8 Quotes to Celebrate Picasso’s Birthday

The artist's politics may have been questionable, but his influence is not.

Pablo Picasso. Photo: Flickr.

Today marks the 134th birthday of the artist synonymous with modern art: Pablo Picasso.

The artist was a painter, sculptor, ceramicist, printmaker, designer and more; he often credited as an inventor of collage and as the founder of Cubism. He was so in demand that Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard put him on a celebrity watch list.

His politics were militant and his views on women were questionable, but his lasting influence on Modern art is indisputable. His career began around 1900 in Parisian cafes, where he painted colorful versions of cabaret performers, flaneurs, beggars and drinkers.

Through his blue and red periods he continued to paint in a relatively traditional style, but soon he developed a revolutionary Cubist style in collaboration with artist George Braque. However, with one of the most recognizable aesthetics of any modern art museum, Picasso is almost a genre of his own.

To celebrate his birthday, here are eight quotes—some sweet, some extreme—from the prolific artist.

Pablo Picasso, Guernica (1937).

Pablo Picasso, Guernica (1937).

On Painting:

“Painting is not made to decorate apartments. It’s an offensive and defensive weapon against the enemy.”

“Painting isn’t an aesthetic operation; it’s a form of magic designed as mediator between this strange hostile world and us.”

“There are painters who transform the sun into a yellow spot but there are others who with the help of their art and their intelligence transform a yellow spot into a sun.”


On Copying:

“Success is dangerous. One begins to copy oneself and to copy oneself is more dangerous than to copy others.”

“Good artists copy, great artists steal.”

Pablo Picasso, Les Demoiselles D'Avignon (1907). Photo: Wikipedia.

Pablo Picasso, Les Demoiselles D’Avignon (1907).
Photo: Wikipedia.

On Women:

“For me, there are two kinds of women — goddesses and doormats.”

Pablo Picasso, Bull's Head (1942)

Pablo Picasso, Bull’s Head (1942)
Image: Ben Davis

On Art School:

“Academic training in beauty is a sham. We have been deceived… The beauties of the Parthenon, Venuses, Nymphs, Narcissuses are so many lies. Art is not the application of a canon of beauty but what the instinct and the brain can conceive beyond any canon.”

The Tortured Artist You suffer for your passion, longing for the day when your talent will be recognized. May we suggest faking your own death? Pablo Picasso, The Old Guitarist(1903) Photo: Wikipedia Commons

Pablo Picasso, The Old Guitarist(1903)
Photo: Wikipedia Commons

On his aesthetic choices:

“When I don’t have red, I use blue.”

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