Beading with the Masters: Pablo Picasso
As one of the most famous and influential artists in history, Pablo Picasso is truly a master. He co-founded the Cubist movement, and he pioneered many new forms of art, such as collage. He used his fame as an artist during times of war to make political statements through pieces such as Guernica (1937), a dramatic, Cubist portrayal of the bombing of Guernica by the German and Italian air forces during the Spanish Civil War.
I’m an art geek and love exploring art history. Learning what inspired artists’ work and tapping into their stories fascinates me. Drawing correlations between notable artists in history and beadwork and beaded jewelry design is my new favorite game of compare and contrast.
If you’re into art history, too, be sure to check my previous article about Pop artist Andy Warhol, or read the entire Beading with the Masters series to get all caught up with what I’ve shared so far!
Picasso, along with other artists, revolutionized the art world and pushed painting toward Modern Art with the introduction and development of Cubism. Forms are fractured, disassembled, and reassembled in abstraction. I find that the forms in these beaded projects share similarities with Cubism in their faceted, shifted, and geometric designs:
- Tango Twist Necklace by Cecil Rodriguez
- Switchback Bracelet by Debora Hodoyer
- Playful Pentagons Bracelet by Kim West
- Yin-Yang Drops Earrings by Daria Tittenberger
Picasso famously went through a period of grief after losing a close friend to suicide, and his paintings were all done in shades of blue and blue-green, with the occasional dash of warm color. He used color to convey a message and his mood. Bead artists, too, use color to tell a story.
Lisa Kan’s Radiance Necklace conveys a rich, opulent feeling with the use of royal blue and shiny metallic gold surrounding a sparkling crystal rivoli. The Czech Me Out Necklace by Melissa Grakowsky Shippee says something more playful to me—a festival of sand and ocean colors that feels happy and light. Edgar Lopez’s Dazzling Daisies Bracelet is packed with sparkling crystals in hues of seafoam and twilight that feel refreshing and lively. The Diamond Eyes Bracelet by Cecil Rodriguez in the two featured colorways can tell a different story depending on which colorway you select—earthy and casual, or dark and metropolitan.
Immediately after Picasso’s Blue Period came his Rose Period. His recovery after the loss of his friend and a new romance blossoming meant a more upbeat, optimistic mood to his painting. He used a lot of orange and pink colors, as well as imagery of circus people, acrobats, and harlequins. These beading patterns remind me of Picasso’s Rose Period:
- Sabine Lippert’s Rosebud Rivolis Necklace
- Cristie Prince’s Pondo Lace Bracelet
- Maria Teresa Moran’s Pinch Me Not Bracelet
- Penny Dixon’s Waxing Crescent Moon Earrings
Pablo Picasso was prolific in his art, producing 50,000 paintings, drawings, sculptures, and other pieces of art in his long lifetime. He was a flawed human being, like all of us, but his drive to keep creating and pushing forward with his art through struggles and failures was the key to his success. He worked hard and never stopped trying new things. That’s what all of us, as crafters and artists, should strive to do. Be like Picasso: push the boundaries, get out of your comfort zone, and express yourself creatively!
If you love learning about art while finding some new beading projects, read the entire series of Beading with the Masters!
Technical Editor, Beadwork magazine
Featured Image: These beading patterns remind me of Picasso’s works in Cubism, his Blue Period, and his Rose Period.
Try one of these beading patterns today!