Pablo Picasso (1881 - 1973)
Self-Portrait, 1907
Oil on canvas, 50 x 46 cm
Nȧrodni Galeri, Prague

Pablo Picasso was Spanish. His father, an art professor, taught him drawing from
age 7. When Pablo was 14, the family moved to Barcelona, where he attended the Academy of Fine Arts. A mere year later, a painting of Pablo would go on display in one of the most prestigious exhibitions in Spain.

Although Picasso’s early works were executed in the style of Realism, an academic approach did not interest him. At age 19 he left for Paris, which by the beginning of the 20th century had become a center of new art attracting young artists. Here they met, shared ideas, collaborated, exhibited their works, and visited countless exhibitions.

Pablo Picasso lived to a ripe old age and became famous for his constant search for new directions in art. Critics identify several periods of creativity, with works from different periods that are so diverse that sometimes it is hard to believe that they were created by the same person.

The pictures of the Blue Period (which started after Picasso lost a close friend) transmit sadness, pain, and loneliness. Coming next, the Rose Period (inspired by a first love) brought back a joy of life to his canvases.

This self-portrait belongs to the African Period. Here, Picasso depicted his face as an African mask by simplifying the facial features into straight lines and simple geometric shapes, and using a modest combination of colors.