1. Picasso’s Full Name Has 23 Words
Picasso was baptized Pablo Diego Jose Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno Maria de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santisima Trinidad Martyr Patricio Clito Ruiz y Picasso. He was named after various saints and relatives. The “Picasso” is actually from his mother, Maria Picasso y Lopez. His father is named Jose Ruiz Blasco.
2. When He Was Born, The Midwife Thought He Was Stillborn
Picasso had such a difficult birth and was such a weak baby that when he was born, the midwife thought that he was stillborn so she left him on a table to attend his mother. It was his uncle, a doctor named Don Salvador, that saved him:
‘Doctors at that time,’ he told Antonina Vallentin, ‘used to smoke big cigars, and my uncle was no exception. When he saw me lying there he blew smoke into my face. To this I immediately reacted with a grimace and a bellow of fury'”
3. Picasso’s First Word: Pencil
It’s like Picasso was born an artist: his first word was “piz,” short of lapiz the Spanish word for ‘pencil.’ His father Ruiz, an artist and art professor, gave him a formal education in art starting from the age of 7. By 13, Ruiz vowed to give up painting as he felt that Pablo had surpassed him.
4. Pablo’s First Drawing
At the tender young age of 9, Picasso completed his first painting: Le picador, a man riding a horse in a bullfight.
His first major painting, an “academic” work is First Communion, featuring a portrait of his father, mother, and younger sister kneeling before an altar. Picasso was 15 when he finished it.
5. Picasso was a Terrible Student
No doubt about it, Picasso was brilliant: artistically, he was years ahead of his classmates who were all five to six years older than him. But Picasso chafed at being told what to do and he was often thrown into “detention”:
“For being a bad student I was banished to the ‘calaboose’ – a bare cell with whitewashed walls and a bench to sit on. I liked it there, because I took along a sketch pad and drew incessantly … I could have stayed there forever drawing without stopping”
6. Picasso’s First Job
Picasso signed his first contract in Paris with art dealer Pere Menach, who agreed to pay him 150 francs per month (about US$750 today).
7. Did Picasso Steal the Mona Lisa?
Actually no, but in 1911, when the Mona Lisa was stolen from the Louvre, the police took in Picasso’s friend, the poet Guillaume Apollinaire. Apollinaire fingered Picasso as a suspect, so the police hauled him in for questioning. Both were later released.
8. Cubism: Full of Little Cubes
In 1909, Picasso and French artist Georges Braque co-founded an art movement known as cubism. Actually, it was a French art critic Louis Vauxcelles who first called it “bizarre cubiques” or cubism, after noting that Picasso and Braque’s paintings are “full of little cubes.”
9. Picasso was a Playboy
Being a famous artist certainly helped Picasso get the girl. Girls, in fact – many, many girls. Here’s a short list of known wives and lovers of Picasso
- Fernande Olivier (Picasso’s first love, she was 18?; he was 23)
- Marcelle Humbert AKA Eva Gouel (she was 27, Picasso was 31)
- Gaby Lespinasse (he was 34, I don’t know how old Gaby was, but she was young, that’s for sure!)
- Olga Khokhlova (Picasso’s first wife; she was 26 and he was 36 when they met)
- Marie-Therese Walter (she was 17, he was 46)
- Dora Maar (she was 29, Picasso was 55)
- Francoise Gilot (she was 21 when she met Picasso, who was 61)
- Genevieve Laporte (one of Picasso’s last lovers. She was in her mid-twenties and a French model of Picasso, who was in his seventies when the affair started)
- Jacqueline Roque (who became Picasso’s second wife. She was 27 and he was 79)
Marie-Therese Walter was Picasso’s model for Le Reve. In 2006, casino magnate Steve Wynn agreed to sell the painting for $139 million, but accidentally put his elbow through the canvas the day before the sale was to be completed!
10. Picasso’s Car
Okay, it’s not exactly his car, but I couldn’t resist. Last year, 44-year-old mechanic Andy Saunders of Dorset, England, spent six months converting his old Citroen 2CV into a cubist work inspired by Pablo Picasso!
Saunders named his car Picasso’s Citroen, which is much better looking than the ho-hum