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The 15 Most Important People in European History

The List:
1 Adolf Hitler
2 Isaac Newton
3 Albert Einstein
4 Queen Elizabeth I
5 Charles Darwin
6 King Henry VIII
7 Leonardo Da Vinci
8 Mahatma Gandhi
9 Otto Von Bismarck
10 Galileo Galilei
11 Winston Churchill
12 Michelangelo
13 William Shakespeare
14 Francis Bacon
15 Pablo Picasso
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No. 15 Pablo Picasso

Much of the entries on this list have dealt with politics and science, and while they indeed are important, art must also be dealt with. So it is fitting that we note perhaps the greatest artist in history, Pablo Picasso.

Picasso was born in 1881 to a rather normal family, and his artistic skill quickly became apparent. By the age of 15, his artist work was of the quality for entrance into the famous Barcelona School of Fine Arts. He quickly received awards for his work, and became quite well known in his chosen field. Eventually he finished with his work in Barcelona, and by 1904 was living in Paris, where his art began to take a different turn. It grew more somber, more depressing and more 'blue'. Thus creative art historians termed this work the blue period. Picasso painted the rejects of society, the prostitutes and the cripples, and some have claimed that he resembled the old Spanish master El Greco (Michele Vishny, Encarta).

However, one cannot produce work of this type forever, and his art took a very dramatic turn. Around 1906, Picasso began to study African art, especially African Masks. Under this style, he produced a work of art known as Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, the women of Avignon. This art was much harsher than what had previously existed, and it was also split in such a way that it resembled what an image might be if viewed through a broken mirror. This changed the world of art, as it was the style that would come to define Picasso, Cubism.

This art's significance is found in several ways. First, it was one of the first of the so-called 'abstract' art, the type of art that distorts life in that way. Secondly, Picasso was influenced by non-western art in a way that had not been seen before. These influences would continue in the art world for many years.

But it is not just cubism that dictates Picasso's entry to this list. The one item that solidifies his place is a picture named Guernica. This painting, showing the destruction of the Spanish town of Guernica by German efforts in the Spanish Civil War. This picture came to symbolize the Spanish Civil War and indeed war in general, and has been used in anti-war circles for many years, and is still used today.

After Guernica, Picasso spent many years working on less significant, although still impressive works of art. He was a true celebrity in the Art world, and was honored for his achievements many times. He died in 1973 a man that was known throughout the world as one of humanities greatest artists.

The first reason that we include Picasso on this list is because of his impact on people's everyday lives. This is easy to explain. If you ask a person on the street to name an artist, the name that will most likely come up is "Picasso." This man truly explained what it meant to be an artist, and defined art for generations. Million's of people have their conception of what art is from Picasso, and since Art is such an integral part of the global consciousness, it deserves entry on this list.

The second reason for inclusion is that of impact on countries. This is rather difficult to quantify, but still can be seen. Picasso, especially with his work on Guernica came to symbolize the fact that Spain had been severally hurt in the Spanish Civil War. Before, many people had considered it to be a rather isolated conflict, certainly not significant. This painting changed that. The fact that the world now considered this war to be important changed Spain's relationship with the rest of Europe, and by extension for years. That had influence on Spanish participation in the EU and in other facts-all from one painting.

The final reason for inclusion is the impact on long term movements. The answer to this can be found in the study of Cubism. Picasso created an entire art movement, one that has continued even today. This art has been seen across all parts of this earth, and has influenced artists of all types. Also, Picasso influenced the anti-war movement, mostly by giving them a rallying point, and something that they can parade around to describe the evils of war. For that reason, and for many others, Pablo Picasso deserves inclusion on this list.

Birth: October 25, 1881 in Malaga
Nickname: Not Applicable
Education: Barcelona's School of Fine Arts
Occupation: Artist
Religious Affiliation: Catholic
Marriage: Olga Koklova (m. 1918-1935)
Jacqueline Rouge (m. 1961)
One should note that Picasso had too many mistresses to name.
Children: Paulo (b. 1921)
One should note that Picasso had other, non-recognized children.
Political Affiliation: Anti-War.
Writings: Too many paintings to count, most famous is Guernica (1937).
Died: April 8, 1973 near Mougins, France
Buried: villa Notre-Dame-de-Vie

Links for Pablo Picasso
Pablo Picasso - of Fine Arts, Boston/ Picasso -
Pablo Picasso on the Internet -
Pablo Picasso -