This summer, Tate Modern is honouring the great artist Picasso, and one significant year, in The EY Exhibition: Picasso 1932 – Love, Fame, Tragedy. But how did his childhood, parents and politics affect his work?
1 CHILD PRODIGY
While most babies’ first words are ‘dada’ or ‘mama’, the Malaga-born Picasso’s was ‘pencil’, or ‘piz’, in Spanish. A prophecy? It’s possible, but more likely because his father José Ruiz Blasco was an artist. A child prodigy, Picasso created his first painting, Le Picador, at the age of eight, and as a young teenager he was producing paintings that would merit being exhibited in any major gallery. At 13, Picasso enrolled and quickly shone at the Barcelona art school – where his father taught – yet he left three years later because he was ‘bored’.
2 A WAY WITH WOMEN
That Picasso was a playboy is well known; he had many lovers in addition to his two wives, most significantly younger than him. This exhibition focuses on his relationship with Marie-Thérèse Walter, who he met when he was 45 and she was 17. His young lover had no idea who he was, but her mother did. One of Picasso’s most famous paintings is of Walter. Nude Woman in a Red Armchair was painted after her 23rd birthday. It wasn’t until 1935 that his wife finally left him, after Walter bec