Pablo Picasso: An artist like no other

Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.

When I was a child, my mother said to me, ‘If you become a soldier, you’ll be a general. If you become a monk, you’ll end up as the pope.’ Instead I became a painter and wound up as Picasso.” – Picasso

Pablo Picasso is one of the most influential artists of all time, a beacon of greatness in 20th century modern art. From painting in realistic styles early on in his career to breaking all boundaries of form and expression in his later art, Picasso traversed a journey that few can ever envision. His mastery gave him something rather unique for artists at the time – celebrity.

Picasso: More than what meets the eye.

He was one of the most recognizable artists of his time, finding fame and adulation even on the streets; something so rare for artists even in today’s age where visual information can be shared instantly. Stories of his interactions with fans and admirers of his work abound, where he displays what can be mistaken for arrogance – something that can also be sensed from the quote attributed to him earlier. Scratch a little below the surface, however, and you see something far more inspiring.

For instance, a woman once chanced upon Picasso at a public place in France. On recognizing him, she immediately professed a desired to be sketched by the great man, offering to pay him for a portrait right there. Accepting the offer, he looked at her intently for a while, before quickly sketching something with a pen on a piece of paper and handing it to her.

Thrilled to have an ‘original Picasso’ in her hands, she asked him how much he expected to be paid for it. ‘5000 francs,’ he replied. Astonished, she asked him why he would charge that much when it took him only a few minutes to sketch it. His reply? ‘Actually, my dear, it took me my whole life.’

Witty Picasso

His simple and witty words truly give an insight into what that quality is, which can be wrongly be seen as pride. It is merely the love for one’s vocation and confidence in one’s abilities. Picasso had a strong sense of self, and he put a value to his art because he had spent a lifetime seeing things differently and representing his vision artistically.

He is known to have created, incredibly, over 50000 works of art in his lifetime, many of which are iconic markers of his prolific journey. Yet, he maintained humility while practicing his art right till the end, and he retorted with brazen wit when the value of his art was ever put to question.

Action Summary:

  • Take pride in what you do – be it your passion or your source of livelihood. The only way others will respect you is if you respect yourself and your work.

  • Remember that you’re always growing. An individual is the sum total of his or her experiences. So, you’re always going to be older and wiser tomorrow than you are today.

~ Pradeep Menon