Pablo Picasso: The Father of Cubism

Pablo Picasso: The Father of Cubism

Pablo Picasso, one of the most influential artists of the 20th century, is renowned for his revolutionary artistic style, Cubism. This innovative movement, which he co-founded with Georges Braque, shattered traditional representational art and ushered in a new era of abstract expression.

Early Life and Influences

Born in Málaga, Spain, in 1881, Picasso displayed artistic talent from a young age. His father, a painter and art teacher, recognized his son’s gift and provided him with early artistic training. Picasso’s early works were influenced by Spanish masters like Diego Velázquez and Francisco Goya, as well as by the Impressionist movement.

The Birth of Cubism

Around 1907, Picasso, along with Georges Braque, began experimenting with a radical new approach to painting. They started to break down objects into geometric shapes, depicting them from multiple perspectives simultaneously. This technique, known as Cubism, challenged the traditional idea of perspective and representation, creating a fragmented and abstract view of reality.

Picasso’s famous painting, Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907), is often considered the birth of Cubism. The painting depicts five nude women in a brothel, their bodies broken down into geometric forms and viewed from different angles. This revolutionary work shocked the art world and set the stage for the development of Cubism.

Key Characteristics of Cubism

  • Fragmentation: Objects are broken down into geometric shapes and planes.
  • Multiple Perspectives: Objects are viewed from multiple angles simultaneously.
  • Abstraction: The focus shifts from realistic representation to the exploration of form, color, and composition.
  • Flattened Space: Traditional depth and perspective are eliminated, creating a flat, two-dimensional surface.

The Impact of Cubism

Cubism had a profound impact on the art world, influencing numerous subsequent movements, including Abstract Expressionism, Surrealism, and Pop Art. It also extended its influence beyond painting, impacting sculpture, architecture, and even music.

Guernica: A Powerful Testament to Cubism

One of Picasso’s most powerful works, Guernica (1937), is a stark and moving testament to the horrors of war. The painting, which depicts the bombing of the Basque town of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War, uses the fragmented forms and distorted perspectives of Cubism to convey the chaos and devastation of war. Guernica became a symbol of peace and a powerful anti-war statement, solidifying Picasso’s legacy as a master of Cubism and a powerful voice for social justice.


Pablo Picasso’s Cubism was a revolutionary artistic movement that transformed the art world. By breaking free from traditional representation and embracing abstraction, Picasso and his contemporaries opened up new possibilities for artistic expression. Picasso’s legacy continues to inspire artists and art lovers alike, reminding us of the power of art to challenge conventions, express complex emotions, and spark social change.