Pablo Picasso and the clever use of colors!


Have you ever tried to know a person’s inner mood by understanding a person’s favorite color? This effort to get to know the spirits of the young Pablo Ruiz, known as Pablo Picasso, is probably not in vain!

In fact, the two periods of blue and pink in the life of this Spanish painter fully correspond to his spirits throughout his life. Today we get to know this creator of Cubism style and his works better. And we realize the ability of color to express emotions.

Let’s take a trip to Picasso’s world:

Pablo Picasso; Modern painter

Picasso’s father was an educated painter.  Picasso himself learned the basics of painting from his father. Picasso first chose the style of realism. Finally, at the age of 18, he moved to France, where he began his career.

A picture of Picasso in his painting workshop

Picasso was greatly influenced by what was happening around him for his paintings. This can be seen from the Blue period, the Rose period, the African period, the Cubist period and World War II.

But perhaps the peak of Picasso’s artistic activity can be traced back to 1908: When Pablo Picasso and the French painter Georges Brock invented a new style called Cubism. In fact, this is why Pablo Picasso is considered a modern painter.

One of Picasso's realist paintings of his mother
Portrait of the mother – Pablo Picasso (1896)
A painting of a sick girl with a doctor and a nun by her bed.
Science and Charity – Pablo Picasso (1897)

Pablo Picasso and the use of colors

Pablo has very skillfully used colors to show his good and bad mood in his paintings. We see this effort and his clever use in the two periods of Blue and Rose. He himself says about colors: 

“Colors, like features, follow the changes of the emotions”

The following are the two periods that influenced the life of Pablo Picasso:

Pablo Picasso’s Blue Period

As I said before, Picasso went to Paris at the age of 18. He was not well known at the time, was far from his family, and had little money. Above all, the suicide of his close friend Casagemas in 1901 plunged him into a three-year period of depression.

Picasso himself says of this period:

“I was thinking about Casagemas that got me started painting in blue”

A painting by a friend of Picasso lying in a coffin.
The Death of Casagemas – Pablo Picasso (1901)

The paintings he painted during this period were mostly blue and dark colors. He painted the poor, the needy and the desperate people. Those who are alone in their misery, poverty and pain. In fact, it can be said that Picasso used the color blue to show the sadness and depression of that time. Moreover, some believe that Picasso’s paintings of the Blue period were influenced by the Spanish.

Picasso's blue painting of a poor old man playing the guitar
The Old Guitarist – Pablo Picasso (1903)
A painting of a girl and a boy hugging each other next to a woman.  A woman holding a child ‌
La Vie – Pablo Picasso (1903)
A painting of a mother holding her child.
Desemparats – Pablo Picasso (1903)
A painting of a sad woman with a staring look and clasped hands.
Femme aux Bras Croisés – Pablo Picasso (1902)
A painting of a strange old woman whose left eye is blind.
La Celestine – Pablo Picasso (1903)

Pablo Picasso’s Rose Period

Well, the next period of Picasso’s artistic life began with the passage of the Blue period and the arrival of the Rose in 1904. Picasso’s depression and mental state gradually improved.  Pablo fell in love. He also managed to have a studio and eventually the hope of living inside him was sprouting.

So it is natural that hope and happiness are reflected in his works. For this reason, light colors gradually found their way into Picasso’s color palette. This period is called the Rose period. During this period, Pablo Picasso painted images of clowns and carnival musicians in bright pink, red, and orange.

You can see the first sign of this period in the painting of Girl in a Chemise (Madeleine). If you pay attention to the painting. You see the woman’s lips in pink. Madeleine may be considered an allegory of Fernande Olivier, Pablo Picasso’s mistress. In addition, some believe that the paintings of the Rose Picasso period were influenced by the French.

A painting of a girl in a half-naked dress with pink lips
Girl in a Chemise – Pablo Picasso (1905)
 A painting of a clown in a red dress next to a boy in a colored clown costume
Acrobate et jeune Arlequin – Pablo Picasso (1905)
 A painting of a young mother breastfeeding her young child
Maternité – Pablo Picasso (1905)
 A painting of a boy in blue clothes on a light background with a wreath on his head.
Garçon à la pipe – Pablo Picasso (1905)
 A painting of a clown actor in a red suit preparing to go on stage.
L’acteur – Pablo Picasso (1904)
 Painting of a completely naked woman in very bright colors
Nu aux mains serrées – Pablo Picasso (1906)
 A painting of a girl holding a fan.
Lady with a Fan – Pablo Picasso (1905)

Pablo Picasso’s African period

Two years after the Rose period, in 1906, Picasso’s artistic life entered a new phase in which Picasso was heavily influenced by Greek and African culture for his work. However, this new style did not attract much attention.

 Cubist paintings of several Algerian women in half-naked clothes.
Les Femmes d’Alger – Pablo Picasso (1955)

Pablo Picasso; Creator of Cubism

In 1908, Picasso and Georges Brock decided to paint small cubes. This style was later called Cubism. It can be said that the peak of Picasso’s works is in the style of Cubism. The first work of Cubism can also be attributed to Pablo Picasso’s “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon”.

Cubist paintings of several completely naked women in very bright colors
Les Demoiselles d’Avignon – Pablo Picasso (1907)

Cubism style works do not have a specific light source, the designs do not have a specific symmetry and are not in a hypothetical line. In fact, the style of Cubism creates ambiguity in the viewer’s mind.

In addition, from 1919 to 1929, Pablo showed his interest in the works of neoclassicism and surrealism by drawing several paintings in this field.

 Neoclassical painting of a girl and a boy sleeping on a farm.
Sleeping Peasants – Pablo Picasso (1919)
Neoclassic painting of a naked girl sitting on a rock cleaning her feet.
Nu assis s’essuyant le pied – Pablo Picasso (1921)
 A painting of a clown in a white suit that looks sad.
Pierrot – Pablo Picasso (1918)

Shortly afterwards, in 1936, the Spanish Civil War affected Pablo Picasso. You can see its effect in Guernica Picasso’s painting. A painting that depicts despair, ruthlessness and wild temperament. Picasso’s innovation in his techniques and styles was an important event in modern art.

Cubist painting with intricate designs that have dark colors.  There are animal heads like cows and dinosaurs and several men.
Guernica – Pablo Picasso (1937)
 Cubism of a woman playing the instrument.
Girl with a Mandolin – Pablo Picasso (1910)

Fun Fact: Pablo Picasso’s painting “Seated Woman with Red Hat” had been hidden for 50 years. It was eventually found in the attic of the Evansville Museum in Indiana. This painting is now worth millions of dollars.

A Cubism from Picasso depicting a woman in a red hat.
Seated Woman with Red Hat – Pablo Picasso (1954)

The last word

Picasso was aware of the magical power of colors. For this reason, he used their power and was able to convey his moods to the audience well in each period.

The name Pablo Picasso still exists in history. His work is still critically acclaimed and written about, as well as his particular paintings and styles. Because the world still loves him. There are many works left by Picasso. Indeed, he is the most prolific painter in history.

Posted by

It's Nazanin. For me who loves the rainbow after the rain. What could be more beautiful than writing about colors ?! Well, I'm here now, in Dopely, to share my writings about colors with you and take you with me to the world of colors!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *