‘The world today doesn’t make sense, so why should I paint pictures that do?’
It didn’t take long for our illogical Corona quasi-lockdown in Malaga to become frustrating (see Not Welcome in Malaga), so I thought I’d sneak off and check out the Museo Picasso.
Picasso was born in Malaga, and the Museum devoted to his life and work is in the Old City precinct. This area is a peaceful place to wander (in an off-season pandemic), away from the bustle and noise of the modern town.
Arriving at the museum, I went through my typical, mildly embarrassing cross-cultural interaction with the staff. This involves me attempting to say something in Spanish, quickly followed by admitting I can’t speak the language, then the staff assuring me it’s ok and us all resorting to English. I picked up my handset and headed into the first gallery.
Disclaimer: I am not an art critic, art historian, or particularly knowledgeable art fan. So if you want a scholarly work on Picasso you’re wasting your time here. However, if you like art and want to have a look through the gallery with me then hurry up because it’s probably siesta time soon and they’ll close up for about 5 hours’ break.
Picasso was the son of an artist, and spent his early years learning the traditional techniques and styles of painting. When most 13 year old kids were out on their skateboards, a precocious young Pablo was creating some amazing art, like this portrait of his sister.
However it was not Pablo’s naturalistic paintings that would see him become modern legend, and in his 20’s he began to revolutionize his style. Cubism was a step towards the radical style for which would earn him international renown.
The Museo Picasso collection was presented chronologically, including works from each of Picasso’s major artistic periods. During his ‘Neoclassicism and Surrealism’ period (1918-1945), he developed the style that became synonymous with his name.
Picasso was living in Paris during the Spanish Civil War, and continued to reside there during the Nazi occupation.
‘I have not painted the war because I am not the kind of painter who goes out like a photographer for something to depict. But I have no doubt that the war is in these paintings I have done.’
Picasso was a bit of a ladies’ man; he was married twice, had six mistresses, and bedded heaps of other women. His lovers were often the subject of art, such as this portrait of his future wife Jacqueline Hutin.
Once again the pandemic ensured I pretty much had a major tourist attraction to myself. There were more staff in the museum than visitors, and they were dynamite on enforcing the Corona regulations. Feeling like a naughty schoolboy, I was told off more than once for letting my mask slip down under my nose. Needless to say I couldn’t muster the Spanish for ‘This bloody mask keeps fogging up my glasses’.
I spent a very enjoyable couple of hours at the Museo Picasso, and certainly gained a much better understanding of the man and his work. Regardless of whether Picasso’s art is your cup of tea, the museum is a fascinating insight into this cultural icon, and the turbulent times he witnessed over his 91 years.
Visit the Museo Picasso Malaga website here
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