10 Things You Didn’t Know About Pablo Picasso

1. His full name is 23 words long!

Picasso

Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Martyr Patricio Clito Ruíz y Picasso

Picasso’s full name is 23 words, and 103 characters long. The artist was named after various saints and relatives. He adopted his mother’s surname, because he thought it suited him better.

In his words: “[Picasso] was stranger, more resonant, than Ruiz … Do you know what appealed to me about that name? Well, it was undoubtedly the double ‘s’, which is fairly unusual in Spain. Picasso is of Italian origin, as you know. And the name a person bears or adopts has its importance. Can you imagine me calling myself Ruiz? Pablo Ruiz? Diego-José Ruiz? Or Juan-Népomucène Ruiz?

 

2. The Midwife thought he was stillborn

Picasso was so weak after a difficult birth that the midwife thought he was stillborn. She put him on a table to attend to his mother, and Picasso’s uncle, a doctor by the name of Don Salvador, revived him in an unusual fashion:

Doctors at that time used to smoke big cigars, and my uncle was no exception. When he saw me lying there he blew smoke into my face. To this I immediately reacted with a grimace and a bellow of fury.

 

 3. Picasso’s first word was “Pencil”

Picasso

In true artist fashion, Picasso’s first word was “piz,” short of “lápiz” the Spanish word for “pencil.”

Picasso’s father Ruiz, who was an artist and art professor, gave his child a formal art education from the age of 7. By the time Picasso was 13, his father gave up painting because he felt Picasso had surpassed him in skill.

 

 

 

 

4. Picasso completed his first painting at the age of 9

In 1890, at nine years old, Picasso completed his first painting, titled ‘Le Picador.’ His first major painting was an academic painting called ‘La Premiér Communion’ which was completed in 1896, when he was 15.

Picasso

 

5. He was a terrible student

Although artistically he was years ahead of his classmates (who were all five or six years older than him), Picasso was often thrown into detention because he didn’t like being told what to do:

For being a bad student I was banished to the ‘calaboose’ – a bare cell with whitewashed walls and a bench to sit on. I liked it there, because I took along a sketch pad and drew incessantly … I could have stayed there forever drawing without stopping.

 

6. He was brought in for questioning regarding the theft of the ‘Mona Lisa’

When the ‘Mona Lisa’ was stolen from the Louvre in 1911, the police brought in Picasso’s friend, poet Guillaume Apollinaire, for questioning. Apollinaire fingered Picasso as the culprit, which caused the police to detain the artist. Both of them were later released.

 

7. Picasso is buried on Monte Saint-Victoire

Picasso bought a château in the south of France in 1958, after discovering it lay on the slopes of Monte Saint-Victoire-a place painted more than 30 times by Cézanne. He told his agent, “I have just bought myself Cézanne’s mountains.”

Picasso's Château

 

8. His iconic striped shirt is no ordinary garment

Picasso

Picasso’s iconic shirt is a Breton-striped shirt, which in 1858 became the official uniform for French seamen in Brittany.

The 21 horizontal stripes represent each of Napoleon’s victories, and the continuous stripe from shirt to sleeve allows for easier spotting of sailors in the distance.

Coco Chanel brought these shirts to the fashion world in 1917, and they are still very much en vogue.

 

 

 

 

9. He was a poet and a playwright

After ending his first marriage in 1935, Picasso dabbled in poetry and later wrote two surrealist plays. It was rumoured that Picasso predicted he’d be known more for his poetry than his paintings.

Here’s a taste from his ‘The Burial of the Count Orgaz’

…there did finally arrive the card announcing the festivities on monday night and next morning at dawn there were fires and worms up every ass hole and sugar palms appeared in every window

 

10. He was a playboy

Here is a list of known wives and lovers of Picasso:

- Fernande Olivier (Picasso’s first love, he was 23)
- Marcelle Humbert AKA Eva Gouel (she was 27, Picasso was 31)
- Gaby Lespinasse (he was 34)
- Olga Khokhlova (Picasso’s first wife; she was 26 and he was 36 when they met)
- Marie-Thérèse Walter (she was 17, he was 46)
- Dora Maar (she was 29, Picasso was 55)
- Françoise Gilot (she was 21 when she met Picasso, who was 61)
- Geneviève Laporte (one of Picasso’s last lovers. She was in her mid-twenties and a French model of Picasso, who was in his seventies when the affair started)
- Jacqueline Roque (who became Picasso’s second wife. She was 27 and he was 79)

Fernande Olivier
Fernande Olivier

Picasso
Marcelle Humbert AKA Eva Gouel

Picasso
Marie-Thérèse Walter

Picasso
Dora Maar

Picasso
Françoise Gilot

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