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Picasso entered into the world should have been an indicator that he was special. So much that he even credits his genius to that very moment. Picasso was believed to be stillborn, the doctor lit a giant cigar and blew the smoke into the face of the baby as a result woke him into existence. Picasso would go onto say said that this was when he became a genius. 

Mother and child, Picasso 1905

October 25th, 1881, Malaga, Spain. A giant of the art world would be born. ‘Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de Los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Martyr Patricio Clito Ruíz y Picasso’ was entered the world. You don’t need to count, we can tell you that’s 25 names he was given at birth. This would have been difficult to sign on his paintings, so he used his mother’s surname (Picasso) from 1901 onwards.

His mother was Maria Ruiz Picasso, whose surname he would later adopt. According to Pablo himself, his mother knew right away that he was destined for great things. “When I was a child, my mother said to me, ‘If you become a soldier, you’ll be a general. If you become a monk you’ll end up as the pope.'” “Instead, I became a painter and wound up as Picasso.”

The name Picasso, however, is not Spanish. It comes from the coastal region of Northern Italy, in Liguria. The only direct relative of his that has been found was Tommaso Picasso from Sori, Liguria (Genoa). Tommaso’s son, also named Tomasso, would move to Spain around 1807.

Pablo Picasso’s father, Jose Ruiz Blasco, had the biggest influence on his life. He was a professor of art at the School of Crafts and the curator of a local museum. Jose would take his son to bullfights, whose imagery would frequently show up in his early drawings and paintings. His father would make sure he received formal training from a young age at home.

Señor Ruiz was an academic art teacher who wanted Pablo to become an artist that would paint the future kings of Spain. From the age of 7, Pablo would copy the masters and draw the human body over and over. Pablo became so obsessed with art it became a problem for the teachers of any subject other than art. 

Picasso sketch from his time in Barcelona

The art world would change forever the day Picasso was born, but Barcelona was also going through its own renaissance. In 1881, Barcelona would open its doors to the world for its World Exposition. As Spain was losing its influence in its colonies, Barcelona’s bourgeois saw an opportunity to put both Barcelona and Catalonia back on the map. 

Picasso on the verge of leaving Barcelona for Paris

Just a few decades earlier, Madrid had allowed Barcelona to rip down its city walls and expand. This would give the following generations a new city to express themselves in and Barcelona still bathes in its success. Puig I Cadafacl, Dominer I Muntaner and of course Antoni Gaudi would build upon Cerda’s extension plan and turn the industrial elites dreams into reality.

To find out more about Pablo Picasso, why not join us on a walking tour to understand him and Barcelonas amazing art

Written by Jimi Suarez



At Artspace Tours, our mission is to show art-loving and curious travels the best of Barcelona’s local art scene. Be it street, contemporary or historic art we’ve got it covered.

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