Picasso said, "When I was a child, my mother said to me, 'If you become a soldier, you'll be a general. If a monk, you'll end up as the Pope!' Instead, I became a painter and wound up as Picasso."
Picasso's first major oil painting The First Communion was completed when he was 15, and was exhibited in Barcelona in the spring of 1896. He chose to paint a scene familiar to every Catholic person, a child's first holy communion. However, he broke with tradition by showing the events before it - a hint, perhaps, of things to come.
In 1900, Picasso traveled to Paris with his friend Carlos Casagemas. Casagemas killed himself in 1901; and Picasso was deeply affected by his friend's suicide. Over the next four years, many of his pictures were dominated by the color blue - his so-called "Blue Period."
Later in his life, Picasso experimented with Cubism. Cubist artists used photographs, newspaper cuttings, and other objects to stick onto their canvases - a technique called collage. Sometimes the cuttings were relevant to the picture's meaning and other times they were used just for their textural qualities. The overall goal was to show objects in their most simplified form.
In the late 1940s and early 1950s, Picasso created many sculptures. One of the ones he did was Baboon with Young. This sculpture is at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts (MIA) and Sophia, Olivia, my mom, and I had the opportunity not only to see this sculpture, but to touch it on a "touch tour" that we did in Spring 2013.
Having an opportunity to touch
Picasso's Baboon with Young
at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.
Since my mom is legally blind, the MIA offers "touch tours" where visitors with visual impairments and their guests can touch different sculptures and textural pieces at the museum.
For doing a picture and artist study about Pablo Picasso, Sophia and Olivia looked at six pictures of works that he had created. They were able to see a small sampling of the range of styles and media that Picasso explored.
Two Girls Reading (1934)
=> In the picture, there is a background of a goldish color and a wooden table.
=>On the table, there are a few papers or a book. Looking at the book or papers are two girls.
=> The girls look like someone cut them up and then painted them different color and glued them together in weird shapes.
=> For example, the older one/sibling/sister has a diamond-shaped head, green skin, brown hair, a gold dress; and is standing next to a girl that has a head shaped like - oh, I don't know - that's blue and white with lilac-colored hair. She was wearing a red dress.
=> She is leaning on the older girl's shoulder...I think she is because her head is so misshapen that you don't know where it starts and stops.
=> Both of their eyes are turned down.
=> Neither of them are smiling.
=> The girls with the blue skin has both hands folded next to the book that they are readings.
=> The older girl with the green skin has one arm around the older girl's neck. The hand that's around her neck is - of course - green and has six fingers.
=> There are two women who have unusual skin color.
=> One of the women has red hair, and the other one has purple hair.
=> The woman with purple hair has a sad expression.
=> The other woman looks like she is trying to comfort her.
=> The woman with red hair has a yellowish-orangeish-golden color shirt.
=> The other woman has a red shirt with white cuffs and collar.
=> On the table, there's a newspaper or book that has writing on it.
=> The background is a darkish-yellow-orange-golden color.
=> At the bottom of the picture on the right there are some words that I cannot read.
Maya with Doll (1938)
=> In the picture, there was a young girl sitting on the floor with her right leg in front of her and her left leg crossed over her.
=> She is wearing a dark blue dress that has white slightly puffy sleeves. They are slightly frilly at the end. She also has a white frilly collar. It has red buttons with little holes in the center, but not exact. You can see three, but the one in the center is moved more to the left so it is uneven.
=> She is wearing knee-high socks that are different colors in between red, gold, and brown.
=> She is wearing black shoes and you can see the sole of her left shoe which is yellow.
=> She is holding a doll in her arms. It is wearing a dark blue sailor suit and a hat that you would see on someone who is graduating (a black one).
=> The doll has a blue mouth and eyes.
=> She also has red suspenders painted on her dress so it looks like she would have trousers underneath if you didn't see the dress.
=> The girl, Maya, has one hand underneath the doll's neck as if to prop it up.
=> The girl has green hair with a little bit of yellow and white which is pulled into two braids with blue and red bows at the end.
=> The most disturbing thing about her is her face because her right eye is lower than her left eye; and her mouth and nose are moved to the right of her face even though she is looking straight ahead so it looks like she has this weird, disfigured face.
=> Her face is pale, but in spots there is blue so she looks kind of icy.
=> She has bright purple eyes and she is sitting on a dark brown floor with white walls that are tinged with an icy blue at the edges.
=> She is not smiling and her mouth seems longer than a normal persons' mouth.
=> There is a girl and she has kind of lime green hair.
=> Her eyes are violet or purple.
=> She is wearing a dark blue dress that has puffy stuff that makes the dress stick out - crinoline.
=> She has straps on her dress that are orange and red put together.
=> She has socks on that go up to her knees, but a little lower than her knees. They have stripes on them.
=> She has black shoes.
=> She has a blueish spot - like a streak - under her right eye that goes down a little ways.
=> On the top of her head, you can see a green spot that is kind of big...and also on her chin.
=> Her skin is white.
=> Her fingernails are green.
=> In her arms she has a doll that has black hair. In one spot, it looks olive green.
=> She has a square hat that has a knob thing on top of it...or dot things...whatever you want to call it.
=> She has dark purple sailor's outfit. She has orangeish-reddish stripes on it.
=> In the picture, there is a room; and the ceiling is checkered and in the far corner there is a doorway.
=> Everything is dark except for an altar that has two candles that are lit. There are two more candles in the candleabra, but they are not lit.
=> Next to the candleabra, on either side, are vases are bright flowers. To the right of the candleabra, there is a young man. He has short, cropped black hair, a red robe with a white lace coat that was open.
=> The man is putting a vase of flowers on the altar.
=> Two steps down the altar on the floor there is a kneeler that is very fancy because it is covered in red velvet.
=> Kneeling on it, is a girl dressed in a white dress with long sleeves, white gloves, and white veil with white flowers on top.
=> In her hands, she was holding a prayer book. She appears to be looking at it.
=> To the left of her is a man who is wearing a dark blue suit with a white color and a white shirt underneath.
=> He has a certain expression and is looking at the base of the altar.
=> Slightly behind him is a woman who is dressed all in black, has black hair, and has a slightly hooked nose.
=> There are four people in a room that is rather dark.
=> One of the people is dressed all in white and she is kneeling on a red chair with a book in her hands that she looks to be reading out of.
=> Two of the people are wearing all dark navy or black clothing.
=> Another person is standing by the altar that has candles and flowers on it and the person standing by it is wearing a red gown with a kind of a shawl that you can see through. He is putting out flowers in a vase.
=> Above the one who is dressed in white, there looks like there is a candle that is hanging from a ceiling.
=> The roof appears to be made out of glass.
=> The room appears to be a church room or a sanctuary.
=> There is a carpet that has flowers on it.
=> There is a woman behind the man who has a rather grim expression.
=> The man is standing by the girl who is dressed all in white and is staring at the altar.
Baboon with Young (1951)
=> In the picture there is a bronze monkey standing on a square white pedestal in a room with ocean-blue walls.
=> The monkey is standing with her knees slightly bent. On her rounded stomach is a baby. I guess the baby is a monkey because it has a tail. The baby is clinging rather tightly to the mother.
=> The mother monkey has her hands kind of holding the baby.
=> The mother's tail is rather long and is curved at the end so it helps the statue stand and keep it from falling over.
=> The mother monkey has rather large ears, which is to be expected.
=> The strangest part is that in between the ears is a car.
=> The monkey's eyes are where the windshield should be.
=> The front of the car is the monkey's snout.
=> The baby monkey has a round head and no nears to speak of.
=> In the picture there was a monkey with a baby monkey...or a baboon with a baby monkey.
=> The mother is holding the baby how you would hold a baby child.
=> The mother monkey's head is made from a car.
=> The mother monkey's ears are big.
=> The monkey's tail is long and it is curled at the end...kind of like a spiral.
=> The baby's ahead is a round head and his arms are stretched out and to the front.
=> The mother has big feet and toes; and her feet are kind of on a bronze plate.
=> The background is a blue that looks like fabric or cloth.
=>The monkey is on a pedestal.
Bottle, Glass, and Violin (1912)
=> In the center of the picture there are letters that spell "Journal" in bold newspaper print.
=> To the side of that half-drawn in charcoal and half in newspaper is what appears to be a violin.
=> The bottom part of it is drawn in charcoal and the top part is drawn on newspaper.
=> On the other side is a cutout of what appears to be a bottle. Drawn with charcoal is the cork.
=> The newspaper that he used looks aged and brown.
=> Sometimes the charcoal is slightly smudged...otherwise everything is very sharp.
=> There is a newspaper piece that is cut out that says "Journal."
=> The other piece of newspaper that has been cut out is the shape of a bottle. The spout is drawn onto it.
=> There is a drawn-out picture of a violin or cello.
=> The drawings are done in charcoal.
=> I saw a circle and another shape that I don't know what it is called.
=> Brown, black and white are the colors that are used in it.
=> The brown parts are the newspaper.
=> The black is the lines that he drew.
The Old Jew with a Boy (1903)
=> There are two people sitting in an alleyway. The first one is a boy who has a dark beret or cap on and a dark blanket wrapped around his shoulders and legs. It is open in the front to reveal a white scarf that wraps around the boy's hands which is holding what appears to be a potato that he is eating.
=> His face appears to be neither happy or sad. His eyes are distant and far away - like he is thinking of other things.
=> To the left of him is an old man who he is slightly leaning against. The old man is wearing tattered pants that are almost up to his knee and a long-sleeve blue shirt.
=> The man has one leg underneath him and one leg stretched out.
=> His feet look old and bony.
=> One hand is slightly behind him to hold him up.
=> He has a blue piece of cloth tied around his head like a bandanna.
=> His face is a dirty brown, and his bear is the same color except with a hint of white.
=> The old man appears to have his eyes closed as if in thought.
=> You can't see much of his mouth because it is hidden by his beard, but he appears to be slightly frowning.
=> The whole picture looks blue with splashes of color that aren't very bright.
=> There are two people - one is a boy and one is an old man.
=> The old man has his eyes closed and he looks kind of sad.
=> The boy has his eyes open and he is holding a piece of food that he is eating.
=> The boy is wrapped in a blanket and at the end of the blanket it appears to be dusty.
=> The man's feet have white lines on them so it appears that the artist is showing the man's bones a little bit.
=> They appear to be in an alleyway or a place where it is dark.
=> The boy has a hat on his head; and the man has something wrapped around his head.
=> You can see a little bit of the man's left hand.
=> His pants look kind of torn.
=> His beard is kind of a white color.
=> The man is wearing a shirt.
=> The whole entire picture is blue and kind of a white color.