Museu Picasso Barcelona has the best collection of Pablo Picasso’s early art.
Museu Picasso de Barcelona
The Picasso Museum in Barcelona is a world-renowned museum dedicated to the work of the legendary Spanish artist, Pablo Picasso. The museum is located in the El Born neighborhood of Barcelona and features an extensive collection of Picasso’s works spanning his early years to his later, more experimental works.
The museum is housed in five adjoining medieval palaces that have been remodeled to accommodate the exhibition galleries, and its collection consists of over 4,000 pieces of artwork, including paintings, sculptures, prints, and ceramics. The museum also features an impressive collection of Picasso’s early drawings and sketches, which offer an insight into the artist’s creative process.
One of the highlights of the museum is the Las Meninas series, a collection of 58 paintings that Picasso created in response to Diego Velázquez’s famous painting Las Meninas. These paintings are a testament to Picasso’s unique style and his ability to reinterpret classic works of art.
In addition to its permanent collection, the museum also hosts temporary exhibitions featuring works by other artists who influenced Picasso or were influenced by him. The museum is a must-visit for art lovers and anyone interested in the life and work of Pablo Picasso.
Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) was a Spanish artist who is widely regarded as one of the most influential artists of the 20th century. He was born in Malaga, Spain, and began showing artistic talent at a young age. He went on to study art in Spain, and later in Paris, where he lived and worked for most of his life.
Picasso is known for his innovative approach to art, which included the creation of Cubism, an art movement that revolutionized the way artists approached space and form. Throughout his career, Picasso worked in a variety of mediums, including painting, sculpture, printmaking, and ceramics. He is also well-known for his experimentation with different styles and techniques, and his ability to constantly reinvent himself as an artist.
Some of Picasso’s most famous works include Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, Guernica, and The Old Guitarist. He is also known for his collaborations with other artists, including Georges Braque, and for his friendships with other cultural figures of his time, such as Gertrude Stein.
Picasso’s impact on the art world continues to be felt today, and his works remain highly sought after by collectors and art lovers around the world.
Sketch for Mountains of Málaga, 1896. Museu Picasso, Barcelona | Pablo Picasso.
Pablo Picasso’s stay in A Coruña : 1891- 1895
Pablo Picasso moved with his family to A Coruña, a coastal city in the northwest of Spain, in 1891, when he was just ten years old. During his time in A Coruña, Picasso attended the local School of Fine Arts, where his father taught drawing. It was here that Picasso received his first formal training in art, and he quickly demonstrated a talent for drawing and painting.
Picasso’s early works from his time in A Coruña reflect the influence of the naturalistic and impressionistic styles that were popular at the time, as well as the local landscape and culture of the region. He painted landscapes, still lifes, and portraits, often depicting scenes from everyday life. As the young Picasso’s technique was becoming more refined, his father encouraged him to try oil paintings, which is where he began to mature his brushstrokes.
One of the most famous works from Picasso’s time in A Coruña is “First Communion,” a portrait of his younger sister, Lola. The painting, which depicts Lola in a white dress and veil, is an intimate portrayal of a young girl on the cusp of adulthood. The painting is now part of the permanent collection of the Museu Picasso in Barcelona.
Moving to Barcelona: 1895 -1897
Pablo Picasso moved to Barcelona in 1895, at the age of 14, to enroll in the city’s prestigious School of Fine Arts. This move was a significant turning point in his career, as it marked his transition from a talented amateur to a serious artist with professional aspirations.
In Barcelona, Picasso continued to study painting and drawing, and he quickly became involved in the city’s vibrant artistic community. He began to experiment with new styles and techniques, and he was heavily influenced by the modernist movement that was sweeping through Europe at the time.
During his time in Barcelona, Picasso produced some of his most important early works, including the “Blue Period” paintings, which are characterized by their somber tones and melancholic subject matter. These paintings reflect the poverty and despair that Picasso observed in the city’s working-class neighborhoods, and they are now considered some of the most iconic works of his early career.
Barcelona also played a significant role in shaping Picasso’s political and cultural views. The city was a hotbed of political and cultural activity, and Picasso became involved in leftist political circles, which would continue to influence his work throughout his life.
Overall, Picasso’s move to Barcelona was a critical moment in his artistic and personal development. The city provided him with the education, inspiration, and community he needed to become one of the most influential artists of the 20th century.
Science and Charity, 1897
Science and Charity” is a painting by Pablo Picasso that was completed in 1897, when he was just 16 years old. It is one of the earliest known works by the artist and is notable for its realistic style and its ambitious subject matter.
The painting depicts a doctor attending to a sick child, while a nun looks on. The scene takes place in a clinic, and the walls are lined with shelves of medical supplies and equipment. The painting is rendered in a naturalistic style, with careful attention paid to the details of the figures and the setting.
“Science and Charity” is often interpreted as a commentary on the role of science and religion in caring for the sick and the poor. The painting reflects Picasso’s interest in social issues and his concern for the plight of the working class.
The painting is now part of the permanent collection of the Picasso Museum in Barcelona and is considered an important early work in the artist’s career. It demonstrates Picasso’s early mastery of traditional painting techniques and foreshadows the innovative and groundbreaking work that he would produce later in his career.
In 1897, at the age of 16, Pablo Picasso moved to Madrid to attend the Royal Academy of San Fernando. His time in Madrid was a brief but influential period in his artistic development, during which he was exposed to a wide range of artistic styles and movements.
While in Madrid, Picasso immersed himself in the city’s artistic and intellectual circles, and he was heavily influenced by the works of Francisco Goya and Diego Velázquez, two of the greatest Spanish painters of all time. He also became interested in the emerging modernist movement and was exposed to the works of artists such as Henri Toulouse-Lautrec and Edgar Degas.
Picasso’s paintings from this period reflect his growing interest in symbolism and his experimentation with new techniques and styles. Some of the most notable works from this period include “The Wait” and “Science and Charity,” both of which demonstrate Picasso’s talent for realistic depictions of human figures and his interest in social issues.
In addition to his artistic pursuits, Picasso also became involved in political activism while in Madrid. He joined a group of anarchist artists and intellectuals and became interested in radical political and social ideas, which would continue to influence his work throughout his life.
Picasso’s time in Madrid was a critical period in his artistic and personal development. The city provided him with a diverse range of artistic and intellectual influences, and he was able to experiment with new techniques and ideas that would shape his unique style and approach to painting.
Interior; Horta de Sant Joan 1898-1899; Museu Picasso, Barcelona | Pablo Picasso.
Horta de Sant Joan 1898-1899
“Everything I know I learn in Pallarès village” – Pablo Picasso
Horta de Sant Joan is a small town located in the province of Tarragona, Catalonia, Spain. It was during the summer of 1898 that Pablo Picasso, then 16 years old, visited the town for the first time with his friend Manuel Pallarès, who was from Horta de Sant Joan.
Picasso was immediately captivated by the rugged landscape and the people of the town. He was particularly drawn to the simple, rustic way of life of the locals, which stood in stark contrast to the sophistication and opulence of the city life he had experienced in Barcelona and Madrid.
In 1899, Picasso returned to Horta de Sant Joan, this time on his own, to continue his artistic exploration of the town and its people. He rented a small studio and immersed himself in the local culture, studying and painting the landscapes and the people of the town.
Picasso’s time in Horta de Sant Joan was a significant period in his artistic development. It was during this time that he began to develop his unique style, experimenting with new techniques and forms of expression. He was particularly inspired by the natural beauty of the landscape, which he captured in his paintings with bold, vibrant colors and bold brushstrokes.
Some of the most notable works from Picasso’s time in Horta de Sant Joan include “The Old Mill” and “The Three Women,” both of which reflect his fascination with the people and the landscape of the town.
Picasso’s time in Horta de Sant Joan had a profound influence on his work throughout his life. The town’s rugged landscape and rustic way of life provided him with a rich source of inspiration, and his experiences there helped to shape his unique style and approach to painting.
Left: Closed balcony; Right: Sketch for the menu for Quatre Gats. Museu Picasso, Barcelona | Pablo Picasso.
Catalan Avant-garde in Barcelona: 1899 – 1900
After returning to Barcelona from Horta de Sant Joan in January 1899, Pablo Picasso became a member of the Catalan avant-garde. He was a key figure in the Catalan avant-garde, and his time in Barcelona was a critical period in his artistic development. He was deeply influenced by the work of other Catalan artists, such as Ramon Casas and Santiago Rusiñol, as well as by the city’s vibrant cultural scene.
During this time, Picasso began to experiment with new forms of expression, exploring themes and techniques that would become central to his later work. He was particularly interested in the human form, and his paintings from this period often featured distorted or fragmented figures that reflected his fascination with the inner workings of the human psyche.
Picasso’s work during the Catalan avant-garde was also marked by his engagement with social and political issues. He was a vocal advocate for Catalan independence and was involved in several anarchist and socialist organizations.
Avant-garde in Barcelona
The Catalan avant-garde was a movement of artists, writers, and intellectuals that emerged in Barcelona in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The movement was characterized by its rejection of traditional artistic and literary conventions, its embrace of modernism and experimentation, and its focus on Catalonia’s distinctive cultural identity.
The Avant-garde (n) -the painters, writers, musicians, and other artists whose ideas, styles, and methods are very original or modern compared to the period in which they live, or the work of these artists – According to Cambridge Dictionary
The Catalan avant-garde’s meeting point was at Els 4 Gats, a famous cafe in the heart of Barcelona. The owner of Els 4 Gats was Pere Romeu, who worked as a waiter in a famous french cabaret, the Le Chat Noir, and later decided to open a similar business offering tavern food and live music, which was quickly adopted as a meeting point for artists.
The influence of Catalan modernism is evident in Picasso’s later work, and the artist had his first individual exhibition at Els 4 Gats in February 1900.
Picasso in Paris: 1900 – 1907
Pablo Picasso’s move to Paris in 1900 when he was 19, accompanied by his friend Carles Casagemas, a Catalan painter and poet. Picasso’s time in Paris marked a turning point in his career and his artistic development. The discovery of the Impressionists, Neo-impressionist, nabis and Pointillists profoundly impacted him. During his time in the city, he became an integral part of the avant-garde artistic and intellectual circles, and his work underwent a radical transformation.
In the early years of his time in Paris, Picasso was heavily influenced by the work of Henri Matisse and the Fauvist movement. He experimented with bright colors and bold brushstrokes, producing works such as “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon,” which would go on to become one of the most iconic paintings of the 20th century. The painting is currently part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York City.
As he continued to develop his artistic style, Picasso moved away from the Fauvist movement and began to explore new techniques and forms of expression. He became interested in the work of Cézanne and began to experiment with geometric forms and the use of multiple perspectives.
Picasso’s time in Paris was also marked by his involvement in various artistic and intellectual circles. He became close friends with poets such as Guillaume Apollinaire and Max Jacob, and he was heavily involved in the Cubist movement, which he co-founded with Georges Braque.
Paris provided Picasso with a rich source of inspiration and a vibrant artistic and intellectual community that encouraged him to experiment with new forms of expression and to push the boundaries of traditional artistic conventions.
Blue Period: 1901 -1905
The Death of Carles Casagemas in 1901 was a dramatic event for the young Picasso, which led to his Blue period. The color blue would monopolies his compositions. Pablo Picasso’s Blue Period was a period of his artistic career when he predominantly used shades of blue and green in his paintings.
Although Picasso spent some time in Barcelona during this period, the majority of his Blue Period work was produced during his stays in Paris, where he was exposed to the works of other artists and developed his own style. However, some of the paintings from this period were also exhibited in Barcelona, where they received mixed reviews from critics.
The Blue Period was a significant turning point in Picasso’s artistic career and marked a departure from his earlier, more cheerful works. The period is often seen as a reflection of Picasso’s own personal struggles and the wider social and political issues of the time, and it had a profound influence on the development of modern art.
Las Meninas: August – December 1957
“Las Meninas” is the final part of the exhibition and the area I have enjoyed the most.
“Las Meninas” is a famous painting by Diego Velázquez, a Spanish artist who lived during the 17th century. The painting depicts the Spanish princess Margarita Teresa, along with her entourage, and is widely regarded as a masterpiece of Spanish Baroque art.
In 1957, Pablo Picasso created a series of 58 paintings that were inspired by Velázquez’s “Las Meninas.” Picasso’s paintings, which are collectively known as the “Las Meninas” series, reimagined Velázquez’s work through the lens of Cubism, an art movement that Picasso helped to pioneer.
The “Las Meninas” series is now regarded as a significant example of Picasso’s later work, and it is widely admired for its inventive and playful approach to one of the most iconic works of art in the history of Spanish art.
Picasso’s “Las Meninas” series features a number of fragmented and distorted images that are based on Velázquez’s original painting. In some of the paintings, the figures are distorted and deconstructed into geometric shapes, while in others, they are reduced to simple outlines and silhouettes.
Despite its abstraction, Picasso’s “Las Meninas” series retains some of the key elements of Velázquez’s original painting, such as the positioning of the figures and the use of light and shadow.
Las Meninas: Pigeons
Picasso took a break from analyzing and interpreting las Meninas and focused on the balcony in his studio and the distant view of the bay of Cannes.
The ceramics room of Museu Picasso de Barcelona
“Picasso ceramics. Jacqueline’s gift to Barcelona.”
The Ceramic Room of the Museu Picasso Barcelona is a gallery space that is dedicated to the ceramic works of Pablo Picasso. The gallery features a wide range of ceramic pieces that were created by Picasso during his later years, when he began to experiment with the medium.
The Ceramic Room showcases over 3,500 pieces of ceramics by Picasso, including plates, vases, bowls, tiles, and other objects. The works are arranged thematically, with different sections focusing on different aspects of Picasso’s ceramic work, such as his use of color, form, and texture.
Picasso’s ceramic work is notable for its innovative use of form and color, and the pieces on display in the Ceramic Room showcase the artist’s mastery of the medium. Many of the pieces feature abstract forms and bold, vibrant colors, and they reflect Picasso’s interest in exploring the expressive potential of different materials and techniques.
The Ceramic Room is one of the most popular galleries at the Museu Picasso Barcelona, and it showcases the most significant collections of Picasso’s ceramic work in the world.
The Founder of the Museu Picasso Barcelona – Jaume Sabartés
Jaume Sabartés was a Spanish writer, art critic, and painter who is best known as the founder of the Museu Picasso de Barcelona. Sabartés was born in Barcelona in 1881 and became friends with Pablo Picasso when they were both young men living in the city.
Sabartés played an important role in promoting Picasso’s work, both in Spain and internationally, and he was a key figure in the development of the artist’s early career. He wrote several books about Picasso, including the influential “Picasso: An Intimate Portrait,” which was published in 1948 and is still regarded as one of the definitive works on the artist’s life and work.
In the early 1950s, Sabartés began working on the establishment of a museum dedicated to Picasso in Barcelona. He secured funding and support for the project, and he personally donated a significant collection of Picasso’s work to the museum’s permanent collection.
The Museu Picasso de Barcelona opened its doors in 1963, and it has since become one of the most important cultural institutions in the city. Sabartés served as the museum’s director for several years, and his vision and dedication were instrumental in the museum’s success and growth.
Sabartés died in 1968, but his legacy lives on through the Museu Picasso de Barcelona and his contributions to the study and promotion of Picasso’s work. His close friendship with Picasso and his deep knowledge of the artist’s life and work have also made him an important figure in the history of 20th century art.
The Museu Picasso de Barcelona is a museum dedicated to the work of Pablo Picasso, located in the El Born neighborhood of Barcelona, Spain. Pablo Picasso is undoubtedly the most important artistic figure of the 20th Century; I always have known Picasso by his most distinct style and Cubism creations before moving to Spain. But I left the museum much more educated on Picasso’s work and life.
Here are some general visitor information about the Museu Picasso de Barcelona:
- The museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday, from 9am to 7pm.
- The museum is closed on Mondays, except for certain holidays.
- The general admission fee for the museum is €12, with reduced fees for students, seniors, and groups.
- Admission is free for children under the age of 16.
The museum offers guided tours in various languages, including English, Spanish, Catalan, and French. The tours provide an in-depth look at the museum’s collections and exhibitions, and they are led by knowledgeable guides who can provide additional insights into Picasso’s life and work.
In addition to its permanent collections, the Museu Picasso de Barcelona also hosts special exhibitions throughout the year. These exhibitions feature works by Picasso and other artists, and they provide visitors with a unique opportunity to explore different aspects of modern and contemporary art.
The museum is fully accessible to visitors with disabilities, with wheelchair access to all areas of the museum. The museum also offers audio guides and other resources to help visitors with hearing and vision impairments.
The museum has a café and a bookstore on site, as well as free Wi-Fi throughout the building. The museum also has a cloakroom where visitors can store their coats and bags, and lockers are available for larger items.
Overall, the Museu Picasso de Barcelona is a must-visit destination for art lovers and fans of Pablo Picasso’s work. With its extensive collections, knowledgeable staff, and beautiful setting in the heart of Barcelona, the museum offers a unique and enriching cultural experience for visitors of all ages and backgrounds.
Images: All painting images are to the courtesy of Museu Picasso de Barcelona
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