Picasso's Successive Approximation

Most people think of Pablo Picasso as the famous artist who painted the weird ladies with two noses.  This is amusing, but of course his impact on the course of 20th-century art (and creativity in general) cannot be understated.

What most people don't know is that Picasso was a very gifted art student from a very young age.  He was academically trained, at first by his father (also a painter) and then by academies in Barcelona and Madrid, although the boy was not a very assiduous student. He began his move to Paris in 1900 when he was 19, about the time he created the self-portrait seen here.

First of all, can we agree that Pablo was a hottie?  You don't have to agree, but the evidence is clear: his string of sexual conquests was as impressive as his career as an artist.  His self-portraits confirm his radiant life-energy, and very few were those who could resist his charms either in the bedroom, the studio, or salon.

Throughout his life Picasso painted self-portraits, and over at Open Culture they've curated a series of these works.  Open Culture presents them as a timeline of his evolving artistic styles, but I think we can see even more his SUCCESSIVE APPROXIMATION as a human.  Who among us has not changed from being 18 to being who we are now?  (Unless you're still 18, in which case I say, God bless you and have a safe journey!)

What interests me about the process is how the artist—not just Picasso but all of us—uses his/her work both to 1) examine the changing self; and 2) propel and announce the changes.  At least, I think that's what we as artists should be doing.  "Who am I this time?"

So get to work: keep a record of who you are.  Has your work changed as you've changed?  Have you changed? As Heraclitus reminds us, πάντα χωρεῖ καὶ οὐδὲν μένει. See to it.


Feel free to leave comments on this or any other post!