While art is usually a matter of opinion, Pablo Picasso was without a doubt one of the greatest painters of the 20th century. The born Spaniard was also pretty hooked on absynthe, a drink that also inspired painters like Vincent van Gogh, Edgar Degas, Paul Gaugain and Édouard Manet. To describe his relationship to ‘the green fairy’ we will use the answer that Wiki.answers.com gave to the question ‘Was Picasso retarded’. The reply: “Picasso was not retarded. Picasso was drunk and high on absynthe, which gave him great inspiration for his work. Though, his absynthe addiction also drove him to insanity.” Need we say more? Oh right, Picasso’s famous last words were: “Drink to me, drink to my health. You know I can’t drink anymore.” Dedicated to drinking till his last breath, our guy!
The painter Picasso (1881-1973) didn’t stick to a single style. He had a blue, a rose and an African-influenced period and also experimented with cubism, classicism and surrealism. But the constant factor in all this was always the absynthe. Most of his life the painter lived in France, where absynthe had been a popular drink since French military troops drunk this in the 1840’s to prevent malaria. First ‘the green fairy’ was only for the rich, but when mass production kicked in, absynthe got affordable for the lower classes and poor artists embrased the drink. Although absynthe became prohibited in many countries in the early 20th century, Spain – Picasso’s motherland – was never one of them. Constantly moving between Paris and Barcelona the painter sure got his share of the green stuff.
His love for the booze also showed in paintings like The Absynthe Drinker (in 2010 sold for 51,2 million dollars) and Drunk woman is tired. You can check the pictures below, but this is the kind of art we can appreciate big time.
In many cases Picasso is labeled as an alcoholic. However we strongly dissagree with this ‘version of the truth’. Of course he was crazy about drinking, but that never stopped him from performing as an artist. And he also had a good eye for the ladies. In 1918 he married the Russian ballerina Olga Khokhlova, but nine years later he already changed his interest to a younger lover. Way younger we may add, cause Marie-Thérèse Walter at that time was only 17 years old. So sure we can judge him in many ways, but we can’t say that alcohol took all of his attention. Besides the man had reached the respectable age of 91 years when he died.
Picasso did end his life in style. Before blowing out his last breath he said “Drink to me, drink to my health. You know I can’t drink anymore.” These words became legendary and in 1973 – the year of his death – they were used in a song by no other than Paul McCartney. This was after actor Dustin Hoffman called his bluf that the ex-Beatle could write a song about everything. Anyway, who are we not to follow the last request of a great artist like Picasso. We will drink to you sir, to your health. We know you can’t drink anymore. Cheers!