Pablo Picasso’s Ironic First Word, And 19 Other Illuminating Facts About The Artist

You don’t have to be an art aficionado to have heard of Picasso. He’s one of the undisputed greats; up there with Van Gogh, Monet, Matisse, and all of the most celebrated artists in history. At the very least, you’ll know him as “the guy who did those weird paintings.” But there are some things that might surprise, and even shock you about Picasso. So, without further ado, allow us to paint a revealing portrait of the renowned Spanish artist…

20. His birth name isn’t Pablo Picasso

While “Pablo Picasso” trips beautifully off the tongue, the great man’s real name ties it in knots! Picasso was actually baptized *takes a big, big breath* Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Martyr Patricio Clito Ruíz y Picasso. Phew!

It was down to the sound

According to the My Modern Met website, the “Picasso” part was his mother’s surname. He liked the sound of this one, as he once explained. He said, “[Picasso] was stranger, more resonant, than ‘Ruiz.’ And those are probably the reasons I adopted it. Do you know what appealed to me about that name? Well, it was undoubtedly the double ‘s,’ which is fairly unusual in Spain.”

19. His dad was also an artist

You could argue a talent for art was in Picasso’s blood, as his father was a teacher at the Barcelona School of Fine Arts. A skilled painter himself, José Ruiz y Blasco nurtured his son’s ability. He could arguably take some of the credit for making him the eminent artist he became.

Recognizing his genius

Señor Ruiz apparently struggled with his son’s genius, though, as it highlighted his lesser ability. So the story goes, Picasso’s dad one day found the youngster painting over a sketch that Ruiz had done of a pigeon. Recognizing his son’s immense talent, he abandoned his own art for many years afterwards.