Picasso or bust! A flying trip to Barcelona and the Picasso museum

Last week I was lucky enough to spend a few days soaking up the delights of Barcelona. Having visited almost 20 years ago, I was surprised how much it had changed.

I was keen to visit at least one museum and gave the Picasso Museum ago. I have seen many of Picasso’s works in various well known museum’s over the years but was keen to see a more detailed look at his less well known work.

I enjoyed the main exhibition hugely as it contained a good selection of work from each phase of his life. There were examples of his very early work at art school, which are fairly traditional in style but of quite a high standard from an early age. I really liked the work he is did in his ‘blue period’ and ‘rose period’ as it is a great way to look at tonal work through the use of a simple colour palette. But I think I was really struck firstly by how much he played around and tried new ideas, being influenced by art movements around him at different times of his life e.g. cubism etc, and secondly because he was a life long artist, raised as one by his Art Tutor father, who had his whole life time to develop his style, whatever that was for set periods of his life and end up in a unique place – ‘his place’ of art in the world.

It just goes to show what you can achieve if you spend a life time doing something, with all the resources and support given to you at an early start in your life. It is my belief Picasso was always going to be a well known artist because of this.

Here are examples of art from the temporary exhibition called ‘Picasso Portraits’ that I also attended. This was a much more detailed view of one area of his work. It focused on the people around him throughout his life and how he felt compelled to present them in art. I found this hugely insightful – it was almost like a breadcrumb trail from each sketch through to completed work, understanding his thought processes and watching him change and develop as an artist. I loved it the most out of both exhibitions – it showed much more consistency of ideas, experimentation and just how he was affected by the life around him.

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I loved all his sketches. He wanted to fill the page and used whatever he could get his hands on. He even used the back of cigarette cards to produce quick sketches of the people around him.

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This large portrait just grabbed me as soon as I saw it. I loved the colours (not really shown here). This was painted during his ‘rose period’ and the rose background colour is very complimentary to the image. I really like how rough he has kept the background, her shawl and body in contrast to her beautiful and delicate face, which is really carefully done. Her stare is very beguiling.

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Another large stunning painting of his first wife Olga. At this time, I believe his relationship with his wife was starting to break down which can be seen by the look on her face and body position. This painting was sent to America for an international art competition and won. The rich warm russet colour of her clothes in contrast to the stony grey background works brilliantly together and it is a portrait that can’t be ignored.

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In contrast, this painting of Olga, made just after their separation shows Picasso’s feelings about her. He depicts her sad face and makes a mockery of her small fancy hats that she liked to wear. The hollow eyes are less than complimentary. This shows the start of his experimenting with shapes and distortion.


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A few years later Picasso produced this monochromatic graphite drawing of his friend and acrobat Nusch Eluard. She was very thin and angular in real life and her shape has been represented in this drawing by way of her clothes, arms and chair in which she is seated. Distortion and dis-figuration was also shown in her face and hands, which are represented as tigers claws.

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