April 8, 2023 marks the 50th anniversary of the death in 1973 of Spanish artist Pablo Picasso, one of the most important figures in Modern Art.
To celebrate his work and artistic legacy, 42 exhibitions are currently planned around the world with 16 of them taking place in Spain at venues around the country.
Discover how you can travel a journey that follows in Picasso’s footsteps around Spain, from his birth in Malaga to his success in Madrid, and even his years in Catalonia and Galicia.
It all began in Malaga
On 25 October 1881, Pablo Picasso was born in Malaga (Andalusia), where he spent his childhood.Nowadays, the city of Malaga is one of the best places to learn about the artist, because you can visit both the Museo Picasso Málaga (featuring works such as “Olga Khokhlova in Mantilla”, “Still Life with Skull and Three Sea Urchins” and “Jacqueline Sitting”) and the Picasso Birthplace Museum. Both places frequently hold temporary exhibitions and in the Birthplace Museum you can also objects that belonged to the artist and his family, and sketches for Les Demoiselles d’Avignon.To round off the Picasso route through the city you can also stop by the Church of Santiago where Picasso was christened.
A Coruña. The artist’s formative years
We are now heading to the north of Spain, to Galicia.This is an important part of the trip because this is where Picasso moved to in 1891 after his father was named professor at the school of Fine Arts. Perhaps this was the spark that lit the fuse because Picasso joined the school himself and started to paint his first portraits. In fact, the first time that the Malaga-born artist publicly exhibited his works was in A Coruña, and many of his recurring themes (doves, bulls, etc.) were already evident.There you can tour the places where the young Pablo enjoyed life in the city (Orzán beach, the Tower of Hercules, Rosalía de Castro Theatre, etc.) and visit the Picasso House Museum. Tower of Hercules, A Coruña
And suddenly, the Prado
It was in 1895 that Picasso stepped foot inside the Prado Museum in Madrid for the first time. This is one of the best museums in the world and we highly recommend visiting. His visit would mark a before and after because he was marked by the works of other great artists such as Velazquez and El Greco. At that time, it was not to be expected that he would become the museum director in 1936.But if there is one unmissable place in Madrid where you can be surprised by Picasso once more, it is the Reina Sofía National Art Museum. You will find numerous works by the artist there. Among all of these works, the most iconic piece, which leaves viewers absolutely speechless, is “Guernica”, a mural nearly 8 meters long, painted to bear witness to the horrors committed during the Spanish Civil War. It is a tragic scene that many see as a cry of hope. Did you know that he painted this masterpiece in Paris in 1937? In fact, Dora Maar photographed the evolution of the artwork until the moment it was installed in the Spanish Pavilion at the International Exhibition in Paris.
Barcelona and Horta de Sant Joan, in Catalonia
In the summer of 1895 Picasso joined the school of Fine Arts in Barcelona (La Llotja), later moving into his first studio and then holding the first personal exhibition of his works in the legendary Els Quatre Gats. Nowadays, a good way to learn about the artist is to visit the Picasso Museum in Barcelona, where you will be surprised by many of his works, including his interpretation of Las Meninas by Velazquez.About 200 km from Barcelona is Horta de Sant Joan, a small inland village where Picasso would often escape to and where he said he experienced his purest emotions. You cannot miss the Picasso Centre, which houses all of the works the artist created in Horta, immortalizing the village. Travelling through Horta you will recognize some of the monuments that appear in his paintings, such as the San Salvador convent, the plaza de Missa or the Tafetans farmhouse.
Courtesy of Spain Tourism Office
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