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15 Cool Picasso Facts You Pablo-bly Didn't Know!

Pablo Picasso is one of the most famous artists that ever lived - but how much do you really know about him?

Beano Facts Team
Last Updated:  February 17th 2024

Pablo Picasso is one of the most famous artists that ever lived - but how much do you really know about him? We've put together these 15 fascinating facts all about the lifer of this Spanish artist! Discover what made him unique, the weird crime he was accused of, and how long his name was (clue: it was really long!). Want more art facts? How about these poptastic art pop facts? Or maybe you want something that will make an impression on you - like these Vincent Van Gogh facts! Or perhaps you're in the mood for some brilliant Bansky facts?

1. He Was Born in Spain in 1881

Pablo Picasso was born in Malaga, Spain in 1881. His family name actually came from Italy, but his family had been in Spain for nearly 100 years. When he was born, the doctor thought he had died and it was only when his uncle noticed him moving that the family realised he was alive!

2. His First Word Was 'Pencil'

Apparently, the first word young Pablo ever said was 'lapis', which is Spanish for pencil! Sure enough, Picasso would go on to create thousands of sketches with a pencil! Spooky!

3. He Co-Founded Cubism

Picasso is one of the most famous artists that ever lived, and one of the movements he is most famous for is Cubism. He founded Cubism with fellow artist Georges Braque. They wanted to challenge the way art was made and create art that wasn't just a copy of what they could see. They experimented with art that took perspective and shadow out of paintings. And no, it wasn't just painting cubes - although lots of angular shapes do make their way into a lot of cubist art! In fact, that's why its called cubism!

4. He Did a LOT of Work

It's not wonder Picasso was famous - he produced so much work it must have been hard to ignore him! Over his life time, Picasso is supposed to have created 147,800 pieces! That's a LOT! this includes 100,000 prints and engravings, 300 sculptures and 13,5000 paintings! Phew!

5. He Wasn't Just a Painter

As mentioned above, Picasso didn't just paint. In fact, he dabbled in nearly every area of art, including sketches, printing, painting sculpting and ceramics. He also produced murals, huge paintings that covered walls, and illustrations. And it wasn't just art - he also wrote poetry and plays! Picasso was 91 when he died, so he had a lot of time to fit it all in!

6. He Has a Very Long Name

Pablo Picasso is a nice, short snappy name, but Picasso was actually given a very long name when he was born - Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Ruiz y Picasso! That's 25 words! He must have had to have an extra large passport! His name includes lots of saints names as well as family members, which is fairly common in Spain, although not everyone's name is quite as long as Picasso's!

7. He Lived Through A Lot of Turmoil

One of the reasons that Picasso is so popular is that his work reflected some important historical moments and events, such as his huge painting of Guernica, and captured a sense of what life was like in the 20th century. As well as two world wars, Picasso also lived through the Spanish civil war and Franco's dictatorship. He saw huge changes in art that completely transformed the way we view the world. Picasso is forever linked with the events of the 20th century and his reaction to them.

8. His Style is Instantly Recognisable

Picasso is so famous that you only need to look at one of his paintings to know its by him. Most famously, he's noticeable for painting people with eyes on the sides of their heads, playing with perspective and way we look at people. Picasso and his friends were trying to push the boundaries of what art could be. Impressionism had already played with the way paintings were created, and Picasso took this a step further and transformed his subjects into shapes, colours and lines.

9. Guernica is One of His Most Famous Works

'Guernica' is a huge painting by Picasso that is named after a Spanish town which was bombed by the Germans in 1937. The painting, which is monochrome, caused a huge stir when it was completed - it features lots of different concepts and figures, such as animals, lightbulbs and screaming figures, and lots of people didn't understand it when they first saw it. However, its come to be one of the most powerful paintings of the 20th century. The painting has had several different homes, including MoMA in New York and countries in Europe. It is now back in Spain, in the Reina Sofía art museum.

10. He Was 8 When He Completed His First Painting

Picasso was passionate about art from an early age (as his first word indicates!). He finished his first painting aged just 8 - it was called El Picador and depicts a bullfighter (Matador) in the ring as people watch on. Picasso continued to paint throughout his childhood, and completed his first 'major' painting, of his family, when he was 15.

11. He Was Suspected of Stealing the Mona Lisa

In 1911 the Mona Lisa, possibly the world's most famous painting, was stolen from the Louvre museum in Paris. Nowadays its behind bulletproof glass, but back then anyone could have just taken it off the wall. One of Picasso's friends, Honore-Joseph Géry Pieret, who was probably most interested in the reward money, said he thought Picasso (who was living in Paris at the time) Guillaume Apollinaire, and another artist might have something to do with the theft because they had previously bought stolen art from him. When it became obvious that they hadn't stolen the Mona Lisa, they were let go. In 1913, it was discovered that an Italian, Vincenzo Peruggia, had actually been the culprit.

12. His Work Gets Stolen a Lot

Picasso might not have stolen anything, but he definitely gets his own work stolen a lot! In fact, he holds the world record for most stolen artist! Over 1,000 of his artworks have been reported missing or stolen, and several are still missing today! These include Le pigeon aux petits pois which currently has not been recovered, and was stolen in 2010.

13. He Pioneered Modern Collage

Picasso was one of the first artists to use collage as a way of expressing himself. Along with Georges Braque (whom he also founded cubism with) he was a pioneer in the technique of using torn paper to form new images. His collages include paper, newspaper and fabric, and were revolutionary when he first began using them.

14. He Had Lots of Pets

Picasso loved animals, and over his lifetime had lots of different pets, including lots of different types of dogs, a cat called Minou, a pet goat and even a pet owl! (We do not recommend keeping an owl as a pet). Animals also turned up in lots of Picasso's work, including doves (as symbols of peace) bulls, horses and even penguins! Animals often had deeper symbolic meaning in Picasso's work.

15. He's Been Mentioned in Lots of Films and Books

Midnight In Paris | Gravier Productions, TV3, Mediapro | Sony | Letty Aronsen, Stephen Tenenbaum, Jaume Roures | Woody Allen

It's not surprising that someone as famous as Picasso should pop up in film and art. Picasso has been depicted in films like Midnight in Paris, The Adventures of Picasso and even cartoons like Pinky and the Brain! He's also been featured on stamps, tote bags and of course in paintings.