Pablo Picasso Lesson for Kids

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Pablo Picasso lived from 1881 to 1973 and was born in Malaga, Spain. His early childhood was heavily influenced by his father, who was an art teacher. From a young age he showed a talent for drawing and began formal lessons with his father at the age of seven.

Background of Pablo Picasso

According to the Pablo Picasso Organization, in addition to training with his father, Picasso also attended the Academy of Arts for one year. He then moved to Paris, where he began to experiment with his art and develop his unique style in surrealism and cubism. He is considered the co-founder of Cubism.

Periods of Picasso

Throughout his life, Picasso went through identifiable phases in his paintings. Some of the phases included:

  • Blue Period (1901 to 1904)
  • Rose Period (1904 to 1906)
  • Cubism (1907 to 1921)
  • Neoclassical (1921)
  • Surrealism (1924)

Famous Works of Art

Picasso is known as one of the most prolific painters of all time. During the span of his art career, he created more than 13,500 paintings. He also created thousands of prints and illustrations for books. Some of his most recognizable works of art include:

  • The Old Guitarist: A distorted painting of an old man playing the guitar. The tones are dark blues and grays and may reflect the mood of the artist after the death of one of his close friends in 1903. It was painted during Picasso's Blue Period. The only divergence from blues and grays in the painting is the brown guitar, making it the focal point of the piece. The painting can be viewed today at the Art Institute of Chicago.
  • Three Musicians: This painting is a perfect example of Cubism. Picasso breaks down the image into geometric shapes that together make up a complete image. The painting is now located in the New York Museum of Modern Art. The three musicians are created with flat, geometric shapes in vivid colors such as purple, orange and yellow. The painting shows a clarinet player on the left, a guitar player in the middle and a singer on the right.
  • Guernica: This painting is an example of Picasso's interest in surrealism. His work was a bit different than other surrealist painters of the day, but he incorporated the softer, blurred elements from the surrealist movement with a juxtaposition of images and subconscious thought. A leg might appear by itself anywhere on the page for example.

Create a Picasso-Style Art Project

Since Picasso is known as the co-creator of Cubism, this project will utilize shapes to create a cubist-style image. You do not need to know how to paint to create this project. You are going to be recreating a Picasso "face" such as those found in his paintings "Marie Therese," "The Root of All Evil" or "Maya with Boat."

supplies for Picasso art project

You'll Need

  • White poster board (11-by-14-inches is a good size, but you can also cut down larger pieces already on hand)
  • Magazines
  • Scissors
  • Glue stick
  • Pastels or colored chalks (optional)
  • Pencil

How to Create

Photo of Picasso art project
  1. Search through the magazines and find noses, ears, eyes and mouths. Cut out these various body parts with scissors. Do your best to keep them in a geometric shape such as a triangle, oval, square, etc.
  2. Once you have a nice selection of features cut out, draw a large oval on your poster to serve as a loose outline of the facial area. You can erase this later.
  3. Arrange the facial parts so that they somewhat line up like a face, but they do not have to be perfect. An example is shown in the image to the right. Try different combinations until you find the one you like best.
  4. Once you are pleased with the selection and location of the facial features, add glue from the glue stick to the back of each piece and glue it down to your poster board.

Finishing Touches

You can leave this as is or add the color that Picasso used in many of his paintings by filling in the white areas with colorful triangles and squares. Picasso often divided the painting into four sections, so four large squares of background color works well.

Huge Influence on Art

Picasso had a tremendous influence on art. From being part-creator of Cubism to his ability to take a technique like surrealism and make it his own, Picasso is a good example of how an artist can share the unique way he looks at the world with others. After all, isn't sharing a little part of yourself what art is all about?

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Pablo Picasso Lesson for Kids