Picasso and Paper

The Royal Academy of Arts, London, is currently holding an exhibition to both record and celebrate the artistic career and lifetime of Pablo Picasso. The exhibition starts at the beginning of his artistic career when he attended the Fine Arts School in Barcelona where he father worked. Picasso was only thirteen years old when he attended the school and so clearly had a keen interest in art from a young age.

The exhibition was intriguing because it acted as a timeline exploring the different stages and experimental periods during the artist’s lifetime. During his early years Picasso studied expressionism through his work with many studies of hands, figures and self portraits. ‘The Artist Drawing and studies of hands’, 1897-99 [figure 1]  is one of the pieces found in the exhibition which I found interesting because it is a simple study created during his Expressionism period. The use of crayon and charcoal on paper has created a simple piece with little detail. Picasso has used shading and tone in the piece but has refrained himself from added detail. The style of Picasso’s work throughout most of his career refrains from great detail and focuses more on simple yet effective tone and shading. Not only this, Picasso regularly used single lines to outline the body of the work without using lots of little lines. By doing this, the artist is only capturing the single lines of the model and not creating what I would see as more movement by adding a few lines in an attempt to capture the figure. The singular line does however, form a clear fluidity to the work.

For me, there is not one stage of his career which is most inspiring and relevant to me because when walking around the exhibition I focuses mostly of the hands within pieces and the studies of hands which he produce throughout his lifetime. Within the different eras, the hands are shaped, contoured and even how they are interpreted. Picasso, whilst exploring Expressionism will have interpreted a hand differently than during his exploration for Surrealism.

The exhibition focused on the way Picasso used drawing and painting on paper. The exhibition showed how he used anything and everything to create his art especially during the war where materials were limited. It is evident in his work that he used paper of different sizes, qualities and even torn pieces within his work. This type of work is relevant to myself because this is the style I enjoy creating because I feel it creates texture and detail into the work sometimes without needing to add too much pencil, paint of charcoal.

picasso
Figure 1. A Artist drawing and study of a hand, Pablo Picasso, 1897-99, crayon on paper

Author: ninasartspace

Based in Cardiff studying Fine Art at the Metropolitan University. Originally from East Sussex. The career goal is Art Therapy with adults who suffer from PTSD and other mental issues which affect so many of us on a daily basis.

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