Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Picasso: Soul on Fire

Picasso: Soul on Fire

Rick Jacobson
Illustrator:  Laura Fernandez 
For ages 10 and up
Tundra, 2004   ISBN: 978-0887765995

When Pablo Picasso was still a very young boy it soon became clear that he was an exceptional painter, a prodigy in fact who could out-paint his painter father. In the late 1800’s and early 1900’s it was still very much the mode to paint things as one saw them. Art was a way in which one could keep a record of a person, a place, a scene. Picasso however wanted his work to be far more personal. It had to be reflection of himself and that is just what it became. Thus it was that he had a "Blue Period" when his art reflected the sadness that he felt in his heart, whereas the art he created during his "Rose Period" reveals that this was a time when he was happier and more hopeful.

Picasso was constantly growing and evolving in his work. Seeing paintings created by others affected how he executed his own creations, and art from other cultures also influenced his painting style. An African statue set Picasso on the road to what was to be later called "Cubism." Picasso painted objects from all sides, all views, on one canvas.

Needless to say the public and the critics were not enthusiastic about Picasso’s work. They were often cruel in their criticism and yet Picasso never let their views deter him. He pursued his work, seeking new forms in paint, collage and sculpture, using his own feelings, his opinions, and his life as his inspiration.

Beautifully written and illustrated, this tribute to the revolutionary painter shows the reader how passionate Picasso was about his work and how much of himself he put into his creations. The author helps the reader understand Picasso’s art and the forces that drove him to create pieces that can be hard to understand and even disturbing to view.