He was a riddler. He who invented so much did not invent self-fashioning, but he is the supreme exemplar of artistic self-fashioning in modern times.
He was a consummate self-publicist. It was but a short step from shaman to showman. When it came to his art, he was serious as a pope.
Cubism and its impact
Towards the end of the second world war, he was goaded by an interviewer on the relationship between art and politics. He interrupted the interview to hurl himself on a piece of paper and scribble a statement, a mini-manifesto, so that he would not be misunderstood. An imbecile who only has eyes if he's a painter, ears if he's a musician, or a lyre in every chamber of his heart if he's a poet — or even, if he's a boxer, only some muscles? Quite the contrary, he is at the same time a political being constantly alert to the horrifying, passionate or pleasing events in the world, shaping himself completely in their image.
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How is it possible to be uninterested in other men and by virtue of what cold nonchalance can you detach yourself from the life that they supply so copiously? No, painting is not made to decorate apartments. That flash of grandiloquence might be taken as the text for the forthcoming exhibition at Tate Liverpool, Picasso: Peace and Freedom , which sets out to explore the artist as a political being, through the causes he espoused, and above all through his commitment to the French Communist party PCF , which he joined in , with great fanfare, and never left.
Picasso always hoped to go on for ever, and he very nearly did.
Pablo Picasso and his paintings
In the course of a long lifetime he had seen it all, from the Spanish-American war of to the Cuban missile crisis of He knew anarchists, bolshevists, socialists, communists, fascists, pacifists, falangists and Stalinists, to say nothing of cubists, futurists, dadaists, surrealists, suprematists, constructivists, destructivists and stridentists. He grew up with monarchism assailed by revolutionary anarchism; he grew old with republicanism served by monopoly capitalism.
Ideologically, he had lived.
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In the matter of the horrifying, he had form. Picasso himself said that the work was affected by revelations of the real-life charnel houses of the holocaust. In this instance there is no reason to doubt him. An article on the crematoria at Natzweiler-Struthof, near Strasbourg, included the macabre detail that the executioners had tied the hands and feet of their victims, like the central motif of the painting, and the heaped corpses in the death zone that constitutes the lower part of the canvas are reminiscent of the first shock photos of the camps — and of Goya's Disasters of War , images at once unprintable and unforgettable.
In the death zone, crucified innocence and clenched-fist defiance grapple with mass killing and dismemberment. The upper zone is less horrific, though no less eerie. Some elements of a contemporaneous still life enter in Pitcher, Candle and Casserole — the candle, symbol of hope, obliterated. The Charnel House is the offensive and defensive weapon deployed: The depth of his political engagement remains controversial, however, not least because it is still relatively unexplored.
The Tate exhibition, master-minded by Lynda Morris, mounts a spirited defence of the artist as a principled political actor. As its title might suggest, Picasso: Peace and Freedom is almost an apologia. Inevitably, it raises more questions than it answers, but the questions themselves are important — what did Picasso stand for? What are we to make of Picasso politico? He was nothing if not individualistic, but in this respect he exemplifies a general tendency: Their mistresses command more attention than their mental furniture.
This may reflect a certain condescension.
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Painters in particular are often supposed to be either stupid or vapid, and in any event inarticulate, unable or unwilling to explain themselves; some painters connive at this deception. As the anarchist and abstract expressionist Barnett Newman noted caustically: In fact, many painters are lucid expositors and vivid writers, though few are as vivid as Van Gogh.
Art and thought even political thought are not incompatible after all. But the politics of the palette are seldom as simple as red, white and blue. As always, "Don Misterioso" is a hard case. His convictions are seldom spelt out; his intentions are frequently obscure.
Pablo Picasso - Wikipedia
With Picasso, it was never one thing or the other. His meaning, like his motivation, was plural, inscrutable, unstable.
He who makes it only a parrot diminishes its reality. A painter who copies a tree blinds himself to the real tree. I see things otherwise. A palm tree can become a horse. Don Quixote can come into Las Meninas. On canvas and in conversation, it is unwise to take him too literally. He could never remember whether he had said "I don't look, I find" or "I don't find, I look" — "not that it makes much difference ".
The trick is to add to what you find. Pablo Picasso was a great finder. As a painter, he found objects. As a riddler, he found words.
Life's Ideal by Richard Alan Krieger, p. Disputed [ edit ] Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up. Ozmosis in Central Park   Good artists copy, great artists steal. I do not seek, I find. If they took away all my paints, I'd use pastels, if they took away my pastels, I'd use crayons, if they took away my crayons, I'd use a pencil.
If they put me in a cell, and stripped me of everything, I'd spit on my finger and draw on the wall. The original quote attributed to Picasso in quotes him as saying that 'even if he were imprisoned, he would draw on the dust-covered prison walls and on the floor, with his fingers dripped in his own spit' see above. This expansion appears to derive from an interview given by actor Dustin Hoffman to the L.