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Picasso exhibition in Milan reveals painter's debt to classical art

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Picasso exhibition in Milan reveals painter's debt to classical art

Picasso exhibition in Milan reveals painter's debt to classical art
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A new exhibition in Milan explores how legendary painter Pablo Picasso was influenced by classical art.

Ancient and modern art works on display show the influence of myth and antiquity on the Spanish artist.

"Picasso Metamorphosis" also looks at the creative role women played in his life.

Sleeping Greek statues, Minotaurs and plenty of depictions of human love shape the exhibition called "Picasso Metamorphosis" in Milan's Palazzo Reale.

The sculptures are juxtaposed with works by Picasso to show how they influence his creative process.

"After Rodin, after Ingres, there is Picasso and they are all influenced by the Antiquity, this academic education they received and here we want to show this and enter in Picasso's secret laboratory of creation. We want to show how this Antiquity lives in him and represent life or nature," explains the exhibit's curator Pascale Picard.

The exhibit is divided into six sections including one dedicated to the Minotaur.

Here, statues dating from 500-1000 A.D. are shown next to paintings of Minotaurs created in the twentieth century by Picasso.

"The idea is not to say that Picasso copied anyone, no absolutely not, there are some visual analogies with antique archaeological works. What is exceptional here is that there are as many exceptional pieces by Picasso as antique pieces that come from the Louvre, that come from Naples, those places that Picasso intensely frequented and knew and influenced his imagination and his aesthetics. This is what this exhibition is about, to show how these pieces play an important part in the career of this artist who revolutionised art in the twentieth century," says Picard.

The exhibition includes 200 pieces including works by Picasso along with works of ancient art which inspired the great master, from the Musée National Picasso in Paris and other major European museums.

Another important section is dedicated to the mythology behind 'The Kiss' and the role women played in Picasso's life.

"The Kiss for me was to introduce the importance of femininity in the works of Picasso which is absolutely central in all his work and in each period of his life, happiness, conjugal harmony, periods of fighting or difficulty there is an antiquity, a specific interpretation of antiquity," says Picard.

There is plenty of romance here placed alongside a copy of Auguste Rodin's iconic The Kiss statue.

Picasso was a great lover of women and had several wives, muses and lovers.

The female form was a recurrent theme for the artist, says Picard.

"Picasso says when a woman comes into my life she tears up everything and she tears up my paintings as well. With Picasso we see that it is always the emotion that primes and we get rid of all those pretexts that were necessary around the subject, the literary source, the form we had to give and all those pretexts we had to give in order to talk about love."

The exhibition shows how the use of ancient art is recurrent throughout the artist's career and forms of expression, whether in drawings, painting and even sculptures.

"Picasso Metamorphosis" runs from 18 October to 17 February 2019 at the Palazzo Reale in Milan.