Museum Masters: Picasso and the Weeping Mother

Picasso portraits were the name of the game today as we learned all about this amazing artist. We discovered all sorts of fun facts about Pablo, looked at examples of his most famous paintings and sculptures and tried to get into the mind of this prolific and charismatic man. We started off with my favorite fact about Picasso, his first word as a baby. It is documented that the first word he uttered as an infant was “piz piz”, short for “lapiz” which means “pencil” in Spanish. I adore this fact and the children loved sharing what their favorite words were with the rest of the class! Some more fun facts about Mr. Picasso?

  • Pablo Picasso’s real name was Pablo Diego Jose Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno Maria de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santisima Trinidad Martyr Patricio Clito Ruiz y Picasso. That’s 23 words!
  • Picasso painted his first piece when he was just nine years old. As the story goes, his father, an artist and art teacher, saw that his son was quickly surpassing him in natural talent. As such, he gave his paints to his son as a gift and never painted again.
  • During his lifetime, Picasso created more than 20,000 works of art!
  • As a schoolboy, Picasso brought a pigeon to class and drew it instead of doing the work his teacher assigned (the kids loved this one, except the one little girl who said she might vomit if a pigeon even came near here)
  • Picasso had his first exhibit in the back room of an umbrella store
  • Picasso loved berets, hated telephones and was 5’2” tall
  • Picasso once said, “It’s not what an artist does, it’s what an artist is”

Since talking about Modigliani being a bit of a ladies’ man, the students were intensely curious about how handsome Picasso was and if he had a lot of girlfriends. I showed my students both Amedeo and Pablo side by side and it was a bit of a tie between the two for sheer “cuteness”. Now, you be the judge:

Modigliani, or “he’s got better hair”
Picasso, or “he has a nicer face”

Today the children were given the opportunity to create their own portraits using art paper and paint. Picking their own background paper from an assortment of fun prints, the students were given free reign to create their own style of portrait. We saw everything from hair accessories and side-ponies, to crying mothers and singing ladies. I just adore these portraits!

the side-pony portrait


the mysterious red-head portrait


the crying mother portrait
the well-mascaraed portrait
the singing lady portrait
the girl who loves hair accessories portrait

the fab haircut portrait

Here are a few things you can do at home!

  • Niki Daly wrote a fabulous book called Bettina Valentino and the Picasso Club. It’s a great, funny chapter book about Bettina Valentino, an aspiring artist who struggles with her not-so-enthusiastic art teacher at school. But when a new art teacher is hired who walks around barefoot and is chock-full of amazing projects, Bettina’s eyes are opened to a whole new world of art!
  • Visit www.picassohead.com to create your own interactive Picasso portrait! This amazing web site lets you design your own Picasso-like face and then post it to the gallery!



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