It would not be an exaggeration to say that Pablo Picasso devoted his whole life to art. He didn’t spend a single day on unnecessary education or unloved work. All his interests, all his thoughts and dreams related exclusively to painting. Every event in the artist's life, every person from his circle, every woman who gave him her love, were primarily sources of inspiration for Picasso. Not surprisingly, most of Picasso's conversations were about art.
Ah, good taste! What a dreadful thing! Taste is the enemy of creativeness. It has the ability to sterilize art and becomes the main flaw of any creative process.
What do you think an artist is? An imbecile who only has eyes, if he is a painter, or ears if he is a musician, or a lyre in every chamber of his heart if he is a poet, or even, if he is a boxer, just his muscles? Far from it: at the same time he is also a political being, constantly aware of the heartbreaking, passionate, or delightful things that happen in the world, shaping himself completely in their image. How could it be possible to feel no interest in other people, and with a cool indifference to detach yourself from the very life which they bring to you so abundantly? No, painting is not done to decorate apartments. It is an instrument of war.
Picasso with the Gun and Hat, Cannes, 1958.
If I paint a wild horse, you might not see the horse... but surely you will see the wildness!
We artists are indestructible; even in a prison, or in a concentration camp, I would be almighty in my own world of art, even if I had to paint my pictures with my wet tongue on the dusty floor of my cell.
Pablo Picasso painting with light. Valoris, 1949.
Art is never chaste. It ought to be forbidden to ignorant innocents, never allowed into contact with those not sufficiently prepared. Yes, art is dangerous. Where it is chaste, it is not art. Never.
Every time I change wives I should burn the last one. That way I'd be rid of them. They wouldn't be around to complicate my existence. Maybe, that would bring back my youth, too. You kill the woman and you wipe out the past she represents.
Everyone wants to understand art. Why not try to understand the song of a bird? Why does one love the night, flowers, everything around one, without trying to understand them? But in the case of a painting people have to understand. If only they would realize above all that an artist works of necessity, that he himself is only a trifling bit of the world, and that no more importance should be attached to him than to plenty of other things which please us in the world, though we can’t explain them. People who try to explain pictures are usually barking up the wrong tree.
Painting is a blind man’s profession. He paints not what he sees, but what he feels, what he tells himself about what he has seen.
If I had no one to love, I'd fall in love with a doorknob.
Picasso and Brigitte Bardot in the artist's Studio in Cannes, 1956.
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 be the pope.' Instead I became a painter and wound up as Picasso.
To me there is no past or future in art. If a work of art cannot live always in the present it must not be considered at all. The art of the Greeks, of the Egyptians, of the great painters who lived in other times, is not an art of the past; perhaps it is more alive today that it ever was.”
Museums are just a lot of lies, and the people who make art their business are mostly imposters. We have infected the pictures in museums with all our stupidities, all our mistakes, all our poverty of spirit. We have turned them into petty and ridiculous things.
If I weren't an artist, I'd like to be a toreador.
1.2. One of the earliest works by Picasso, 1889 - 1890.
I paint the way someone bites his fingernails; for me, painting is a bad habit because I don't know nor can I do anything else.
Art is not the application of a canon of beauty but what the instinct and the brain can conceive beyond any canon. When we love a woman we don’t start measuring her limbs.
There is no abstract art. You must always start with something. Afterward you can remove all traces of reality; there is no longer any danger as the idea of the object has left an indelible imprint. It is the object which aroused the artist, stimulated his ideas and set of his emotions. These ideas and emotions will be imprisoned in his work for good.
The people no longer seek consolation in art. But the refined people, the rich, the idlers seek the new, the extraordinary, the extravagant, the scandalous. I have contented these people with all the many bizarre things that come into my head. And the less they understand, the more they admire it. By amusing myself with all these games, all this nonsense, all these picture puzzles, I became famous...
Pablo Picasso in clown's mask. Villa California, Cannes, 1957.
The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.
That inspiration comes, does not depend on me. The only thing I can do is make sure it catches me working.
If you take my sayings and explode them in the air, they remain only sayings. But if you fit them together in their correct places, you will have the whole story.
Read more on the topic: 6 stories about Picasso you probably didn't know
Title illustration: Picasso in his studio in Cannes, 1956. Photograph by Arnold Newman.
Quotations by Pablo Picasso has been gathered by Eugenia Sidelnikova