Picasso Museum, Barcelona with the Eyes of a Great Artist

Who I am
Valery Aloyants

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

Author and references

I traveled around Barcelona a lot when I lived there and for me it was just curiosity that infected me and pushed me to visit the Picasso Museum, taking me on a trip to Barcelona seen through the eyes of a great artist who became the reference point of XNUMXth century art.

Barcelona, ​​the "City of Counts", as well as the capital of Catalonia, it is a city full of vitality, liveliness and colors.

Its skeleton is built on the urban layout of the Roman remains, of medieval quarters, until it becomes the cradle of Catalan modernism, which is one of the avant-garde of the twentieth century.

The square blocks, the particular and characteristic buildings, wide streets and large tree-lined avenues, are witnesses of the passage of this last artistic movement. Throughout its history, the city has hosted the International Exhibition of 1888 and 1929.

Inside you can admire the most representative buildings of the great modernist architects Antoni Gaudì and Lluìs Doménech i Motaner, proclaimed a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

Walking around Barcelona you can breathe pure art! In fact, near the port it is common to find stalls where painters and draftsmen practice and work. The street is always full of people, among which it is possible to meet newsagents, florists, bird sellers, street artists ...

The economic dynamism of this city, strong in tourism, its port and its proximity to France, has contributed to the possibility of making it part of a history made up of art, music and traditions, through the most innovative historical-artistic currents.

Among these can be traced the footsteps of Cubism left by Picasso. Cubism is the artistic movement that gave the '' La '' for the maximum expression of the artistic avant-gardes.

  • 1 - Picasso and Cubism in Barcelona
  • 2 - the Picasso Museum
    • Works and paintings
    • Prices and tickets
    • How to get there by metro, bus, car
    • Opening Hours

Picasso and Cubism in Barcelona

This artistic expression was born from the idea of ​​Picasso and Braque to bring art back to its prehistoric origins, when the most total simplification of forms. Cubist painters set out to represent reality by depicting objects, not so much as they appear, but as our mind perceives them.

The artist painted the same object as if it were seen simultaneously from various points of view; moreover these images were intersected in a work of synthesis to recompose the totality of the image.

It is a completely new perception for the viewer, accentuated by the use of a reduced color range, with sober tones. A fundamental role in the development of Cubism was played by the painting of Cezanne, with its rigorous synthesis of geometric volumes, and the study of primitive cultures and African sculpture, with particular reference to masks. Cubism had two main phases:

1 - the Analytical Cubism (1909-1912), in which the represented object was analyzed through the decomposition into single fragments of reality and the chromatic range is limited to brown-ocher, grays and earths;

2 - the Synthetic Cubism (1912-1914), in which the object is decomposed and reassembled according to the principle of simultaneous vision. The analytic work of the first period is now used as an experience to reconstruct the subject. The images are simplified and increasingly distant from what they actually appear to us, reduced to essential elements, now only hinted at.

The collage technique is experimented and objects are introduced into the painting to remind the observer that Cubism is not an abstract art. The assembly of different materials (newspaper scraps, pieces of waxed paper or wallpaper, playing cards, cork, sand) allows you to express volume.

It is Pablo Picasso who makes the first collage in the history of painting.

Barcelona had a great importance in Picasso's personal and artistic life. The artist arrived in the city in 1895, at the age of 14, carrying out his classical training at the Barcelona School of Fine Arts.

This building, located in Palace Plan, was built in the fourteenth century and over the years has experienced various historical phases. It was built on ancient medieval walls and inside it retains a Gothic structure.

Since 1775 House Llotja del Mar, which is the name of the building that housed the academy, became the seat of the Royal Academy, as well as the Academy of Fine Arts where Picasso studied.

In Barcelona, ​​the painter had the opportunity to get in touch with the Modernism at the club de The four cats. This club, founded in 1897, was an important meeting point for intellectuals and artists of the late nineteenth century.

As we have said, it is the seat of the birth of modernism, the traces of which are clearly visible in the remaining decorations (such as the door made with colored glass and forged iron).

The Els Quatre Gats club does not owe its relevance only to the great cultural hustle and bustle that brought the chatter of bohemian and modernist artists, shows and concerts. But it was also used by Picasso as place of exhibition of his first drawings!

Later, Picasso and his family went to live in Barcelona, ​​precisely in the neoclassical building Porxos d'en Cifré. The young painter was so fascinated by this city that he often liked to climb to the roof of the building and was preparing to paint urban landscapes.

Despite his subsequent move to France, Picasso never stopped returning to visit Barcelona to see his family and friends, before the Spanish Civil War and Franco's Dictatorship forever separated him from the Catalan capital.

Picasso's passage through Barcelona can also be seen in Plaza Nova, that is the Cathedral Square. We are always in the Gothic Quarter. Here you have the opportunity to find yourself in front of Picasso's only open-air work: the frieze on the wall of the College of Architects.

The painter's passage through the city of Barcelona was so important that the same has dedicated a museum to him: the Picasso Museum.

The Picasso Museum

It is one of the most famous and visited museums in the city. To understand this singular artist, one must visit the Picasso Museum. That's where it all started! It can be deduced from his own words:

"This is where it all began ... this is where I understood how far I could go"

The museum is housed in five medieval buildings contiguous to each other, in district of La Ribera, Calle Montcada 15-23, full historical center!

The permanent collection of the museum consists of 4.249 works, most of which date back to the artist's youth. The museum traces the progress of his early works, which reveal a fascinating insight into the influences of the young artist, among which we can mention Toulouse-Lautrec, together with the aforementioned CĂ©zanne.

He therefore heads towards the inexorable creative explosion of Cubism.

The exhibition continues with the addition of the most recent works among which it is possible to include one large collection of ceramics donated by the widow Jacqueline Roque, in 1982.

A remarkably spectacular part of the collection is the entire cycle of Las Meninas (1957-58) donated by the same artist in memory of his great friend and personal secretary Sabartés (he is also the creator of the same structure in 1963).

Visiting this artistic collection corresponds to venturing on the path taken by Picasso, discovering his social environment linked to the Barcelona of the past. This can be seen from the cityscape paintings, in the street scenes that later became famous. Surely the city has left an indelible mark on the artist's soul, as much as the memory of Picasso will continue to live in Barcelona through his works!

The entire collection is housed along a complex of medieval buildings: the fifteenth century Palau Aguilar, Palace of the Baron de Castellett e Mecca Palace they host the permanent exhibitions.

La permanent collection offers a representation of works from the second decade of the twentieth century, when Picasso met Olga Kokhlova and went to Rome with the Diaguilev ballet company.

Works and Paintings

A group of very important works testifies to the transition from Cubism to Classicism.

We can mention i paintings with subject Harlequin and Blanquita Suarez.

Three galleries are dedicated to Las Meninas cycle. It is a cycle of 58 paintings and studies made in 1957. Picasso created a reinterpretation of the already existing Las Meninas by Diego VelĂ squez. There is no mention of a copy, he explains it himself:

“Suppose you want to copy Las Meninas in a pure and simple way; There would come a time when, if I were to undertake this work, I would say to myself: What would come of it if I put this character here, a little more to the right or a little more to the left? And I would try to do it my way without worrying about Velázquez anymore.

This attitude would certainly lead me to modify the light or arrange it in a different way for having changed the place of a character. So little by little I would make a Las Meninas, which a painter specialized in copies would refuse: they would not be Las Meninas, as they appear to him in Velázquez's canvas, they would be my Meninas "- Pablo Picasso, 1952

Picasso uses a black and white enlargement of Velázquez's painting. While theInfanta Margarita and his companion lady are carefully defined, the other two women are totally stylized. Velázquez on the left is rendered with an original composition of geometric elements while in the lower right the court dog is no longer the Spanish mastiff, but the stylization of a dachshund (Picasso's dog).

Picasso eliminates any void left by the great palace used by Velásquez.

examining the portrait of the Infanta Margarita we can clearly see how Picasso attempted to reconstruct his psychological complexity in a truly unique way. There are many different feelings and contradictory ideas in the mind of the Spanish infanta.

Picasso contorts the princess's face, simultaneously creating a front view and a profile view, to show how difficult it was for the young princess to balance her emotions, poised between court etiquette and the desire to be able to give in to playful frivolities.

Let's now take a step back in time and go to admire two of the most representative works, his first masterpieces: The first communion e Science and charity.

Prima comunione is an oil on canvas from 1896.

It is the first work ever to be exhibited to the public by Picasso at the Municipal Exposition of Barcelona, ​​and it is his first major official, academic work, in the style of contemporary Spanish sacred painting. He painted it when he was only 15 years old!

Subject is sister Lola kneeling before the altar of a church, to receive the sacrament of first communion. Behind her, the parents look lovingly at the daughter who performs the ceremony. There is also an altar boy who, in the act of placing a vase of flowers on the altar, gives dynamism to the picture. The little girl's dress, of a strong bright white, contrasts with the dark colors of the background and makes her the exclusive protagonist of the work.

Science and Charity is another oil on canvas painted just one year later.

As the title of the painting states, Science and Charity (in an allegorical sense) are summoned to the bedside of a woman afflicted and exhausted by her illness.

The doctor and the nun are scrambling to alleviate the woman's suffering, apparently without much results. The first controls the rhythm of the heartbeats while the nun, who holds the child of the patient in her arms, offers a drink that even partially alleviates the pains and the sense of exhaustion.

The work is striking forextreme drama of the scene, rendered by the fact that any attempt to alleviate his torment through medicine and reliance on faith is null and void. The woman also looks at her little son with concern, unleashing pity in the heart of every observer.

Underlining the patema is the deterioration of the environment in which the woman lives: note the humidity that falls from the wall, on the lower part of the window, while the red stripes in the lower part of the blanket are the only chromatic hint of the desire to continue living.

But it is the frame above the bed that seems to convey the most important message; as you can see, no image appears inside it. The absence of any figure seems to appeal the sense of abandonment of the woman, abandoned by spiritual faith and life.

This work opens the artistic path for Picasso at only sixteen, who with this masterpiece, demonstrates to all Spain that he is faced with one of the greatest painters of all time.

In fact, the accuracy and the exemplary pictorial technique, added to the fact that we are in front of a large painting and the very young age of the painter, give Picasso the honor of obtaining a special mention in Madrid in the spring of 1897 and subsequently the gold medal at the Malaga exhibition.

Picasso used to repeat:

"At the age of four I painted like Raphael, then it took me a lifetime to learn how to paint like a child"

And here is where his desire to get to stands out an increasingly abstract painting, like the fantasies that pervade a child's mind.

But here we are still facing the first steps in Picasso's painting, before the emergence of cubism for which everyone knows him.

This is why other rooms worth stopping at are those dedicated to Blue period and pink period of the painter.

In this period Picasso's canvases show melancholy subjects, where the blue evokes this veil of “tristesse”, while the pink, albeit faint, often acts as a contrast and asserts to innocence.

His painting, still very classical and influenced by his trip to Paris, renders the unstable feelings that pervade the subjects, often poor, medicants, street artists, all victims of a precarious life and hardship.

Picasso was a great observer, he himself told us:

“I am, after all, a terribly curious. My curiosity is greater than that of any other man. I am curious about every aspect, moment or phenomenon of life. I am curious about every dream. My curiosity crosses every frontier of curiosity "

And it is precisely the same curiosity that pushes me to travel the world, which inspired me to visit this incredible museum and hopefully inspires you to do so too!

Prices and tickets

As always when it comes to Barcelona, ​​the smartest thing you can do is buy tickets online so you skip the line and don't waste too much time (and it costs the same, sometimes even less than buying it at the ticket office)

There are various ways you can buy Skip-the-line tickets for the Picasso Museum, let's see them together:

  1. from official site of the Picasso Museum: they are the most convenient, but the site is not very understandable since it is only available in English and Catalan and therefore if you do not know these two languages ​​well, you may not understand what you are buying.
  2. from Getyourguide contributor here, which offers the museum ticket combined with a number of other things.
  3. by purchasing the Barcelona Airticket, a discount card which includes the entrance to the Picasso Museum, the Macba and 4 other important museums in Barcelona. There card for the museums of Barcelona for excellence!
  4. the Picasso Museum it is included for free in the Barcelona Card

I prices vary depending on whether you buy the ticket only for the entrance or for an audio-guided tour or if you also want to see the temporary exhibitions.

I ticket prices for entry only are the following:

  • Adults: € 12,00
  • Reduced for pensioners and Under25: € 7,50
  • Free admission for Under 18s.
  • Free admissions for all: 12 February, 18 May, 24 September, every first Sunday of the month.

How to get there: by metro, bus or car

Where it is : C / Montcada, 15-23 08003 Barcelona.
Contacts: tel. : +34 932 563 000 / Fax: +34 933 150 102

By subway : Line I (red): Arc de Triomf station; Line III (green): Liceu station; Line IV (yellow): Jaume I station.

By bus: numbers 12, 40, 45 (stop: Via Laietana / Jaume I), 39, 51 (stop: Passeig Picasso), 14 (stop: Passeig, Marqués de l'Argentera), 59 (stop: Pla de Palau), 120 (stop: Pincesa)

By car: parking Passeig del Born, Plaça de la Catedral, Avinguada Cambò, Via Laietana.

Museum hours

Hours: Tuesday - Sunday: from 9.00 to 19.00
Closed: 1st January, 1st May, 24th June, 25th / 26th December

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