10 Things You Didn’t Know About Picasso

Pablo Picasso’s last words were: “Drink to me, drink to my health, you know I can’t drink any more.” Did you know that? Pablo Picasso may be one of the most famous names in art, but chances are there are a few facts about the prolific painter that you didn’t know. Check out these 10 things you (probably) didn’t know about Picasso.

1. His Full Name is 23 Words Long

We may know him as Pablo Picasso or even more casually as Picasso, but his full name was Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Martyr Patricio Clito Ruíz y Picasso. It just kind of rolls of your tongue, doesn’t it?

2. The Midwife Who Delivered Him Thought He Was Stillborn

Picasso’s mother had a difficult time trying to deliver her baby and when the little Pablo finally made his appearance, he was apparently so weak that he was completely motionless. The midwife thought he was stillborn so placed the baby down on a table to focus her care on Picasso’s mother. Pablo’s uncle, Don Salvador, was in attendance as a doctor and revived the baby with a technique that was a little less than medically-based. “Doctors at that time used to smoke big cigars, and my uncle was no exception. When he saw me lying there he blew smoke into my face. To this I immediately reacted with a grimace and a bellow of fury.”

3. Picasso’s First Word Was “Pencil”

If you had any doubt that Picasso was born an artist, all that’s needed to change your mind is to find out that according to his mother little Pablo’s first word was “piz,” short of “lápiz” which is the Spanish word for “pencil.”

4. Picasso Completed His First Painting at 9 Years Old and His First Major Piece at 15 Years Old

Picasso may be best remembered for his paintings of disjointed figures and a modern use of color, but he was in fact incredibly talented when it came to formal painting from a young age. When he was just 9 years old, he completed his first painting, Le Picador, and when he was just 15 years old, he completed La première communion (First Communion) which shows his masterful skill.

5. Picasso’s First Exhibit Was in an Umbrella Shop When He Was 13

Despite his art now appearing in almost every major gallery and museum, when Picasso was 13 he held his first exhibition in an umbrella shop in Barcelona.

6. He Burned His Paintings for Heat

Before fame and fortune came his way, Picasso struggled through times of financial hardship and even resorted to burning his own paintings when he was desperate for heat.

7. He Was Questioned After the Theft of the “Mona Lisa”

In 1911, the “Mona Lisa” was stolen from the Louvre and the police focused their attention on Guillaume Apollinaire. When he was brought in by police, he insisted he was innocent and accused his friend Pablo Picasso of being involved. Picasso was brought in and questioned but it was determined that he had in fact had nothing to do with the crime.

8. Picasso Was a Poet

Art wasn’t Picasso’s only creative outlet. When he was facing (or avoiding) problems in his relationship with his first wife, Olga Khokhlova, he turned to poetry and wrote over 300 poems between 1935 and 1959.

9. Picasso Has Had More Paintings Stolen Than Any Other Artist

Picasso may have earned himself a few records when it comes to the prices and popularity of his work, but he’s also nabbed a record that may not be so enviable. His work has become a tempting target for art thieves and Picasso has had more paintings stolen than any other artist in history with more than 1,000 pieces having been pinched.

10. Picasso Was the First Living Artist to have his work shown at the Louvre

Holding the record for the most stolen art may not be so coveted, but Picasso holds another record which is a little more enviable. In 1971, Picasso held an exhibition at the Louvre which honored his 90th birthday and established him as the only living artist to have his art shown at the museum.

(h/t Saatchi Gallery, Complex; Photos via 5minutebiographies, kienyke)