cover image Picasso: Creator and Destroyer

Picasso: Creator and Destroyer

Arianna Huffington. Simon & Schuster, $22.45 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-671-45446-3

When Picasso's eight-year-old sister died of diphtheria, he decided God was evil but took her death as an omen that he should become a painter. Later, the youthful artist, rebelling against his father, left home for a few weeks and moved into a brothel. Impulsiveness, rebellion, guilt and sexual energy drove Picasso as he gave form to his inner demons. He wielded his art as a weapon, exacting vengeance for the wives and mistresses who died, went mad or committed suicide. Huffington, author of Maria Callas, has written an astonishing biography, a shocking portrait of a man driven by a compulsive need to destroy even as his creativity burst forth. Based on interviews and primary sources, this intriguing and exhausting book lifts the veil of secrecy surrounding Picasso's sexual and personal sadism, his compulsive fears and self-identification with Christ. First serial to the Atlantic; BOMC featured selection. (June)