Oddly, and in a moment of honest introspection, Picasso was, towards the end of his life, very dismissive of his own work, regarding it as a sham.

But he initially had very good intentions as he wanted his paintings to be so affordable that anyone could own one. Alas, his own success made this impossible. In the end he became one of the gods of the art world. Today, Pablo Picasso is universally regarded as one of the greatest and most influential artists of the 20th century. Among other things, he with Georges Braque, created cubism.

Born on October 25, 1881, in Malaga, Spain, Picasso was prolific for nearly 80 of his 91 years. Curiously he superstitiously believed that work would keep him alive.

And to answer the question as to why he was great, there was scarcely a 20th century movement which he didn't inspire, contribute to or help to create. In his own lifetime, no painter or sculptor was as famous as he was. Probably his most celebrated works are the proto-Cubist Les Demoiselles d'Avignon (1907) and La Guernica (1937), his portrayal of the German bombing of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War.

It all began when Picasso's artist-curator father famously handed his son a bunch of brushes and a palette after observing his brilliant technique, vowing never to paint again.

During his lifetime, Picasso went through several periods of famous painting styles. The Blue Period of Picasso, from about 1900 to 1904, reflected a cold melancholy which warmed up when he moved to Paris with the Rose Period from 1905 to 1906, featuring subjects from the circus world.

He actually regarded Paul Cezanne as his master and developed, together with George Braque and Juan Gris, the cubist style, where subjects were reduced to basic geometrical shapes. In the period following the upheaval of World War I, Picasso produced work in a somewhat neoclassical style and his work became highly political in the 1930s. In 1937 he painted La Guernica, which was a protest against the barbaric air raid against a Basque village during the Spanish Civil War.

In the 1950s, once again Picasso's style changed when he produced reinterpretations of great masters' works, from Goya to Velazquez. He worked frantically until shortly before his death in 1973. His final works were a mixture of styles, often highly sexually charged.

He had a fierce love hate relationship with women and had two wives (Olga and Jacqueline) and four children by three women. He once described his women as "machines for suffering."

He once said, "For me there are only two kinds of women, goddesses and doormats." Of the seven most important women in Picasso's life, two committed suicide and two went mad. Yet they played a crucial part in the making of the great artist he became. No they weren't really doormats, they were his muses!

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