream. More with Picasso's humor. I like how he combined the three quarter with the profile view. It heightens the sexual tension. I won't point out what else he's doing here, but it should be obvious rather quickly.
This is one of those that makes me chuckle. Making the baboon's head out of the car is just, well, fun.
Mom and dad.
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