Picasso exhibited signs of creative talent early on and his father, Jose Ruiz Blasco, a painter and teacher, began formally training him. In 1895 his family moved to Barcelona, Spain where his father took a teaching position at the School of Fine Arts and persuaded officials there to allow the young Picasso to take an entrance exam for an advanced class. He was admitted to the school at the age of thirteen and went on to attend the Royal Academy of San Fernando in Madrid at sixteen. He chose to leave academia shortly after arriving in Madrid, electing instead to spend his time studying the paintings that hung in the Museo Nacional del Prado.
In 1904 the artist moved to Paris, where he was immersed in the avant-garde art scene but lived in abject poverty for his first years there. This time (1901-1904) was memorialized in the famed Blue Period series where the somber palette and bleak scenes depicting the cities poor reflected the artists personal experiences. In 1904 Picasso met Gertrude Stein; the wealthy American art collector who became his primary benefactor. He also met the artist and model Fernande Olivier who became his muse and the subject of many paintings during what was to be remembered as his Rose Period (1904-1906). During this time Picassos' work was imbued with shades of orange, pink and rose that featured more optimistic subject matter and reflected some of the artists early successes.
In 1907 traditional African sculpture powerfully influenced the European art movement and saw the School of Paris artists drawing much inspiration from its aesthetics. Picasso and his contemporaries began blending the influences of post-Impressionist painting with the stylized figures seen in African sculpture. This new found freedom of expression and experimentation directly led the artist into the early stages of Cubism, the movement that he and Georges Braque founded together.
Picasso worked prolifically throughout his career, mixing styles and mediums, creating works that continue to inspire to this day. His work is in collections of major institutions world-wide, including the Musee Picasso Paris, which houses the largest public collection of Picassos' artworks as well as personal memorabilia and art from his personal collection.