I have heard of Picasso before but I have never seen his works in person. I am not a big fan of his “cubism style” which renders his works in severe forms of fragmentation and distortions. But sure, I would like to meet him or at least see 10 of his works being exhibited at Museo del Prado’s Central Gallery until September 14, 2015.
This exhibit is a joint effort between Kunstmuseum Basel (Switzerland) and the Prado. Kunstmuseum acquired a number of Picasso’s works in the past, creating this collection being exhibited. The 10 Picasso paintings in the exhibit represents a small timeline of the various periods of Picasso’s life in the Kunstmuseum collection.
The collection was not complete in the sense that there was no painting there representing Picasso’s beginning works during his Blue Period when he was still a struggling artist in France. At that time he painted in shades of blues and blue-green depicting his difficulty and struggles as an artist by filling his canvasses with images and characters of poverty and mourning.
(Bread and Fruit Dish on a Table)
The Two Brothers (1906) and Man, Woman and Child (1906) are two paintings from Picasso’s Rose Period. A period characterised by paintings using shades of orange and pink. It is said that during this period, Picasso started to sell more of his works improving his financial standing and also met Fernande Olivier and became inspired by her thus his style changed to evoke happier times in his life.
Representing his African Period, is Bread, and Fruit Dish on a Table (1908-09). A time when Picasso’s style started to change again showing African influences, a result of his visits in The Louvre museum in Paris where African artifacts were being exhibited.
In 1912, Picasso painted The Aficionado; and Woman with Hat Seated in an Armchair (1911-1914). A period when Picasso’s style changed again into Cubism, a style where real objects are rendered in his works as cylindrical shapes and geometric forms using monochromatic hues of ochres, blues and greys.
(Young Ladies on the Bank of the Seine)
The next paintings that followed, The Young Ladies on the Bank of the Seine (1950), Venus and Cupid (1967) and The Couple (1967) were Picasso’s later works where his style was gearing towards Neo-Expressionism.
After his provocative Cubism Period, Picasso once again changed his style to Classical Period producing the Seated Harlequin (1923). This style is a return to the traditional form while the Woman with Hat Seated in an Armchair (1941-42) is coming from his Surrealism Period.
Of all the paintings in the exhibit, what stood out for me was the Seated Harlequin (1923). It sat there very calm and collected, as if waiting for me to say something. Among Picasso’s usual “loud’, distorted, and chaotic paintings, the Seated Harlequin drew me to its silence and beauty. It was in this silence that I knew I was in the presence of a great artist.
(Watch out for my next post Streets of Madrid: A Foodie Heaven.)