Why Even Picasso Didn’t Rely on Talent Alone

Pablo Picasso is considered one of the greatest painters of the 20th century. On a recent trip to Spain we toured the Picasso Museum in Barcelona and discovered how he became the artist he was. Seeing paintings by a 13-year-old Picasso, it was obvious he was extremely talented. Yet the more we read about him the more we learned he was also extremely driven, extremely committed.
“Inspiration exists. But it has to find us working.”
For all his talent, Picasso painted tirelessly, constantly experimenting, testing various techniques and styles, to find just the right expression of what he wanted to create. He knew that great art, like any great accomplishment, does not result from inspiration alone.
“Learn the rules like a pro so you can break them like an artist.”
While Picasso is most often associated with cubism – the fractured images of faces, bodies and objects – it was only after he spent many years studying well-known painters, learning theories of painting, and painting in various styles that he developed the revolutionary art form. He didn’t shortcut the foundational learning that, he later came to believe, was essential to his many artistic innovations.
“I don’t seek. I find.”
For Picasso commitment meant more than just trying, it meant succeeding. He was driven to find solutions to artistic challenges. He had to find them. And he was confident in his ability to do so.
“The next one” (responding to a question about the favorite phase of his career)
People who are committed don’t dwell on the past. They continually look forward. To the next opportunity. The next challenge. The next possibility. Picasso continued to paint, experiment and innovate throughout his entire life.
Working tirelessly. Immersing himself in the foundations of his field. Not content with just trying. Always looking forward. All these provide insight into Picasso’s commitment. Insights that could benefit all of us.
Make it happen.
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