Lyttle’s study is aimed at young adults and is well suited to this audience. While the book contains a bibliography, this section is not intended for scholars but for beginning students of Picasso’s work. While Lyttle’s biography offers discussions of Picasso’s accomplishments and places them in the context of artistic developments at the time, it is intended not as detailed art criticism but as a basic overview of artistic trends and techniques. While the book is truthful in its descriptions of Picasso—his personality, his relations with others, and his faults—it is not a graphically blunt exploration of the dark side of his psyche but an honest indication of the forces that drove his creativity.
Critics have given Lyttle’s book positive reviews, praising its scrutiny of “Picasso’s turbulent, brutal relationships with women”; “its integration of a great deal of information on Picasso’s life, work, and times”; its “fascinating” details and clear descriptions; and its depictions of the “full range of contradictions that expressed themselves in the powerful and complex imagery that was Picasso.” By bringing to life such an important artist in an accessible but not patronizing manner, Lyttle offers an excellent opportunity for adolescents to be introduced to serious art and to the human struggle behind and within it.