Picasso: 23 Fun Facts

Pablo Picasso is one of the biggest names in the entire history of World Art. Painter, sculptor, ceramist, set designer, poet, playwright, with the defining feature of the Spanish artist being a constant search to overcoming and break traditions. Hailed as co-founder of Cubism, Picasso is one of the most experimental with theory and techniques so it has become possible to categorise his work into different periods (Blue Period, Rose Period, Analytical Cubism, Cubism Synthetic, amongst others). It is estimated that he produced nearly 150,000 pieces in his 91 years of life. The legacy of Picasso is impressive, having scattered collections across the globe.

picasso map-01

See Picasso’s artworks in collections from all over the World.

Why 23?

The above map shows 23 of Picasso’s works of art, created in 23 different years, and exhibited in 23 different places.
We went a little further and collected 23 curious facts that you may not know about Picasso’s life.
Why 23?
Soon you’ll find out…

1. 23 Names

Picasso was baptized as Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santisima Trinidad Martyr Patricio Clito Ruíz y Picasso (yes, you read that right!). Picasso has 23 names. A name as large as his genius.

2. Born in Malaga

Born in Malaga, Spain on October 25th, 1881.

3. Destination

His first word was ‘pencil’. It could be said that his relationship with art was almost genetic.

4. Early Training

His father was an artist, art teacher and museum curator who began teaching art to Picasso when he was 7 years old.

5. First Work of Art

The first known painting of Picasso is ‘Le Picador’ (1890) which he produced when he was only 9 years old.


6. Accepted into Fine Arts School

Picasso was accepted into the Fine Arts School when he was 13. While most other students delayed completing the entrance exams by a month, Picasso completed the process in just one week.

7. First Exhibition

Picasso’s had his first exhibition at age 13 at the back of a small umbrella shop.

8. Recognition

His first recognised painting is called ‘The First Communion’ (1986) and was conducted as academic work when he was 15. It can be seen in the Picasso Museum in Barcelona (Spain).


9. Artistic Periods

Picasso’s work is divided into five main periods: Blue Period (1901-1904), Rose Period (1905-1907), Cubism (1907-1925), Classicism (1920-1930) and Surrealism (1926 onwards).

10. School Failure

Picasso was a brilliant artist but a mediocre student with very low grades and was often punished by his teachers.

11. Produced About 150,000 Pieces

Experts believe that in all his life Picasso produced about 147,800 pieces, consisting of: 13,500 paintings, 100,000 prints and engravings, 300 sculptures and ceramics and 34,000 illustrations – an impressive 78-year career.

12. Liked Poetry

Picasso also expressed his genius through poetry and wrote hundreds of poems.

13. Thousands of stolen works

The Picasso paintings were stolen more than any other artist in the world. Today there are more than 1100 Picasso pieces that are listed as lost or stolen.

14. Most Expensive Work Ever Sold At Auction

The work of most expensive piece art in the world ever sold is by Picasso. The 1955 painting “Women of Algiers (Version ‘O’)” was sold in 2015 for 179.4 million dollars at a Christie’s Auction in New York.

15. Museum Director

Picasso was the director of the Prado Museum in Madrid (Spain) from 1936 to 1939.

16. Exhibition at the Louvre Museum

Picasso was the first artist to receive a special honour exhibition at the Grand Gallery of the Louvre Museum in Paris (France) in celebration of his 90 years.


17. Suspected Thief

In 1911 Picasso was one of the main suspects for stealing “La Joconde”, the famous Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci, from the Louvre Museum in Paris (France). Police believed that Picasso and the poet friend Guillaume Apollinaire were the thieves.

18. Nazi Prohibition

During the German occupation of Paris (France) in World War II, the Nazis banned the display of Picasso’s paintings for ” not following the guiding rules of art”.

19. Guernica

When a Nazi officer saw Guernica he asked Picasso “was you who did it?” and Picasso is said to have responded, “No, you did!”.


20. Love Life

Picasso was a man of great (and many) passions. Reportedly he had many relationships throughout his life, and married twice. He had 4 children with 3 different women.

21. Love for Animals

The painter also loved animals! Picasso had a mouse, a turtle, a monkey and several cats and dogs.

22. The Iconic Shirt

His iconic white shirt was part of the official French Navy uniform and had 21 horizontal blue lines representing each of Napoleon’s victory.


23. Grave

Pablo Picasso died on April 8th, 1973 in Mougins (France) with 91 years. He is buried in the Vauvenargues Castle (Southern France).