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The line drawings of Pablo Picasso

Pablo Picasso was a prolific artist whose work spans a wide range of artistic movements and mediums. His drawings using a few simple lines remain some of his most popular images. We take a look at this one area of Picasso’s huge body of work.

From his earliest works studying under his father (who was also an artist, whose major focus was unusually the pigeon) Picasso showed an amazing drawing ability. Over his lifetime Picasso explored a huge variety of subjects in his drawings including still life, the human form, animals and mythology.

It was the influence of primitive art in the early 20th century with its simple styling that led Picasso to create simpler line drawings in his later years. Looking at his work The Bull you can see how he worked away at the complex image bit by bit reducing it to a single fluid line that still posses all the power of the bull itself. His single line drawings are so simple but at the same time so powerful as they create so much using a single unbroken line. 

Picasso loved animals and kept a huge variety over his life-time many of which appeared in his work, and in particular his line drawings. He formed a particular attachment to a dachshund called Lump who became famous for eating a Picasso piece (a cut out of a rabbit the artist made from a cake box). Lump was immortalised in Picassos drawing the dog as well as in a drawing Picasso did on a plate the day Lump arrived at Picasso's home.

The simplicity, energy and life captured in Picasso’s line drawings perhaps explains the continued popularity of these images. At first glance we all think we could easily replicate these images but to use so few lines to express so much is a lot harder than it looks and is testament to Picasso's artistic talent.

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