My old paintings do not interest me… I am much more curious about those I still haven’t painted yet.
Pablo Ruiz Picasso, reflecting on his own work at 80. But while Picasso may have had no interest in what was already done, the rest of the world does. So for class today, we wandered over to the Museu Picasso, a showcase of his life’s work as an artist with an emphasis on his time spent in Barcelona.
The museum staff had our group divided up into two smaller clusters, probably to keep congestion in the museum at a minimum. While some of the
students went on ahead, the rest spent some time getting traditional Spanish desayuno at a nearby cafe, where the drink of choice is café con leche (think of it like a really strong cappuccino), accompanied by croissants or other baked goods. After breakfast, we picked up some post cards from the nearby tiendas to send home to friends and family.
Finally, it was into the museum we went. It was an impressive collection, with some pieces there on loan and others donated by his widow, Jacqueline. The pieces spanned nearly his entire life, but there seemed to be much more attention paid to his early life. I noticed a lot of works that were done when he was only 15 — impressive!
Cameras weren’t allowed in the museum, but I was naughty and snuck a
photo, anyway. This piece was called Margot, and might look familiar.
I was surprised to learn that Picasso had a relatively successful career as an artist long before his infamous cubist works. Although there was a section devoted to some of his paintings during his cubism period, the vast majority of the collection consisted of various sketches and oil paintings, created long before he was dabbling with square heads and disjointed profiles. There was a particularly fascinating exhibit that looked at an extensive analysis Picasso did of another painting called Las Meninas. He did a number of paintings inspired by that single piece of art, and each painting focused on a different portion and altered the style slightly. It was really cool to see how the rest of the world saw the painting, and how Picasso saw the painting.
I have to say that, personally, it was more interesting to read about Picasso’s early life than to see the paintings. Each room focused on a different period in his life, and featured text on the wall explaining where he was living at that point in his life, who was influencing him, and how it all showed up in his art.
Another interesting tidbit: Picasso didn’t just paint. He dabbled in ceramics and sculpture, also featured in the museum. There was also some photography of him by others, not pictures he’d taken himself.
After all of the students had finished exploring the museum, we took some time in the gift shop, where they had a huge array of Picasso-themed merchandise from t-shirts to bags to stickers. It was an interesting but more relaxed way to spend our morning.
¡Ciao! Laura F.