Saturday Art: Barcelona’s Picasso Museu

Interior, Picasso Museu

(Picture courtesy of Picasso Museu, where photos are not allowed as flash may damage the works.)

The treasured collection in Barcelona, where Picasso’s early career took place, include an early award winner and his many studies for the copied “Las Meninas”, from Velasquez’s portrait of royal family members of the Spanish court.

There are any number of studies as well of his lifelong friend and personal secretary, Jaume Sabartes, showing an amusement and fond whimsy that are not usually associated with the artist.

Early works show skills that led to his recognition in his youth. Some paintings from the Blue and Rose periods are included, and The Harlequin is located there but presently out on loan.

The cubism we most associate with Pablo Picasso predominates in his many versions of the Velasquez studies. In any number of versions of the child, the nurses, the pup, of Velasquez’s self portrait, and the furnishings of the room, we see nature rearranged to represent the varying moods of the humanity he paints.

The museum occupies two palaces of early Barcelona, that are treasures themselves. It’s a valuable experience, and adds to knowledge of Picasso’s developing talent that doesn’t occur anywhere else.

View into the Museu Picasso, Barcelona (source: Wikipedia)

[Ed. note: Ruth had problems with filing her original post; it’s been recovered and appears following, so that readers may read her other observations about the Museu.]

The Picasso Museu is housed in two ancient castles that are part of the city’s old quarter, and are treasures in themselves. The exhibits begin with an early work, that brought early recognition to Picasso, painted for competition – “Science and Charity”(?). The painting is deft, but hardly the quality we associate with Pablo Picasso in his years of accomplishment and uniqueness.

Later works include more than 55 renditions of Picasso’s study of Velasquez’s painting of Spain’s royal family. “Las Meninas” shows innumerable cubist renderings of the princess, her attendants, Velasquez, the royal pup and surroundings. In a variety of color and conformation, studies show the girl and her minions in their moods and quirks in any number of arrangements by the artist in his varied moods and studies of the human form.

A few works from the blue and red periods are available, including “Harlequin” although the painting itself is presently loaned out. Many studies of his personal secretary, Sabartes, show their playacting at different period studies and humanity’s moods.

Final rooms include studies of pigeons, which fascinated Picasso during his work at Cannes, along with many ceramic works, decorated with fantastic although traditional forms such as fauna and fish, bulls and birds.

The collection offers a traipse through Picasso’s life and career that shows an artist’s work at home, then on beyond, and his final return there.

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