Spain is going potty for Picasso in 2023, here are the best exhibitions

Picasso is revered as one of the 20th century’s most influential artists, with a staggering body of work.
Picasso is revered as one of the 20th century’s most influential artists, with a staggering body of work. Copyright Lenny21
By Rebecca Ann Hughes
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Picasso is revered as one of the 20th century’s most influential artists, with a staggering body of work.

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On the 50th anniversary of his death, Spain's art world is going crazy for Picasso. There are blockbuster exhibitions across the country celebrating his legacy, from his career-defining moments to his final works.

Picasso is revered as one of the 20th century’s most influential artists, with a staggering body of work. His output included paintings, drawings, engravings, sculptures and pottery.

When Picasso and fellow artist George Braque founded Cubism in 1909, rules that had dominated western art for centuries were shattered. Later, Picasso also paved the way for the Surrealist movement.

Here are the best exhibitions throughout Spain this year that will delve into different periods and aspects of his mammoth oeuvre.

Málaga: Museo Casa Natal Picasso’s “The Ages of Pablo”

June 21 to October 1, 2023

The house where Picasso was born in Málaga in 1881 has been a museum since 1998. This year, the Museo Casa Natal Picasso will honour him in a show with exhibits from paintings and drawings to ceramics and sculptures.

Quino Al
The house where Picasso was born in Málaga in 1881 has been a museum since 1998.Quino Al

The exhibition aims to plot out a chronological and stylistic overview of Picasso’s work, organised into key moments of his artistic development.

In the rest of the museum, visitors can get a glimpse into Picasso’s childhood, from his frilly baby clothes to artworks by his father Jose Ruiz Blasco.

Madrid: Museo Reina Sofía’s “Picasso 1906: The Great Transformation”

November 14, 2023, to March 14, 2024

Museo Reina Sofía in the Spanish capital is best-known for housing one of Picasso’s seminal works. The colossal Guernica painting depicts the devastating bombing of the small homonymous Basque town.

The museum’s exhibition, however, will hone in on one year of the artist’s life. Through drawings and sketchbooks, it will posit 1906 as a transformational period both for Picasso’s production and, as a consequence, the evolution of contemporary art.

The year marks the conclusion of Picasso’s Rose period, a style still indebted to 19th century movements.

In 1906, the artist left Paris for a period and made a formative visit to Gósol, a village in Catalonia. This mountain refuge proved a catalyst for profound changes in his art.

Bilbao: Guggenheim Bilbao Museum’s “Matter and Body”

September 29, 2023, to January 14, 2024

After a four month stint at the Museo Picasso in Málaga, the “Matter and Body” exhibition will travel to the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao.

The show centres on the plurality of Picasso’s treatment and interpretation of the body. It will focus on sculpture, a medium with which the artist explored and challenged conceptions of the three-dimensional representation of the human body.

Jorge Fernández Salas
After a four month stint at the Museo Picasso in Málaga, the “Matter and Body” exhibition will travel to the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao.Jorge Fernández Salas

Picasso’s sculptural work may not be as well-known as his paintings and drawings, but for the artist it was no less important.

As showcased in the exhibition, Picasso employed a range of materials including wood, iron, plaster and cement.

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Madrid: La Casa Encendida’s “The Last Picasso”

May 17 to September 17, 2023

Madrid’s La Casa Encendida will add to the capital’s celebrations of Picasso with a show zooming in on the end of the artist’s life.

Focusing on his last decade, the exhibition will display some of his final works, many of which were criticised and dismissed at the time.

Following Picasso’s death, the works have been reevaluated and acknowledged as signs of his shift into neo-expressionism.

The show probes the legacy of the artist through the eyes of contemporary painters, examining Picasso’s enduring influence on the art world.

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