Why is October 25th dedicated to the celebration of International Artist Day? What activities are carried out during this special day for creators? Keep reading and you will find out.
International Artist’s Day has been celebrated annually since October 25th, 2004. This idea is the authorship of Chris MacClure, a famous Canadian artist, who chose this date to commemorate the birth of Pablo Picasso, a Spanish artist born on October 25th, 1881, considered one of the greatest painters of the 20th century, who created one of the most revolutionary artistic movements, Cubism, which also gave rise to other trends and had a great influence on artists of both his generation and posterity.
This day is celebrated by artists and institutions around the world to honor the contributions that painters, sculptors, draftsmen, photographers, performers and multimedia artists have made to society in the course of art history. It is a day to promote and disseminate artists and their creations both locally and globally, thus recognizing their great impact on society, since artists not only create beauties to be collected and contemplated, their works also express ideas and feelings that lead us to reflection and give us hope in the face of difficult events or situations in life. A variety of activities such as shows, festivals, art fairs, exhibitions, workshops, talks and conferences are held on this day.
Now, let’s see, roughly, who Pablo Picasso was. This remarkable artist was born in 1881, in Malaga, Spain, and died in Mougins, France, in 1973, at the age of 91. He was a very prolific artist who cultivated several artistic disciplines: painting, drawing, sculpture, engraving, pottery, graphic design, illustration, among others. Picasso began painting at an early age, at the age of 8, in fact, his father was an art teacher, first at the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Telmo and then at the Escuela de Bellas Artes de Barcelona, or Escuela de la Lonja, where Picasso began his academic studies, at the age of 14. There he stood out as a talented and precocious student. The following year, in 1896, he set up his first workshop, and in 1897 he continued his studies at the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando.
Picasso’s beginnings were characterized by a style of academic realism. In 1898 he made his first individual exhibition in Barcelona. At 17 years old, he obtained an honorable mention at the Exposición General de Bellas Artes de Madrid; then, under the influence of the works of El Greco and Toulouse-Lautrec, he obtains new recognitions for his works.
In 1900 Picasso traveled to Paris to visit the Universal Exhibition where he participated with one of his paintings. As a professional artist, he temporarily resided in that city where he met his first dealer, who bought three works from him and offered him 150 francs a month for all his work for a year. Between 1901 and 1904 he was between Barcelona and Paris, a time when Picasso worked on his blue period (1), a stage in which he painted a series of works in which the color blue predominates, where he uses a drawing of distorted and elongated figures in the manner of the Greco and themes loaded with melancholy, pain, poverty and loneliness, a theme that had a lot to do with the suicide of his friend Carlos Casagema.
In 1904 Picasso decided to settle permanently in Paris. Between this year and 1906, his second stage emerged, known as the pink period, which is characterized by a work in which he tends to the geometry of figures and objects, highlighting the color pink complemented by warm colors such as red and yellow and circus themes: harlequins, minstrels, and buffoons (2).
The subsequent stage is decisive, the product of a review of classical art, studies of other artists such as El Greco, Cézanne, and Gauguin, and, particularly, works of ancient Iberian art and African sculpture. It is a period of experimentation, and deep reflection, of searching for his own language. It is the moment in which Picasso begins to work on the great painting that marks the beginning of his cubist stage, which has been called proto-cubist, Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (The Young Ladies of Avignon) (3), a key reference to talk about cubism, a movement of which this artist is the maximum creator and exponent; Later, together with George Braque, he developed analytical cubism and synthetic cubism, enriched with extra-pictorial elements, collage and various materials.
In this painting, Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (The Young Ladies of Avignon), Picasso moves away from the tradition of realism, from Renaissance aesthetics, breaks with the canon of spatial depth and the classical ideal of the female body, reducing the entire work to a set of angular planes without background or spatial perspective, which gives rise to multiple perspective; geometric shapes are given to the figures, fragmenting lines and surfaces. Two of the faces, the most cubist in appearance of the five, which look like masks, are due to the influence of African art, while the two central ones are more akin to the faces in medieval frescoes and early Iberian sculptures, the face of the left presents a profile reminiscent of Egyptian paintings. Picasso conceived a visual language unprecedented up to that moment, a way of making art that would change the history of art forever.