Visiting the Museo Picasso in Barcelona
Updated: Feb 17
I recently had the pleasure of visiting the Picasso Museum in Barcelona. Now I'm only so-so about museums in general, it's just not the way I learn information best, but I was really blown away by my time here and wanted to share it.
The permanent collection
If you have a good sense of Picasso's early years this won't be anything new for you, but I learned a lot from this exhibit. Even though I have always been a fan of Picasso's work, primarily his surrealism done later in life, I was surprised by the scope of young Picasso's work. And I do mean young- pieces in this collection date back to 1895 when he was 14 years old and attending art school. At this time he focused on realism and his paintings are indeed incredibly realistic. This piece below, for example, named Ciencia y Caridad (Science and Charity) was completed when Picasso was just 15 years old. I'm struck by how much these early pieces convey a sense of maturity given how young he was when he painted them.
The exhibit follows the growth and changes of Picasso's style as he refines his expression and technique and is influenced by the varying styles of the times. The pieces shown and accompanying audio and text are really fantastic at giving you a front row seat to Picasso's incredible genius as it continues to unfold.
Perhaps the most profound part of the exhibit for me was a section toward the end devoted to Picasso's exploration of Diego Velasquez's painting Las Meninas in which he recreated various elements of it in differing styles. All in all in 1957 he painted 45 full canvas variations of the painting and its 7 characters. The level of intensity of this body of work is astounding. It's really something you have to see to get the full scope of.
The temporary collection
The temporary collection when I was visiting was all about Picasso's relationship with the poet Paul Eluard whom he was best friends with. Besides a number of paintings, sketchings, and writings, the exhibit features a collection of photos of Eluard and Picasso socializing and vacationing with other members of their social circle (such as Dora Maar who is the woman in the first painting on this post) and is more focused on Picasso's later years from 1935 until 1952 when Eluard died. The exhibit is also focused on their shares beliefs regarding communism and feelings about militarism and war. The exhibit is deeply humanizing and features many of Picasso's surrealist pieces including "Massacre in Korea," which is one of my personal favorites. It was breathtaking to see this piece in person.
I'd highly reccomend taking the time to see this exhibit if you are in the area. It is best to get tickets ahead of time since, though the galleries themselves are quite spacious, it can sell out. Lockers cost 1 euro and they will ask you to check your belongings. Admission is 12 euro generally or 7 euro for students, seniors, and Barcelona library card holders. They also have free admission on Thursdays. Hours as of this post are listed below!
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