Written By: Sarah Crinnion ’24 (Session 2)
After a fun day at the beach in Málaga, we went to the Picasso museum! When we first walked into the museum we saw a small video of Picasso showing how he works very quickly, always standing up and very relaxed. I was blown away when our tour guide said that Picasso started painting when he was 5 years old and did it everyday for the rest of his life. My favorite part of the visit was getting to see works from a wide range of ages and styles and works that aren’t as well known. The museum was full of Picasso’s personal collection of works he didn’t try to sell so they weren’t even signed or titled. We started by seeing two portraits that he painted when he was 13 years old and I was amazed. They were extremely detailed and conveyed such strong expressions, which was extremely impressive for a 13 year old! It was very exciting to see these paintings because they were much different from the works I associate with Picasso. Our tour guide informed us that Picasso’s father was an artist and taught him how to paint in a very academic and traditional way so his early art was classical. Picasso later changed to more abstract art because he wanted to create something entirely new, which is also why he moved to Paris.
I was excited to see a painting which our tour guide said was the beginning of cubism. It has very geometric shapes and is almost abstract. Some thoughts about what it looked like were either something musical, maybe a piano or guitar strings or a cutting board, city, or soccer field. Picasso did not like to explain his work, instead he wanted us to reconstruct it to figure it out, which I really love. One of my favorite aspects of art is how one piece can evoke completely different feelings and thoughts for each person. I think Picasso created this opportunity very well.
The next painting we saw was of a young boy, his first son, with a toy and it was very realistic. Picasso created this piece later than the cubism piece, which showed how he went back and forth between cubism and more classical painting throughout his career, which is something I think is not well known so I was excited to learn about it. I also learned that at one point in his career he worked with Coco Chanel designing clothes for a ballet company which made him regain interest in classical painting, which I found super intriguing and exciting!
We also saw a sculpture of a bull’s head made out of the seat and handlebars of a bicycle that Picasso allegedly found on the side of the street. People were angry about this piece because they thought then “anyone could be an artist” if sculptures don’t have to be made from expensive materials like bronze. But Picasso believed that art should be for everybody, not just the super rich. He also viewed art as a way to take anything and transform it into whatever you want, which was a shift in the 20th century of who can be an artist and what can be called art. The bull is a strong symbol in all of his works because even though he left Spain at 19 and never came back, his Spanish roots stayed with him.
The last painting we saw was made when he was 91, which was absolutely amazing! I am so impressed that he kept painting at that age and created such a beautiful, meaningful piece. Some of the ideas about this painting were a matador because of the hat and he could be holding a sword, which would make sense given that at that time Picasso was very obsessed with Rembrant. The main thing that stood out to me about this painting was how much energy and color the painting had that wouldn’t be expected from a 91 year old.