One cannot overestimate the influence that Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) exercised on the art of the Twentieth Century. He was a leading figure in two major art moments of Cubism and Surrealism. Then ultimately went on to define his own movement in what one might call “modern grotesque.” He influenced four generations of artists from Braque to Basquiat by as much his personality as his art. He was the first superstar of art in the modern age, with his image on the covers of major international magazines and he even appeared (as himself) in several movies.
Picasso was born in Malaga Spain, the son of an artist, who quickly understood the special gifts of his son. José Ruiz initially taught his son, but he realized that Picasso’s talent surpassed his instruction, and he enrolled Picasso at the Barcelona School of Fine Art where Ruiz taught. Picasso was 13 at the time, and was quickly recognized as its finest student. Picasso ultimately moved on to Madrid’s Royal Academy at the age of 16. Picasso thought little of the academy, but found real stimulation at the Prado where he studied the works of Diego Velázquez, Francisco Goya, and Francisco Zurbarán. Of all of the Prado artists, Picasso fell under the spell of El Greco with many of Picasso’s future work would show this influence.
Picasso’s stay at the Academy was short-lived, and his academic training came to an end. As an 18-year old he made his way to Paris in 1900, where he would spend the majority of his next 73 years. He was initially attracted to the new modernist art of the impressionists and post-impressionists. These early modernist paintings emulated no particular artist and displayed Picasso’s life-long originality. The paintings from which has been called the Blue Period (1901-04) were dominated by somber blue and green hues. Picasso struggled financially and emotionally during this time, and these paintings reflected his condition.
►Short biography from Buzzle
►Long biography from Biography.com