Sample Scholarship Essays


Pablo Picasso , known as one of the most influential artists of the
twentieth century . I shall explore the evolution of a young Pablo Ruiz
Picasso to the experienced genius that had shaped the way we see art
today . From his Blue and Rose periods through the birth of Cubism ,
to the struggles of the experimental thirties . As we go to the death of a
proud father .

Picasso was born in Malaga on the 25th of October 1881 . The only
children of the family were Pablo and his younger sister . As you know
Spaniards take the name of one’s father and of one’s mother . The name
Ruiz was his father’s . His mother’s was Picasso . His birth name is Pablo
Ruiz Picasso . Since its such a long name its a pain to sign so he shortened it .

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On Pablo’s earlier canvases he signed Pablo Ruiz but later changed his name
to who we know of now , Pablo Picasso . Picasso is of Italian origin and the
Picasso were silversmiths . Physically Pablo resembles his mother , small and
robust with a vigorous body , dark-skinned , straight not very fine black hair .

Picasso used to always say that his father was like an English-man . His
father , Jose Ruiz Blasco was tall and had reddish hair and an English way of
carrying himself .

As a child Picasso was making drawings , not the drawings of a child
would have but one a painter would have painted . When he was fifteen years
old he would make oil portraits of his younger sister . He painted like a born
painter . Then at age nineteen Picasso was off to Paris . Two months later he
went back to Barcelona sold some paintings . Picasso settled in Madrid and
starts the magazine ” Arte Joven ” with the writer Francisco de Assis Saler.

Soon after Picasso goes back to Barcelona and then back to Paris again .

Picasso had friends but none of where painters , no they were all writers .

In 1902 Picasso returned to Spain and painting in his Blue period .

Being in away from Spain for a while he forgot how colorless it is . The
colors of Spain are white , black , silver and gold yet it was still beautiful .

Span in a sense is not like other southern countries ,
“It is oriental , women there wear black more often then
other colors in Spain , the earth is dry and gold in color ,
the sky is blue and almost black , and the air is very light .

All the same I like Spain .”Gertrude Stein 30
and the result is Picasso s Blue period .
Then again in 1904 he was once again in Paris . Paris is now in
it’s own Rose period . The influence from his helped one of his first known
paintings ” Little Girl with a Basket of Flowers “1905 . Painters have
always liked the circus , even with the rise of cinema and night clubs , they
like to still remember the clowns and acrobats of the circus . A painting to
show of the influence by the circus is ” Acrobat on a Ball “1904 – 1905 .

1908 – 1909 , Picasso barley showed his works at exhibits . He said
“When one went on exhibition and looked at the pictures of other
painters one knows that they are bad and so they are not
hopelessly bad . “
Picasso’ s first cubist pictures were landscapes , but then almost at
once he started using it in expressing people . Picasso still did not reach his
peak of cubism till later .In 1910 to 1912 it was mainly still life . Picasso s
pictures began to get more brilliant in color and then war broke out in 1914 .

By the end of the war 1917 – 1920 Picasso was is a realistic period .
During the Spanish civil war is when Picasso was awaken and
made a large painting that is the most know of all his works of art ,
“Guernica ” . After the wars he used all the sadness and pain from the
death of his Spanish people . Most of his paints where done ink later in
century . Pablo Picasso continued to work and paint till he past away in


Picasso Picasso was an artist born on Oct.25, 1881 in Malaga, Spain. At age 15 he was admitted to the School of Fine Arts in Barcelona. Impatient under formal training the young Picasso went to Paris in 1900. There, tough constantly near starvation, he became infatuated with the street life of Montmartre, and made many studies of the city’s poor. Between 1900 and 1906 he worked through nearly every major style of contemporary painting, from impressionism to Art Nouveau.

Suddenly, the 20-year-old painter moved toward a symbolism of pathos and misery inspired by the Spanish painter El Greco. This was his Blue Period, so called because most of these paintings were dominated by various shades of blue, heigthening their mood of isolation and despair. After 1904 the brooding depression of the Blue Period changed to a quiet melancholy, and the colors of his paintings became more natural, delicate and tender in its range, with many redish and pink tones. This period is thus called the Pink Period. After 1906, under the influence of Cezanne, Iberian sculpture and African sculpture, Picasso began to paint in a more radical style.

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The human figures and their surrounding space are reduced to inter- secting planes which imply a multiple, dissected view of the world. The faces of the figures are seen simultaneously from frontal and profile positions, and their bodies are forced to submit to Picasso’s abstract pictorial language. Arts Essays.


Pablo Picasso
Text from Thomas Hoving, “Art For Dummies”
“Yet Cubism and Modern art weren’t either scientific or intellectual; they were visual and came from the eye and mind of one of the greatest geniuses in art history. Pablo Picasso, born in Spain, was a child prodigy who was recognized as such by his art-teacher father who ably led him along. The small Museo de Picasso in Barcelona is devoted primarily to his early works, which include strikingly realistic renderings of casts of ancient sculpture.
“He was a rebel from the start and, as a teenager, began to frequent the Barcelona cafes where intellectuals gathered. He soon went to Paris, the capital of art, and soaked up the works of Manet, Gustave Courbet, and Toulouse-Lautrec, whose sketchy style impressed him greatly. Then it was back to Spain, a return to France, and again back to Spain – all in the years 1899 to 1904.
“Before he struck upon Cubism, Picasso went through a prodigious number of styles – realism, caricature, the Blue Period, and the Rose Period. The Blue Period dates from 1901 to 1904 and is characterized by a predominantly blue palette and subjects focusing on outcasts, beggars, and prostitutes. This was when he also produced his first sculptures. The most poignant work of the style is in Cleveland’s Museum of Art, La Vie (1903), that was created in memory of a great childhood friend, the Spanish poet Casagemas, who had committed suicide. The painting started as a self-portrait, but Picasso’s features became those of his lost friend. The composition is stilted, the space compressed, the gestures stiff, and the tones predominantly blue. Another outstanding Blue Period work, of 1903, is in the Metropolitan, The Blind Man’s Meal. Yet another example, perhaps the most lyrical and mysterious ever, is in the Toledo Museum of Art, the haunting Woman with a Crow (1903).
“The Rose Period began around 1904 when Picasso’s palette brightened, the paintings dominated by pinks and beige, light blues, and roses. His subjects are saltimbanques (circus people), harlequins, and clowns, all of whom seem to be mute and strangely inactive. One of the premier works of this period is in Washington, D.C., the National Gallery’s large and extremely beautiful Family of Saltimbanques dating to 1905, which portrays a group of circus workers who appear alienated and incapable of communicating with each other, set in a one-dimensional space.
“In 1905, Picasso went briefly to Holland, and on his return to Paris, his works took on a classical aura with large male and fernale figures seen frontally or in distinct profile, almost like early Greek art. One of the best of these of 1906 is in the Albright-Knox Gallery in Buffalo, NY, La Toilette. Several pieces in this new style were purchased by Gertrude (the art patron and writer) and her brother, Leo Stein. The other major artist promoted by the Steins during this period was Henri Matisse, who had made a sensation in an exhibition of 1905 for works of a most shocking new style, employing garish and dissonant colors. The critics as “Fauvism,” a French word for “wild beasts”, would deride these pieces. Matisse profoundly influenced Picasso. He was also captivated by the almost cartoon-like works of the self-taught “primitive” French painter Henri “Le Douanier” Rousseau, whom he affectionately called “the last ancient Egyptian painter” because his works have a passing similarity to the flat ancient Egyptian paintings.
“A masterpiece by Rousseau is in the Museum of Modern Art in New York, his world-famous Sleeping Gypsy, with an incredible tiger gazing at the dormant figure with laser-like eyes.
“Picasso discovered ancient Iberian sculpture from Spain, African art (for he haunted the African collections in the Musee d’Ethnographie du Trocadero in Paris), and Gauguin’s sculptures. Slowly, he incorporated the simplified forms he found in these sources into a striking portrait of Gertrude Stein, finished in 1906 and given by her in her would to the Metropolitan Museum. She has a severe mask like face made up of emphatically hewn forms compressed inside a restricted space. (Stein is supposed to have complained, “I don’t look at all like that,” with Picasso replying, “You will, Gertrude, you will.”) This unique portrait comes as a crucial shift from what Picasso saw to what he was thinking and paves the way to Cubism.
“Then came the awesome Les Demoiselles d’Avignon of 1907, the shaker of the art world (Museum of Modern Art, New York). Picasso was a little afraid of the painting and didn’t show it except to a small circle of friends until 1916, long after he had completed his early Cubist pictures. Cubism is essentially the fragmenting of three-dimensional forms into flat areas of pattern and color, overlapping and intertwining so that shapes and parts of the human anatomy are seen from the front and back at the same time. The style was created by Picasso in tandem with his great friend Georges Braque, and at times, the works were so alike it was hard for each artist quickly to identify their own. The two were so close for several years that Picasso took to calling Braque, “ma femme” or “my wife,” described the relationship as one of two mountaineers roped together, and in some correspondence they refer to each other as “Orville and Wilbur” for they knew how profound their invention of Cubism was.
“Every progressive painter, whether French, German, Belgian, or American, soon took up Cubism, and the style became the dominant one of at least the first half of the 20th century. In 1913, in New York, the new style was introduced at an exhibition at the midtown armory – the famous Armory Show -, which caused a sensation. Picasso would create a host of Cubist styles throughout his long career. After painting still-lives that employed lettering, trompe l’oeil effects, color, and textured paint surfaces, in 1912 Picasso produced Still-Life with Chair-Caning, in the Picasso Museum in Paris, which is an oval picture that is, in effect, a cafe table in perspective surrounded by a rope frame – the first collage, or a work of art that incorporates preexisting materials or objects as part of the ensemble. Elements glued to the surface contrasting with painted versions of the same material provided a sort of sophisticated double take on the part of the observer. A good example of this, dubbed Synthetic Cubism, is in the Picasso Museum, Paris, the witty Geometric Composition: The Guitar (1913). The most accomplished pictures of the fully developed Synthetic Cubist style are two complex and highly colorful works representing musicians (in Philadelphia and the Museum of Modern Art, New York). He produced fascinating theatrical sets and costumes for the Ballet Russe from 1914 on, turned, in the 1920s, to a rich classical style, creating some breathtaking line drawings, dabbled with Surrealism between 1925 and 1935, and returned to Classicism.
“At the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, Picasso was appointed the director of the Prado. In January 1937, the Republican government asked him to paint a mural for the Spanish pavilion at the world exposition in Paris. Spurred on by a war atrocity, the total destruction by bombs of the town of Guernica in the Basque country, he painted the renowned oil Guernica in monochrome (now in Madrid’s Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia.) Something of an enigma in details, there’s no doubt that the giant picture (which until the death of Franco was in New York’s Museum of Modern Art) expresses a Goyaesque revulsion over the horror man can wreak upon fellow man. The center is dominated by a grieving woman and a wounded, screaming horse illuminated, like Goya’s Third of May 1808 by a harsh light.
“Picasso lived in Paris through the war, producing gloomy paintings in semi-abstract styles, many depicting skulls or flayed animals or a horrifying charnel house. He joined the Communist party after the war and painted two large paintings condemning the United States for its involvement in the Korean War (two frightfully bad paintings about events that never happened – like American participation in germ warfare). He turned enthusiastically to sculpture, pottery, and print-making, and, in his later years, preoccupied himself with a series of mistresses and girlfriends, changing his style to express his love for each one, and, finally, making superb evocations of the works of old masters like Diego Velazquez. Whatever Picasso had a hand in turned out to have an unquenchable spark of utter genius.”
Les Demoiselles D’Avignon (Studies in Modern Art, No 3)
William Rubin, et al
Everything you EVER wanted to know about Picasso’s proto-Cubist masterwork. The graphics are of high quality and include every preparatory drawing or sketch as well as related works by other artists that influenced or were influenced by the “Demoiselles”. Rubin is one of the clearest writers on art, and offers an accessible, yet thorough work.
A Life of Picasso: Volume I, 1881-1906
John Richardson, Marilyn McCully
The definitive multi-volume biography of the 20th century’s most fascinating artist. Volume I covers the early years, through the Blue and Rose Periods. This paperback version is the smarter buy. Also available: A Life of Picasso: Volume II, 1907-1917, which covers the critical Cubist Period.
Picasso : The Early Years 1892-1906
This is the catalog to the blockbuster show of 1997, featuring the Blue and Rose Periods. The graphics are of exceptional quality, and the accompanying essays are enlightening, focusing on less well-known aspects of this period of Picasso’s career.
Picasso and Portraiture : Representation and Transformation
William Rubin (Editor), Anne Baldassari, Pierre Daix
This is the catalog to the blockbuster show of 1996, featuring portraits from the beginning to end of Picasso’s long career. The graphics are again of exceptional quality. Rubin’s essay in particular is critical in art historical writing on the Spanish master.
Picasso’s Variations on the Masters : Confrontations With the Past
Susan Grace Galassi
This is an extremely interesting look at Picasso’s series paintings based on masterworks from the past, from Velazquez to Delacroix to Manet. It was as if he could not find sufficient competition among contemporary artists, and looked to outdo the masters of the past in their own works.


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