Pablo Picasso's Most Famous Works

Artist Pablo Picasso left his mark on the art world, and there are a lot of paintings that helped to make him famous. Here, you will learn more about five of Pablo Picasso's most famous works.

1. Guernica. It's an anti-war mural, done in shades of black, white and blue, and it depicts the brutality and emotional toll of war. The painting is set during the Italian and German bombing of the Spanish town during that country's Civil War; most of the real-life victims were women and children as the men were on the front lines. It shows the suffering of both animals and people, and was commissioned for the 1937 World Fair to bring the war to the rest of the world. The painting had repercussions for Picasso later on; when he lived in Paris during the second World War, he faced harassment from the Nazis. It has also faced controversy in recent years, as the Bush administration covered up a tapestry version of it during Iraq war press conferences.

2. Les Demoiselles d'Avignon. This was also a very controversial piece, and it allowed Picasso to supplant Matisse as the Modern Art movement's leader. The painting shows five highly stylized figures of prostitutes in a brothel, and the painting's free rein with form and perspective showed early signs of cubism. Two of the faces carried an African influence, while the others were reminiscent of Iberian art. Picasso also was influenced by Gauguin, El Greco, and Cezanne in this piece, which was purchased by the Museum of Modern Art for the now-paltry sum of $24,000.

3. Gertrude Stein. The subject of this painting was one of Picasso's most important proponents; other writers and artists of the time supported him as well. The monumental aspect of her figure in this piece is an accurate representation of her influence on the artist. Her support helped him advance his career in its early stages, and she posed for this piece ninety times. The face is not in fact that of Gertrude Stein; rather, it is influenced by African styles.

4. The Two Saltimbanques is a representation of Picasso's Blue Period; a lot of people aren't aware of the work Picasso did before his Cubist period. In this piece, the looks on the two Harlequins' faces and the tones and colors of the painting convey a sense of melancholy. Picasso's Blue Period lasted four years, and was brought about in part by the suicide of one of his closest friends. Many of the artist's paintings from this time period featured either musicians or harlequins.

5. Weeping Woman was part of one of the most important series of the latter part of Picasso's career, and this particular piece is the most complex of the series. The painting depicts a crying woman, and it is a continuation of the emotional turmoil present in Guernica. The woman's face is very abstract, but the pain is evident. It was modeled on Picasso's then-mistress, Dora Maar, and he chose her because of her emotional state.