Picasso museums

“Picasso came to this world properly to stir up it, to turn inside out and to supply it with other eyes” – so defined a phenomenon of the great artist his contemporary, the Spanish poet Raphael Alberty.

Pablo Picasso for the long, stormy life passed way from poverty and misunderstanding to world recognition and wealth. The way of 90 years filled with searches and opening lay between two main cities – Barcelona and Paris.

He was born in the south of Spain. I achieved the world glory in Paris. But in the creative atmosphere of Barcelona of the end of the 19th eyelid the talent of the young artist was brightly shown and the understanding of own way in art came. All his life he felt the bond with Barcelona. Here he came back after heartrending experiences of the first Parisian years. Therefore it isn’t surprising, that one of the largest Picasso museums opened exactly here, along with the museums in Paris and in Antibes.

His close friend – the sculptor Jaime Sabartes founded it in 1963, in the lifetime of the artist and it is the uniqueness of this museum. The history of their long-term friendship and collaboration began in youth, in a cult place of meetings of Barcelonian bohemia – Four Cats cafe. And in more than 30 years Picasso invited Sabartes to Paris, having offered him a position of the technical secretary. At the end of life, Sabartes presented to the city his own collection of painting of Picasso for the organization of its museum. Initially Sabartes wanted to organize an exhibition in the homeland of Picasso – in Malaga, but Picasso insisted on Barcelona. The exhibition was called “Sabartes Collection”. Soon after death of Sabartes in 1968 Picasso transferred to the museum about two and a half thousand canvas, engravings, drawings and ceramics pieces. Now the exposition of the museum has more than three and a half thousand works of the most different periods of works of the artist and different genres.

The museum is in the medieval quarter Ribera, near Gothic quarter. This place used to be the center of Barcelona. There lived the most notable and rich aristocratic families. Now in their intimist luxury hotel 14-15 centuries the museums are located. Including, Museum of Textiles and Fashion (Museu Textil I L’Indumentaria), Chilean Museum of Pre-Columbian Art (Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino). But the main sight of this quarter – the Picasso museum. It was open in the Palace Berenguera D’Aguilera on the Moncada Street. As the museum collection increased, also extended its territory. Now the Picasso museum occupies 5 Gothic mansions located on 5 Ribera streets.

This museum is the most visited place in Barcelona along with Sagrada Familia of Gaudi and Camp Nou stadium. Owners of a discount card “Barcelona Card” receive a 20% discount for an entrance to the museum.

Works of the artist are arranged here chronologically, separating one creative stage from another. Therefore, having passed museum halls, it is possible to try to live the genius’s life, to see the world with his eyes.

The main part of an exposition of the museum is made by early works of the artist. These are children’s, school and student’s canvas, pencil sketches, sketches and some etudes.


Pablo Picasso was born on October 25, 1881 in the southern Spanish city Malaga of the province of Andalusia in a family of the artist and art teacher of Jose Ruiz Blasco. That the child will grow up the outstanding artist became clear in the early childhood. He was extraordinary endowed with art talent which his father developed as he could. In 8 years Pablo painted the first serious picture which all life he considered as the mascot, and therefore never left it. It is called as “Picador” and is devoted to bullfight – a favourite show of the adult of Picasso. Children’s impressions are reflected in pencil sketches of 1890-1891 years “Pigeons”, “Bullfight and pigeons”, “The woman from Malaga” which can be seen in the first hall of the museum. In these children’s works there was one more constant image of mature paintings of Picasso – a pigeon.


When the young artist was 10 years old, his father received a position of the teacher of drawing in Korunye, and the family moves to a seaport in the northwest of Spain. Here Pablo entered the school of arts and continued his studies with his father who trusts it to finish the small details in the pictures. In the museum it is possible to see student’s etudes of this period, among which “The etude to a torso”, “The right profile of the man”, a cloth “The house in the village”. So was about two years until one skillfully executed still life showed proceeded that the young pupil already surpassed the teacher. The legend of the family says that since then Jose Ruiz left painting and concentrated only on teaching. The family moved to Barcelona that Pablo could continue education in one of the best art schools of Spain – La Loncha.


Picasso came to the academy of graceful arts called La Loncha, despite early age – he was only 14 years old. Having excellent passed examination, subpreparing for it in only one week instead of the taken-away month, he convinced the commission of own skill and originality. Here Pablo masters the traditions of classical school of painting which are going back to Renaissance. The most known works of the artist of the early period are stored in this hall of the museum: “Self-portrait”, the “Mother’s portrait” created by it according to photos and memoirs after her death, some portraits of the father and “The first participle” – the picture painted by a father’s advice especially for the Exhibition of fine arts of 1896 in Barcelona and which attracted attention experts and professionals. It is difficult to believe that these perfect works are written by the 15-year-old artist. At that time he often addressed to religious and philosophical subjects, traditional evangelical plots and Christian symbolics. Works are performed in traditions of classical school of painting. In the main paintings of the young author of this period it is impossible to recognize “Knowledge and Mercy” (1897) future founder of “The girls of Avignon” and “Guernica”.

All pictures of the youthful period of Picasso are signed with a double surname of Ruiz-Picasso. Picasso – the surname of mother of the artist has the Italian roots and got to him from the great-grandfather from Genoa.

Inspired by progress of the son, Jose Ruiz makes the ambitious decision to send Pablo to study to Madrid – in Academy of graceful arts of San Fernando, the main art school of Spain. However study at 16-year Picasso in the capital wasn’t taken. Much more it was attracted by temptations of the Madrid life and masterpieces of the museum of Prado: great Spaniards of the past of Diego Velasquez, Francisco de Goya and El Greco. Their influence on creativity of Picasso will affect an extent of all his life.

Then Pablo decided to return to Barcelona. Just at this time in one of small lanes of Gothic Quarter opens the Four Cats cafe (“El Quatre Gats”) founded by the French waiter and two Spanish artists on an image of the well-known bohemian cafe “Black Cat” in Paris. However, unlike the predecessor, “Four cats” there are more than 100 years, having kept the interior and even design of the menu developed by once young Picasso. The cafe becomes at once the center of creative life of Barcelona. Here only the beginning masters meet well-known and, art exhibitions and concerts are arranged. Here Pablo meets the most close friends – Carlos Casagemas and Jaime Sabartes. And here in 1900 pass its first personal exhibitions. And soon, carried away by art of the French impressionists, together with the friend Casagemas Picasso goes to conquer Paris.


In paintings of the Parisian period of 1900-1901 the letter manner sharply changes, in them influence of Sezan and Toulouse-Lautrec – is obviously felt. In the Barcelonian museum it is possible to see one of the most interesting pictures of this time – “Nana”.

However, these pictures didn’t make special impression on experienced Parisian public. Picasso advised to look for the individual style, and at the same time and a sonorous, unusual surname for the signature of pictures. And Pablo chooses a surname of mother – Picasso who in France starts sounding at once in the French style, with an accent on a final syllable – Picasso. Considering that the artist achieved tops of skill and fame in France and the most part of life too lived here, the French pronunciation of its surname is considered admissible and even became more habitual.

Blue period (1901-1904)

The first manifestations of an individual manner too didn’t keep themselves waiting long. In 1901 suicide of the close friend of Casagemas with which Pablo shared all burdens of the first years in Paris, provoked a long depression at 20-year Picasso. Life suddenly turned to him with the most unattractive part. The feeling of tragic loneliness and a hopelessness, sense of guilt and pains, poverty, an illness and death found expression in a dark blue palette of cloths of those of years: “Lover of absinthe liqueur”, “Mother and child”, “Presser”, “Breakfast blind” and others. Images of beggars, cripples, patients and deprived are executed in cold gray-blue and blue-green shades of melancholy and grief. And even in love people were lonely and unfortunate. In a hall of “the blue period” of the Barcelonian museum of one of the brightest pictures it is possible to call “Roofs of Barcelona”.

Pink period (1904-1906)

In the following hall of the museum already prevails the other mood. The beginning of this period is connected with emergence in Picasso’s life of Fernande Olivier which became model for his many pictures and the companion of several bright years of life. The reflected light of this first big love lit up Picasso’s creativity of those years. The gloomy palette of blue flowers changes on light golden-pink shades of the pictures devoted to life of street actors – circus actors, acrobats, comedians. Their life too is full of deprivations, but they are free and filled with the art. A favourite image of the artist during this period is a Harlequin.

The special place in life Picasso’s creativity is taken by work with “The Russian ballet of Diaghilev” in 1916-1919. Picasso excitedly undertakes creation of scenery and suits to the surrealistic ballet “Parade” which provoked big scandal, and at the same time brought Picasso wide popularity in the Parisian theatrical circles. Then there were still scenery to the performances “Cocked Hat” and “Pulcinella”.

Reminder on a Diaghilev’s stage of creativity is also the pictures “Dancer” and “Harlequin” which are stored in one of museum halls in Barcelona.

Meninas (1957)

The main pearl of the museum is the Meninas hall. Here a series from 58 pictures painted from August to December, 1957 when the artist was 76 years old is presented. This series became reconsideration in the spirit of a cubism of a masterpiece of Diego Velasquez of “Meninas”, or the “Philip IV’s Family” created in three centuries prior to the pictures Picasso.

In the last 15 years of life of Picasso created some such series – variations on cloths of great artists: “Algerian women. On Delacroix”, “Meninas. On Velasquez”, “A breakfast on a grass. On Mane”. It is a peculiar dialogue of the art worlds, classical art and art of the 20th century.

Except picturesque paintings, in the museum are collected rich collections of ceramics, the sculpture, engravings and lithographs executed with use of the most various materials and the technician.

Picasso possessed not only unique talent, but also exclusive working capacity and huge energy. It continued to work to extreme old age and left behind impressive heritage which is estimated in tens of thousands of works in the most different genres of the fine arts. Now these works are stored in the largest museums of Spain, France, the USA, and Russia.

About Picasso tens books are written and the set of movies is shot. It excited minds of contemporaries and often became ill fate for those who loved it. But he has remained the incomprehensible genius.

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Author: Natalia Petrakova
Translation: Albina Akhmedova

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