Pablo Picasso – does his art trump his morals?

Does the progress of civilization depend on erasing history?  The wokerati are at it again hinting that cancelling Pablo Picasso might be on their wish-list because he was a misogynist and cultural appropriator (of African tribal masks).

He married twice, had four children by three women and several mistresses. One mistress and his second wife committed suicide and his first wife plus another mistress had nervous breakdowns. He once said “For me there are only two kinds of women: goddesses and doormats.”  His son developed fatal alcoholism and his grandson committed suicide.

  A decent human being? Certainly not. But he is recognized as the 20th Century’s most influential artist who shifted the course of painting.

  He was born 25 October 1881 11.15pm Malaga, Spain and had a 4th house Scorpio Sun opposition a rigid but well-organized Saturn in Taurus in his 10th.  He had a Taurus stellium in his 10th of Saturn conjunct a creative creative Neptune and an indulgent pushily confident Jupiter Pluto conjunction opposition Mercury in Scorpio. Stubborn to the nth degree, he did not think rules applied to him, but was designed for great success.

  His Moon aspects were troublesome with his Sagittarius Moon in his performing 5th house on the focal point of a Yod to a hard-edged Mars sextile Saturn – emotionally disorganized, overly-defensive, not adaptable, self-defeating because of lack of trust. A Yod Moon often seeks public approval since a large audience of admirers is easier to handle than one-to-one intimacy. His Moon was conjunct a Sagittarius North Node which would connect him to the public/zeitgeist. His Moon was also square Uranus making his emotional responses erratic and giving him a fear of commitment as does his Sagittarius North Node.

   His Venus was also stressed, being in a square to Mars which can go alongside an insensitivity to the needs of partners; and was on one leg of a challenging Yod sextile Moon inconjunct Saturn.

  His global super-star 22nd harmonic was notable as was his leaving-a-legacy-for-history 17H and his creative 5H.

  However monstrous he was, there is no doubting his talent or the mark he left on culture.

  It may be beyond the comprehension of the sanctimonious firebrands but precisely those psychological quirks which made him toxic in relationships were precisely those which drove his creative inspiration. Artists tend to be damaged human beings who plunder the turmoil of their unconscious to produce their art. Picasso’s no doubt excruciatingly irritating narcissistic over-confidence allowed him to step outside the conventional bounds of art as it had been, and plough his own furrow to become a trailblazer. Who he was and his creativity are irrevocably interlinked and yet paradoxically his art stands separate from the flawed man who wielded the brush.

  On a personal note I was never a great fan of Picasso, but I am getting thoroughly sick of the mindless screeching that goes on as revisionism becomes the coming thing. It reminds me of a thought from psycho-analysis about the fascist state of mind (delusional narcissism) which purges out the past and, having emptied itself, looks forward to a future entirely of its own creation. A future without history is a scary thought.

  Picasso’s chart does have his the Solar Arc North Node exactly opposition his Sun this year as his reputation comes under attack.

25 thoughts on “Pablo Picasso – does his art trump his morals?

  1. Pablo Picasso is actually one of my favorite visual artists – I absolutely adore his work. I don’t care what kind of person is was in his personal life; that is irrelevant to most serious art appreciators and art lovers (like myself).

    As for the revisionists and “woke” morons, they have no actual power – they scream, shout, and cry crocodile tears over things they cannot control…but that’s really all they can do.

    I will continue to enjoy Pablo Picasso’s artworks and J.K. Rowlings’s books and I don’t care what the “woke” jerks say about it.

    Fun fact: my paternal grandfather was born in Malaga, Andalusia, Spain – the same town as Pablo Picasso.

    • Many of my favourite artists are Spanish, including Gaudi, Miro, Goya, El Greco and Velasquez. In fact Spain’s cultural richness is partly due to the country’s unique location and proximity to North Africa, hence its interface with so many other cultures as well as faiths, including Moorish and Jewish culture within Spain. It demonstrates how a mixture of cultures can over time, thrive, merge and produce truly great art.

  2. I knew about his misogyny but not about how the women he had relationships with suffered!

    Instead of ‘cancelling’ (whatever that would mean in Picasso’s case), the public should be better informed so as to have a full picture of the man. Such as what happened to those women.

    We can then choose to appreciate the art but not the man, while also understanding that they can sometimes be linked. Or choose not to like the art either.

    I recently happened onto a story (in an anthology, so no way to know beforehand) where the author’s racist predilections were reflected in his work. Given that I was recently assaulted (tho decades after that writing) because I am of the same race as those in the story, I chose not to continue reading and moved on to the next story. Googling the story online, reviewers acknowledged that particular fault of the author, at the same time as his inventiveness.

    As for artists’ temperament, I recall a recent discussion with a cousin where I said I looked for an artistic soul (she wanted a responsible one), to which she said, they don’t make good partners and I replied, maybe she’s right… But I have a very good artist friend who successfully underwent therapy after her mother’s suicide and late in life found her mate and is finally painting as she never has before. I can’t help wondering about where her moon and pluto are in her chart. Very supportive father, lots of 8th house from what I know of her life.

  3. “The notion of cultural appropriation as an offence is a very, very recent one” – yes indeed VF!
    Also, as you say, one that appears to have no knowledge of human history at all. However, I really wish ancient history was taught more thoroughly and with more imagination.
    The Ancient Egyptians were trading with India from the 3rd millenium, BC, for example. That link alone makes one wonder about the pyramids of ancient India, and many other things. The Romans reached as far as Vietnam, the Greeks also traded with China and India. All these links offered cultural exchanges on many levels, along with the silks, spices and precious stones. I also love the ancient links between traditional Irish music and classical Indian music, which uses versions of Bronze Age Celtic instruments. I have sat, deep in rural southern India, listening to music that came very close to what’s played at the Irish pub up the road from my home!
    I had hoped that boundarless Neptune in Pisces might serve to open all this history up a bit more, so that it became common knowledge. To me, there’s something so beautiful about how people have been connecting since ancient times. Perhaps Saturn (history) in Pisces (art and music) will bring some structure to this amazing subject. And show people that our world is full of shimmering cultural blends and weaves…..

    • There is evidence that the great Renaissance cathedrals in England and Europe were built on Arab architecture – based on knowledge brought back by the Crusaders when they returned from the Middle East. In fact a great deal of valuable knowledge came into Europe from the Middle East in the three centuries of Europeans fighting and living there.

    • Curious how so many similarities there are in both Bronze Age Indus Valley culture and that of the European Celtic tribes, Jane including a hierarchy of ‘caste’ or class. The Celts also has a hierarchy – a warrior class, a class of the Druids, an agricultural one, etc.

      • Marjorie and VF – thanks for these thoughts. I find the whole idea of people and cultures gaining knowledge from one another fascinating.Of course there’s a darker side, but that is sadly all too evident and part of our human story too.
        As for the mysterious Bronze Age – the Tarim Basin mummies in China are an example of just how far ancient people wandered about then. Some are tall, with red hair. Their DNA shows they came from Europe and Asia. If you subscribe to the astrological ‘ages’ of history, we’d be in the Age of Taurus then. And people could already calculate Sun and Moon cycles far into the future.

  4. Ancient Greece borrowed from the Egyptians, the Romans borrowed from the Greeks. Medieval Europe borrowed from the Middle East and Astrology itself has many cultural threads, leading back through Persia and Arabia to the Chaldeans and ancient Mesopotamia. The notion of cultural appropriation as an offence is a very, very recent one. The history of modern Popular Music is awash with influences from Africa and the Caribbean to Ireland and is enriched by layer upon layer of influences. We would have to dismantle entire cultures in order to appease this notion.

    One thing about that strikes me regarding Picasso’s astrology is the Taurus Stellium opposing his Scorpio Sun and Mercury. As a Spanish artist Picasso was fascinated by the image and symbolism of the bull, both as an embodiment of power, Masculinity and virility and as sacrificial/ritual victim as seen in the traditional bullring (a remnant of the Roman gladitorial amphitheatre). He was obsessed by the mythical Minotaur which became an emblematic symbol in the Dada and Surrealist movements who saw it as the embodiment of the taboo, of violence and lasciviousness, guilt, despair and forbidden desires. For a decade, Picasso incorporated the Minotaur into his art, a common theme shows the figure watching a sleeping mortal woman (Picasso often worked at night when his lovers were asleep). During this period in the 1930s, Uranus was in Taurus as it first opposed his Scorpio Sun, followed by its conjunction to Saturn, Neptune, Jupiter and Pluto and opposing his Scorpio Mercury.

    In 1937, Picasso painted his most famous work, ‘Guernica’ inspired by the bombing of the Spanish village by the Nazis in April of that year. Everyone is familiar with the Bull figure in the well-known monochrome painting. It was the first figure he drew onto the canvas. Picasso began the work on May 11th and took 35 days to complete it. On May 11th 1937, the Sun, Moon, Mercury and Uranus formed a line-up in Taurus and Black Moon Lilith was in Scorpio, conjunct Picasso’s natal Mercury and opposing his Taurean Pluto.

    Picasso has that Taurus/Scorpio polarity prominent in his chart. That’s not always sweetness and light since it is connected to power, resources, sex, death and obsession. I have as a running theme in my paternal line, in fact a great grandmother has this same stellium in her chart plus Chiron, all opposing her Scorpio Mercury, Mars and Venus. Obsessiveness is a family trait and has brought us both benefits and losses.

    But as Jane says, it’s a bottomless pit when it comes to creatives who were also unpleasant, narcissistic or even psychopathic. Gauguin has been mentioned, but there’s Gill, Balthus, probably most of the Surrealists (a fairly horrible bunch) as well as the questionable sexual politics of the Pre-Raphaelites. Not to mention our poets, film directors, writers, composers and musicians.

  5. You’ve, most surely, summed it up with “Mindless Revisionism!” And ‘WOKE’ it isn’t! Where did it come from. It does no service to getting to grips with understanding the paradox of personal paradigms.

  6. I love Picasso as an artist one of my ultimate faves, along with Mondrien and Mackintosh.

    Very few are perfect in the eyes of other people but I agree with you, Ms Orr, about people cancelling history – in my opinion it’s frightening and pointless.

  7. Thanks, Marjorie. Recently, there was a Gauguin exhibit near me. I love art but did not attend because of his history of living with and impregnating a minor in Tahiti (his wife in France was not a minor). So, I’m not able to separate the art from the artist, right now. And I’m only now learning of some great female artists, such as Berthe Morisot. I hope Pluto in Aq allows for recognition of more female artists. It’s upsetting that I hadn’t heard of so many female artists when I was younger. Interestingly, female artists don’t seem to have exhibited such harmful, destructive behaviors within their personal lives —as far as I’m aware.

  8. “ Artists tend to be damaged human beings who plunder the turmoil of their unconscious to produce their art.”
    This is an amusing blanket statement. Speaking as a working artist and art teacher myself, I can speak to both the occasionally true, but largely false nature of this broad-brush notion. Artists are no more damaged or undamaged than anyone else; they are simply more equipped to express inner states than non-artists.

    • I thought about this for a while. I know two artists – one was my best friend through school who does computer-produced, sci-fi artwork. The other guy I met a few years back but not seen much of his work. Both of them have moon-pluto conjunctions. The latter had his mother die during childhood and I think there is a lot of emotional damage there which has never been addressed but neither is particularly emotional. I think their artiness is probably derived from Venus in Taurus and Pisces respectively. No particular conclusion in relation to Marjorie’s statement just interesting to ponder.

  9. They can try and cancel him but the art market will decide. Art history is strewn with characters who were far worse than Picasso – thieves, murderers, paedophiles etc.

  10. Oh great. I get to be a sort of contrarian here:
    In all human history women have been denied much because we were(are) moms & maids.
    I’m all written history what is considered important is what those who could read and write deemed important.
    I don’t think the earth was erased when humans accepted that it rotates around the sun rather than “the heavens revolving around earth.
    Our solar system did not disappear because we learned that there are other solar systems
    Our “universe” isn’t gone because there are multiverses

    Perhaps we might think of “woke-ism” as being aware that the picture is much bigger -and can include contributions from more sources than those we traditionally have acknowledged.

    Much genius has existed-among those not in power, not “privileged” by gender, race, ethnicity, or wealth (I know that word “privileged”is hard to accept-but it’s the right word.)

    It’s interesting-there’s multi-universes of artists that we don’t even know about. Re-evaluating an artist in this way might be akin to recognizing the sun doesn’t revolve around us—there are uncountable suns with their own systems operating in uncountable multiverses.

    • Please forgive the typos.

      Some other comment that this is a “bad” Aquarian outcome.
      I disagree. I am a woman. Western Civilization is misogynistic. Western Civilization has always included slavery, human hierarchies. It’s all wonderful if you are the alpha group-really…so everyone else be deemed less? I want more art and music & poetry & literature. I live in a cosmopolitan city in which over 200 languages are spoken. It is additive-not a wiping out of the old, but a recognition of those not noticed because of who gets to/got to decide what is significant.

      It’s like when average people could the read the Bible themselves rather than rely on the word B of someone else.

      To me, because of I’ve seen art that would not have been noticed s hundred years ago—this questioning of what it means to be A PERSON- not just an artist- is worthwhile.

      We are all flawed. We are all a-holes, we are all saints sometimes.

      I contain multitudes

  11. A lot of people looked forward to the age of Aquarias seeing only the good side . The flipside is scary in the extreme
    like these activist groups throwing out the things and people that don’t suit their agenda

  12. Throwing the baby out with the bathwater is a very Aquarian thing. It’s been going on for a while now but then the Uranus in Aqua generation began being born 1995-96 which means some of them are already closing in on 30! And just before them, the previous Saturn in Aqua generation (1991-94) have Uranus in authoritarian Capricorn.

    With Pluto moving on into Aquarius, I guess we can expect it to get more extreme.

      • Nationalism is very much a Capricorn / Cancer area, so I don’t think so (but if it happens it won’t surprise me!)

        Aquarius is more about *everybody* getting along because we’re all part of the human race. It groups people together by their interests or advocacies rather than because they were born in a particular place. It’s not interested in those emotional and material connections that people have.

    • Questioned yes-erased? Really?
      See my reply about how we perceive reality as our experiences broaden. Discovering that the great aren’t gods is probably good.

      These flawed artists are no more erased than is Greek mythology is. I was just reading about Pandora. Recently read about the god Pluto.
      Those stories are still here-not erased at all. Now I can read more stories from other cultures and I can see how different groups of fellow humans express their understanding of the human experience- again—it’s additive, it does not erase accomplishment, talent or genius.

  13. “On a personal note I was never a great fan of Picasso, but I am getting thoroughly sick of the mindless screeching that goes on as revisionism becomes the coming thing. It reminds me of a thought from psycho-analysis about the fascist state of mind (delusional narcissism) which purges out the past and, having emptied itself, looks forward to a future entirely of its own creation. A future without history is a scary thought”.

    I totally agree Marjorie! As human beings, individually and collectively, we need to understand and accept our past. I love to study history and yes sometimes it is painful. As as American, I feel terrible thinking about how our country have oppressed Native Americans. Although painful and shameful, I still want to understand the real history. The Indigenous Peoples of Canada also catches my attention for some reason. Anyway, I hope we can continue to be free to study all history by historical scholars in a clear light of understanding with censor. Hope this makes sense.

  14. Thank you Marjorie. A future without history is terrifying, I agree. Not that we, as human beings, seem to learn much from it! Revisionist desires to create a world of apparent spotless purity are also alarming, and infantile – too much light casts a very deep and dark shadow. There are dubious and unsavoury characters to be found in every field of endeavour, in every town and nation on earth. Some of them achieve, create, and discover amazing things. Containing this uncomfortable paradox is a challenge, but there we are.

    Regarding artists – a few came to mind. The Renaissance offers Caravaggio, violent, murderer etc. And Cellini, a Scorpio with a fire Moon, like Picasso. His Sun was conjunct Pluto, his Gemini Saturn quincunx Mercury, Venus, and Mars. Perhaps his most famous sculpture is Perseus with the Head of Medusa. He is said to have murdered two or possibly three people. Then there’s Richard Dadd, who murdered his father. His Victorian ‘fairy’ paintings are strange and compelling.
    More recently, Eric Gill (22 February 1882) was a paedophile who abused his own children. He had a hefty stellium in Taurus – Moon, Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune, Pluto and Chiron.
    I imagine if someone like the Romantic poet Lord Byron was more widely read these days, he would be coming under scrutiny too. He remains a hero in Greece, in recognition of his role in the Greek War of Independence.
    Perhaps when Neptune leaves Pisces the tide will turn. We can but hope.

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