Many books have been written about him, many interpretations about his art and what it meant. The various styles, the symbolism and the views of the critics in the last 100 years. But his thought on art are not too well known. Here are 5 quotes that contradict a lot of what's been written... by the artist himself.
They were taken from the book - Pablo Picasso 1881 - 1973 Genius of the Century. published by Benedikt Taschen.
“There is no abstract art. You must always start with something. Afterwards you can remove all traces of reality. There’s no danger then, anyway, because the idea of the object will have left an indelible mark.It is what started the artist off, excited his ideas,and stirred up his emotions. Ideas and emotions eventually end up as prisoners in his work. Whatever they do, they can’t escape from the picture. They form an integral part of it, even when their presence is no longer discernible. Whether he likes it or not, man is the instrument of nature.” PICASSO
“Everyone wants to understand art. Why don’t we try to understand the the songs of a bird? Why do we love the night, the flowers, everything around us, without trying to understand them? But in the case of a painting, people think they have to understand. If only they would realize above all that an artist works of necessity, that he himself is only an insignificant part 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.”
“ 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 has a lyre at every mood of his heart if he is a poet, or even, if he is a boxer, just his muscles? On the contrary! He is at the same time a political being, constantly alive to world events that can be heart-rending, fiery or happy, and he responds to them with his whole being. How could he possibly not show any interest in other people but put on an ivory indifference and detach himself from the life which he has received so abundantly? No, painting was not invented to decorate houses. It is an instrument of war for attack and defence against the enemy.”
“ The different styles I have been using in my art must not be seen as an evolution, or as steps towards an unknown ideal of painting. Everything I have ever made was made for the present and with the hope that it will always remain in the present. I have never had time to for the idea of searching. Whenever I have wanted to express something, I have done so without thinking of the past or the future. I have never made radically different experiments. Whenever I have wanted to say something, I have said it in such a way as I believed I had to. Different themes inevitably require different methods of expression.This does not imply either evolution or progress, but is a matter of following the idea one wants to express and the way in which one wants to express it.”
“ Is there anything more dangerous than being understood? All the more so, as there is no such thing. You are always misunderstood. You think you aren’t lonely, but in actual fact you are even more lonely.”
“ The artist is a receptacle for emotions that come from all over the place: from the sky, from the earth, from a scrap of paper, from a passing shape, from a spider’s web. That is why we must not discriminate between things. Where things are concerned there are no class distinctions. We must pick out what is good for us where we can find it - except from our own works. I have a horror of copying myself. But when I am shown a portfolio of old drawings, for instance, I have no qualms about taking anything I want from them.