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The Cover
September 3, 2003

Les Demoiselles d'Avignon

Author Affiliations

The Cover Section Editor: M. Therese Southgate, MD, Senior Contributing Editor.

JAMA. 2003;290(9):1131. doi:10.1001/jama.290.9.1131

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the death of Pablo Picasso (1881-1973). Born on October 25, 1881, in Málaga, Spain, where his father was a painting teacher, he died in Mougins, France, on April 8, 1973. Easily the most enigmatic (and most talked about) painter of the 20th century, Picasso is also one of the most puzzling of all time. He is described universally as a prodigy, but there the agreement ends. When critics and historians (and the public) tried to be more specific, they ended in opposing camps: he was, for example, the most creative and innovative painter since Giotto; or he was the most violent, as destructive to art as the Goths had been to Rome. But he was also eclectic, multifaceted, versatile, facile, changeable as a chameleon. There was seemingly little he could not do and nothing he did not attempt: painting and drawing (his father had been his first teacher), sculpture, wood carving, collage, printmaking, book illustration, theatrical set decoration, ceramics, even writing. Over his lifetime, he had two wives and several mistresses and is generally described as a misogynist who feared women but who also could not live without them.

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