“Are we to paint what’s on the face, what’s inside the face, or what’s behind it?”
Pablo Picasso began to study art under his father’s instruction at age seven. Together with Georges Braque, Picasso pioneered the movement known as Cubism, which revolutionized twentieth-century art. His versatile mastery expanded beyond painting, drawing, and sculpture to encompass printmaking and ceramics as well. After World War II his fame grew to unparalleled magnitude, transforming Picasso from modern artist to public icon.
Let Picasso inspire your students to:
- Draw or paint a still life, then cut it up and reassemble it.
- Create a self-portrait using only basic geometric shapes.
- Draw each of their facial features on separate sheets of paper, then cut them out and assemble them into one composition.
- Illustrate a contemporary political scene.
- Create a monochromatic painting and consider what mood their color choice conveys. Paint again in black and white, then again in complementary colors, and see how it affects the mood.
- Research quotes by Picasso, choose one to pair with a work of art, and write about how that particular work conveys the philosophy expressed in the quote.
Books for students:
Picasso and the Girl with a Ponytail, Laurence Anholt
Pablo Picasso: Breaking All the Rules, True Kelley
Picasso and Minou, P. I. Maltbie
The Boy Who Bit Picasso, Anthony PenRose
Artists in Their Time: Pablo Picasso, Kate Scarborough
Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Artists: Pablo Picasso, Mike Venezia
Matisse and Picasso, KERA
Picassohead, RFI Studios
Inside Scoop: Pablo Picasso, National Gallery of Art
Picasso: The Early Years, 1892-1906: Teacher’s Guide, National Gallery of Art
Updating Cubism, Tate
Picasso: Peace and Freedom Educators’ Pack, Tate
Find out more from The Museum of Modern Art:
Picasso: Themes and Variations
Girl before a Mirror, publication excerpts, other texts
Girl before a Mirror, audio guide
The Kitchen, gallery label text
Night Fishing at Antibes, audio guide