The Inspiration of Pablo Picasso
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The Inspiration of Pablo Picasso

The Artist. The Genius. The Icon. Pablo Picasso is one of, if not the most well-known artist in history and should be regarded as the most influential artist of the 20th century. Hailing from the Spanish city of Malaga, the young Pablo was first taught and influenced by his father, a painter who specialized in naturalistic depictions of birds.

Picasso was a prolific artist and produced an estimated 50,000 artworks in his lifetime which mainly composed of paintings, sculptures, ceramics and drawings. But after he died in 1973, Picasso left behind a legacy. It goes without saying and it cannot be overestimated the extent in which Picasso influenced the world of art, but his influence stretched further afield and here in the 21st century, you will find a tough time finding someone who hasn’t either heard of or been influenced by Pablo Picasso.

In honour of the great man himself, we have decided to look at how Pablo Picasso has influenced the world we live in today.

Just before the First World War in 1917, Picasso became extremely good friends with Russian composer and pianist Igor Stravinsky. Both men were highly influential to one another, but it was Picasso in particular who left an especially large mark on Stravinsky.

Sergei Diaghilev, an impresario of the Russian ballet brought Picasso and Stravinsky together whilst he was toying with the idea of commissioning Stravinsky to compose a ballet. After many discussions, arguments and drunken nights out together, the two of them would send each other gifts. Stravinsky wrote a sketch of clarinet music for Picasso on a hotel telegram in an effort to capture the sense of Picasso’s cubism. The piece explored cubist ideas in a musical context.

Stravinsky certainly influenced Picasso too but two years since he had first introduced the pair, Diaghilev commissioned Stravinsky’s ballet, Pulcinella. Pulcinella was composed during the Picasso and Stravinsky’s blossoming friendship and Picasso designed the original costumes and sets for the ballet.

Moving on to America in the 1970s now, punk group Modern Lovers were inspired enough to name one of their songs after Picasso. The unique song was later covered by one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century, David Bowie.

Picasso is the central character of the song and the lyrics, with dry humour, suggest that women never rejected him despite his small stature, he was only 5”3”. But no doubt countless musicians and producers have been influenced in some shape or form by the artist.

The fashion industry has been taking cues from Picasso for over 50 years now. Picasso’s bright colours, bold shapes and his stepping away from the norm taught the fashion industry a lesson in how to be present and how-to standout in an intelligible way.

Extravagant colour palettes, wild hats and dresses with deeply distorted dimension favoured by so many fashion designers across the world all have a Picasso-esque feel to them – some subtle and some not so. Geometric patterns, exaggerated shapes and of course cubism designed clothing can be seen on fashion runways from America to Japan and all the designers have Mr Picasso to thank for their inspiration.

Marketing & Gaming
Unsurprisingly, marketing men and women have used the appeal of Picasso’s masterful art skills to sell items to the public. Much of Picasso’s inspiration came from people but he also knew that great emotion also came from objects, so it is no surprise to see Picasso’s art overlap with marketing.

Advertisement is simply stylising everyday items in a way that makes people want to spend their money on them, as such marketing shares similar traits with art. We see it today too with Andy Warhol’s pop art. Some people think that the greatest art form of the last hundred years is marketing. Perhaps some artists themselves have become famous due to being able to market their work in a befitting manor.

Some popular gaming companies have been able to use Picasso in order to market and make their games more attractive to potential players. An example is the medium variance slot game ‘Pablo Picasslot’ which is nothing more than a regular online slot game but with the added imagery and appeal of brightly coloured Picasso-esque graphics, mixed with famous images of Picasso paintings and a cartoon Picasso character urging you to keep playing.

But Picasso themes are not used solely in video games for marketing purposes. Pixel Picasso is a prototype memory game that encourages players to look at a certain Picasso style pattern before it is taken away, players must then re-create the pattern/painting they have just seen in front of them, testing their memory skills.

Other Artists
Although the inspiration that Picasso has passed on to other artists is insurmountable, it is still worth mentioning. Picasso, of course, was the co-founder/creator of the cubism art form along with Georges Braque. Cubism helped influence the futurism and surrealism avant-garde art movements. Cubism paved the way for non-representational art by emphasising a unity between the canvas surface and the depicted scene.

Cubism revolutionised what art was, and modern art is now reaping the progress, as well as the rewards.

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