Picasso's early drawing skill

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Picasso's early drawing skill

From Gerald King

Published before 2005


Very well stated. I will save this synopsis of Pablo.
Please allow me to reiterate the key points of your message.
  1. The young Picasso learned traditional drawing... from artists who had mastered drawing
  2. "By the age of thirteen, Pablo was producing academic-style work which was up to the standard of a much older students," but "They are full of youthful errors."
  3. "They (early drawings) reveal an artist who showed promise, a promise which was never fulfilled.
  4. "Admiration for the academic Picasso (his early drawings) is often used as an excuse to help justify his questionable later works.
  5. "Even at his best Picasso was a mediocre draftsman early on and always thereafter.
  6. "his academic abilities did not improve beyond those of a very average twenty-year-old.
The most important question to address about this overrated artist is not "why" after having had competent instruction at an early age, he chose to wallow in the arcane world of abstraction, it is "why" his academic abilities never improved? Indeed, you would think that the prodigious output of Picasso would show some obvious improvement over the years, yet, only a sycophant would say that his later works are "better" than those of his youth. Are the later works of Velasquez, Rembrandt, or Titian better than their early works? I would say they are.

Pablo's career shows change but not growth. Like most artists who abandon cognitive drawing practice and spend their lives using novice skills of articulation and visual memorization to make art, esthetic growth suffers and artistic abilities even degenerates. Here again Picasso is a prime example what happens when an artists spits upon tradition and chooses to find a shortcut to fame and fortune. Pablo's career begins with academic drawing and painting and ends with graffiti.

I have some sympathy for the many art professors I have known who accepted and followed the ways of Picasso. Most have given up painting long ago. Some still dabble in conceptual crap or photography. Some hang on to their teaching positions so they can feel significant to the young art students. None of them ever figured out why they were not growing; why they did not feel more confidence in their work as the glory of grad school faded. The successful ones who made a name for themselves were the ones that sacrificed their teaching in order to produce fashionable abstraction for the local art establishment. But after years of play, they are fading and being replaced by more energetic artists.

I'm not such a believer in talent or genius, but I do know that a bad environment or philosophy can stifle artistic growth for anyone. A healthy environment and philosophy based upon traditional or academic drawing will enable most people to achieve a recognizable proficiency and even to produce works of significant art.

Gerald King