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Pablo Picasso Google Doodle
On October 25th 2002 the Google homepage was taken over by a doodle paying tribute to what would have been 121st birthday of perhaps the greatest artist of the twentieth century, Pablo Picasso. The doodle, which appeared on the search engine’s homepage globally can still be viewed by clicking here.
In the doodle, the six letters of the Google logo appeared in their trademark colours of green, yellow, red and blue. However the font was depicted in a cubist style and had the effect of being painted. In the doodle, the “OO” section of the doodle featured solemn, surrealist heads which had the effect of being viewed at a number of different angles simultaneously. Whilst the “E” of the logo featured a waving person.
In his career, which spanned nearly 80 years, the Spanish genius Pablo Picasso changed the face of art permanently. During this time he proved himself to be one of the most innovative and versatile artists of the twentieth century and perhaps of all time. His outputs were not limited to the mediums of paint and drawing, he proved himself equally adept with a number of other mediums, including pottery, collage, set design and also sculpture.
Picasso’s outputs were not purely aesthetic in their talent. His most famous painting, “Guernica”, displayed clearly the horror of total war.
Whilst his simple etching of the dove of peace, provided a suggestion for a happier future for all.
Pablo Picasso was born in Malaga to a family which was both artistic and conventional. Inspiration came from his father and from an early age Picasso showed artistic talent. His talent was such that by the age of just fourteen he had his own studio, was exhibiting his work publically and gaining exceptional coverage from critics. Before the end of his teenage years he was living in Paris mixing with the avant-garde.
1901 saw Picasso embark on what later became known as his “Blue Period”. During this time his paintings, which were still largely naturalistic, were mainly depicted in shades of blue. Paintings from this period largely featured scenes of poverty. The dark mood which summarised this period is widely attributed to the suicide of his close friend, Casagemas. A self-portrait created during this period depicts Picasso looking haggard, intense and many years older than his twenty years.
The dark Blue Period ended when Picasso moved into what has been termed his “Rose Period”. This period saw the young artist depict his subjects, which were often circus people or acrobats, in shades of pink. However in 1907 his artwork took on a new direction, influenced by the artist Cezanne and a number of African Masks, he produced one of modernism’s first masterpieces, “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon”.
Picasso’s contributions to the shape of art continued. Picasso is largely celebrated for the creation of cubism, a novel and new method of capturing the essence of a subject on the canvas. In this method traditional perspective is abandoned in favour of presenting multiple perspectives. Giving the appearance that the subject is viewed from a number of separate angles simultaneously. Needless to say it was a revolutionary way of displaying art. Picasso stated, “I paint objects as I think them, not as I see them.”
Following his cubic phase Picasso moved into his neoclassical phase, which was marked by a number of portraits of human figures in a Mediterranean setting. This period was heavily influenced by the work of fellow artists Ingres and Renoir. During the 1920s and 1930s Picasso embarked on a loose association with the surrealist movement. Where he experimented on a deeper level with distortions of the human body and face, exploring depictions of sexuality and allowed his imagination to create strange and bizarre monsters.
However his journey into surrealism did not prevent Picasso from remaining highly engaged with his surrounding world. He gave his support to the Republicans during the Spanish Civil War and his painting Guernica was a vehicle for him to express his outrage at the violence conjured by fascism. Picasso famously said, “Painting is not made to decorate apartments. It’s an offensive and defensive weapon.” Guernica, his most famous artistic contribution, was created following the horrific and brutal bombing of the Spanish town of the same name in 1937 by forces acting on behalf of Franco’s Nationalist forces. The piece depicts a series of twisted colours, contorted bodies, screaming heads and terrified animals. It is a depiction of complete warfare induced apocalypse.
The work serves a dual function, as a memorial to both the helpless victims who were savaged in the years of the Spanish Civil War, which raged between 1936 and 1939 and as a warning to the world of the horrors which warfare, both past and present, poses.
Picasso’s rage with Franco’s Spain was such that he refused to allow the painting to be taken to his home country during the dictator’s lifetime. The piece was finally taken to Madrid in 1989. It remains here as it is now too fragile to be moved, despite requests from the Basque. Picasso’s political expression was not purely artistic, in 1944 he joined the French Communist Party. During this period he wrote, “What do you think an artist is? An imbecile that only has eyes, if he is a painter; ears if he is a musician; or a lyre in the deepest strata of his heart if he is a poet? Quite the opposite, he is at the same time a political being”.
Bizarrely, in 1949 he contributed his famous design of the peace dove to the communist-sponsored peace conference which was held in Soviet controlled Poland.
Despite his perhaps misguided flirtations with Stalinism, Picasso always had a sympathy for the suffering of those who were repressed.
The following decades saw Picasso produce a colossal volume of work in a wide variety of mediums. He became the most famous living artist in the world, as a result his work was often purchased by galleries and rich private collectors for vast sums. It is well documented that Picasso would sometimes pay for meals in expensive restaurants by drawing a few lines on his napkin. He also would take all his friends and family out for dinner and would pay for everybody by signing a cheque. The cheque was never cashed!
His life was marked by a hunger for life and all of the pleasures it contained. As a result he had a number of wives and mistresses, who sometimes overlapped each other. His egoism can be observed in some of his later works, where he depicts himself as a satyr or Olympian god. It seemed that Picasso would live forever, however he died at the age of ninety one, on April 8th 1973.
Google has celebrated the achievements of a number of prominent artists with a dedicated Google doodle. Vincent Van Gogh Google Doodle, Rembrandt van Rijn Google Doodle and Claude Monet have also received Google doodle’s celebrating their life and works.