Wednesday, July 24, 2013
Just Behave, Pablo Picasso!
Just Behave Pablo Picasso! by Jonah Winter. Illus. by Kevin Hawkes. 2012.
Although this picture book about Picasso is not nearly as detailed as Electric Ben , it provides a great introduction to the artist and his work. As a young man, painting came to him naturally, and although he was poor, he was satisfied making different styles of pictures according to his feelings. After he found a style that pleased the public, he became rich and famous. There was a price for this though, because everyone wanted him to continue to create his art in the exact same way. This bored Picasso! He found inspiration in African masks and wanted to paint in a new way. He did, and everyone hated the results. They were judged terrible and ugly and his critics, art dealers, fellow artists and even his wife, wanted him to return to his former methods. But, Picasso would not. He expressed his creativity as it came to him and modern art was born.
Some elements of the plot are expressed playfully, such as when Picasso answers his detractors by growing to the height of 100 feet and shouting them down and when all of Paris at once replies that he should behave himself. The book's art matches this playfulness. Hawkes' acrylic paintings provide a bold and dynamic depiction of Picasso and his world. He shows the artist literally floating above the Parisian streets admiring the African masks. Picasso's critics have faces similar to the very works that they are protesting. Additionally, twenty one of Picasso's paintings are shown within the context of the story. A complete list of titles and details are included afterward.