Pablo Picasso and Eminem, together

Brief notice: a Facebook posting with a loony AI-generated report — alas, now lost to me — on painter Pablo Picasso and rapper Eminem placed them together back in the 1600s, presumably along with some dinosaurs from those bygone days, and so generated a certain amount of harsh criticism, but also a strange breath of reality on

— r/Showerthoughts 6 mo. ago by -bobby-jackson-: Eminem was born while Pablo Picasso was still painting…

— Odd-Knee-9985 6 mo. ago: I mean, people think Picasso was some 1600’s painter, but he was actually very modern (1881-1973).

Not only very modern in the calendrical sense (that is, not a figure from the 17th century), but in fact one of the central figures in what came to be known as modernism in art; in a sense, in one context Picasso defined “modern”.

Picasso. From Wikipedia:

Pablo Ruiz Picasso (25 October 1881 – 8 April 1973) was a Spanish painter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist and theatre designer who spent most of his adult life in France. One of the most influential artists of the 20th century, he is known for co-founding the Cubist movement, the invention of constructed sculpture, the co-invention of collage, and for the wide variety of styles that he helped develop and explore. Among his most famous works are the proto-Cubist Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907) [a seminal influence on subsequent trends in modernist painting],

(#1) Les Demoiselles

and the anti-war painting Guernica (1937), a dramatic portrayal of the bombing of Guernica by German and Italian air forces during the Spanish Civil War.

(#2) Guernica

Though Picasso did live into his 80s, his ground-breaking work was done during the first 40 years of the 20th century — before World War II, roughly a hundred years ago. He’s now revered as a historical figure from that time, not as a current artist.

Eminem. Still very much an active performer, with plenty of piss in him, but already (in his early 50s) something of a grand old man of rap.

I murder a rhyme one word at a time / You never heard of a mind as perverted as mine —  from Eminem’s “I’m Back” on The Marshall Mathers LP (2000)

From Wikipedia:

Marshall Bruce Mathers III (born October 17, 1972), known professionally as Eminem (often stylized as EMINƎM), is an American rapper, songwriter, and record producer. Though criticised for his controversial lyrics, Eminem is credited with popularizing hip hop in middle America and is widely considered as one of the greatest rappers of all time. Eminem’s global success and acclaimed works are widely regarded as having broken racial barriers for the acceptance of white rappers in popular music.

(#3) Eminem performing at the Bonnaroo festival in 2018 (photo: RMV/Rex/Shutterstock)

While much of his transgressive work during the late 1990s and early 2000s made him widely controversial, he came to be a representation of popular angst of the American underclass and has been cited as an influence for many artists of various genres.

The moment of co-presence. Thanks to Picasso’s longevity, the two men did overlap in their time on this earth  — for about 6 months, between Eminem’s birth on 10/7/72 and Picasso’s death on 4/8/73.

The two men in their primes were noted iconoclasts, but in different artistic spheres (visual art vs. verbal art / music) and with very different approaches (Picasso in ground-breaking European high art, Eminem in aggressively tasteless art celebrating the American underclass). And from generations separated by a whole century (Picasso having grown up in the last years of the 19th century, Eminem in the last years of the 20th century).

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