Picasso: Unbeatable Painter and his Cat Minou

Picasso — Pablo Picasso was an inarguably one of the most greatest and influential artists of the 20th century. He was an exceptionally prolific artist whose body of work still remains today. Picasso’s piercing eyes are unforgettable and even traumatic if one is not prepared. He had a history with his cat, Minou.

Pablo Picasso

Picasso in 1904. Photograph by Ricard Canals

Picasso in 1904. Photograph by Ricard Canals. (Wikipedia)

Born on October 25, 1881, in Málaga, Spain, Picasso was a genius from the start. His father was Don José Ruiz Blasco, a painter and art teacher. José began teaching him to draw and paint when he was a child, and by the time he was 13 years old, his skill level had surpassed his father’s. His mother, Doña Maria Picasso y Lopez, once said to Picasso, ‘If you become a soldier, you’ll be a general. If you become a monk you’ll end up as the pope,’ he later recalled. Instead, I became a painter and wound up as Picasso.

Picasso studied art in both Barcelona and at the Royal Academy of San Fernando in Madrid. He met another art student, a young Catalan named Carlos Casagemas at the café Els Quatre Gats in Barcelona. The two became the best friends, and together they traveled to Paris in the summer of 1900. Picasso’s journey as a painter began.

Minou the Cat

Picasso and his Siamese cat Minou

Picasso and his Siamese cat Minou (Pinterest)

Young Picasso used to have a Siamese cat named Minou. Its name is a kitty in French, both Picasso and Minou had big sharp eyes which made them look like brothers. There is a beautiful picture book about Picasso and Minou called Picaso and Minou by P.I. Maltbie. The story is largely based on facts with some dramatization, depicts the two endured extreme hardship and became successful together in Paris. It’s said one time, Minou even brought back a sausage to Picasso!

Pablo Picasso holding a cat

Picasso holding a cat (blogs.canoe.com)

Picasso loved cats throughout his life, there are several photos taken with a cat.

Blue Period (1901- 1904)

Picasso, Blue Nude

Picasso, Blue Nude (Pinterest)

Although Picasso enjoyed the friendship with Casagemas, he and and Picasso parted ways. The sad and bad news came soon to Picasso, upon hearing word of his friend’s very public, very violent suicide. Picasso was thrust into a depression and painted scenes of poverty, isolation and anguish, almost exclusively in shades of blue and green.

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

Pablo Picasso quotes (goodreads)

Blue Nude proved his talent on highlighting the deepest emotions while using only one color to effectively express it. It was depicted from the high perspective, looking down upon the figure. There are no background of the figure, the same style adopted by Paul Gauguin in a number of the paintings he executed in Tahiti. Most famous paintings from this period beside from Blue Nude, La Vie and The Old Guitarist. Marginalized and deprived people were often the subject pieces in the Blue Period.

Picasso, La vie

Pablo Picasso’s, Blue Period piece, La Vie (1903) (Wikipedia)

People want to find a meaning in everything and everyone. That’s the disease of our age…

Pablo Picasso quotes (goodreads)

Rose Period (1904- 1906)

"Nude With Joined Hands" Pablo Picasso (1906)

Nude With Joined Hands Pablo Picasso (1906) (Pinterest)

Beiges, pinks and reds dominate this period which is called Rose Period. By 1905, Picasso had largely overcame the depression, and began using warm and brighter colors. He was newly prosperous thanks to the generous patronage of art dealer Ambroise Vollard. Those colors shows Picasso’s improved spirits in artistic manifestation.

Two Nudes, 1906 by Picasso

Two Nudes, 1906 by Picasso (PabloPicasso.org)

The figures are now characterized by their sheer volume and weight, a striking contrast to the frail, emaciated and ethereal bodies of his earlier works. Where the previous figures seemed to float, these more sculptural figures stand foursquare. Twisted hand, oddly positioned torso gives viewers a sense of seeing them simultaneously from several viewpoints. Much of this solidity to the forms of his figures came from Picasso’s increasing awareness of the work of Paul Cezanne.

The Family of Saltimbanques, 1905 by Pablo Picasso

The Family of Saltimbanques, 1905 by Pablo Picasso (PabloPicasso.org)

A massive canvas, in fact the largest that Picasso ever worked on at 212.8x229.6cm, (7x8 ft), the background was originally a racecourse until Picasso created this barren landscape, which is reminiscent of his birthplace in Andalucia, southern Spain. The circus troupe is assembled as if departing, both literally and metaphorically. Picasso is Harlequin, holding the little girl, possibly his beloved younger sister, Conchita, whose tragic death from diphtheria at the age of seven affected Picasso deeply. He bargained that he would never paint again if she survived, so her death created his first obsessive, recurrent connection between art, life and death in his work.

Cubism (1908- 1912)

Les Demoiselles d’Avignon by Picasso in 1907

Les Demoiselles d’Avignon by Picasso in 1907 (Art News Blog)

Today, Les Demoiselles d’Avignon is considered the precursor and inspiration of Cubism, an artistic style pioneered by Picasso and his friend and fellow painter, Georges Braque. It was heavily influenced by African sculpture and ancient Iberian art. In Cubist paintings, objects are broken apart and reassembled in an abstracted form, highlighting their composite geometric shapes and depicting them from multiple, simultaneous viewpoints in order to create physics-defying, collage-like effects. At once destructive and creative, Cubism shocked, appalled and fascinated the art world.

Picasso and Braque visited each other daily. Picasso described himself and Braque as two mountaineers, roped together. The two developed new themes, bold lines, and a series of darker color schemes, and created the Cubism style. The Cubists challenged conventional forms of representation, such as perspective, which had been the rule since Renaissance Art.

Girl with Mandolin, 1910 by Pablo Picasso

Girl with Mandolin, 1910 by Pablo Picasso (PabloPicasso.org)

Picasso’s paintings were becoming more abstract. He abandoned all known form and representation of traditional art. Picasso used distortion of female’s body and geometric forms in an innovative way, which challenge the expectation that paintings will offer idealized representations of female beauty. It also shows the influence of African art on Picasso. When it first exhibited in 1916, the painting was regarded as immoral. Girl with Mandolin is by no means totally devoid of realism.

Guernica (1937)

Guernica, 1937 by Pablo Picasso

Guernica, 1937 by Pablo Picasso (PabloPicasso.org)

At about 16:30 on Monday, 26 April 1937, warplanes of the German Condor Legion, commanded by Colonel Wolfram von Richthofen, bombed Guernica for about two hours. Germany, at this time led by Hitler, had lent material support to the Nationalists and were using the war as an opportunity to test out new weapons and tactics. During the Spanish Civil War, Guernica was regarded as the northern bastion of the Republican resistance movement and the epicenter of Basque culture, adding to its significance as a target.

Guernica after the bombardment of Nazi in 1937

Bombing of Guernica (Eco Republicano)

Picasso, outraged by the bombing and the inhumanity of war, painted Guernica. From 1927 onward, Picasso became caught up in a new philosophical and cultural movement known as Surrealism and Guernica is most well-known Surrealist painting. The bull and the horse are important characters in Spanish culture. Picasso said it meant brutality and darkness, presumably reminiscent of his prophetic. He also stated that the horse represented the people of Guernica.

Guernica after the bombing

Guernica after the bombing (Wikipedia)

Initially exhibited in July 1937 at the Spanish Pavilion at the Paris International Exposition, and then on touring exhibition around the world raised funds for Spanish war relief. The painting became famous and widely acclaimed, and it helped bring worldwide attention to the Spanish Civil War. Yet, interpretations of Guernica vary widely and contradict one another. Once Picasso himself stated Every now and then one paints a picture that seems to have opened a door and serves as a stepping stone to other things., there is nothing more than Guernica, lives up to this value.

Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone

Pablo Picasso quotes (goodreads)

Pablo Picasso


After his death in 1973 his value as an artist and inspiration to other artists has only grown. Picasso superstitiously believed that work would keep him alive, and truly, the legend lives on.

The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.

Pablo Picasso quotes (goodreads)


Pablo Picasso Biography (Bio)
 Pablo Picasso (THE ART STORY)
 Pablo Picasso and his paintings (PabloPicasso.org)

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Originally published at Johnny Times.

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