Picasso: Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder

“A picture lives like a living creature, undergoing the changes imposed on us by our life from day to day. This is natural enough, as the picture lives only through the man who is looking at it.” ~ Pablo Picasso.
Image Courtesy of Art History Guide
One of my mandatory subjects at university was Art History. Although my lecturers tried very hard to instil a sense of the artistic in me, I’m afraid the finer nuances of what makes something art was completely lost on me. If it’s pretty, I like it, otherwise it’s probably art. Still, I did manage to pass the course with an appreciation for the works of the great artists of our time, which is why a visit to the Picasso Museum in Malaga in Spain was an absolute must.

Situated right in the centre of the historical old town, only a two-minute walk from Malaga’s majestic cathedral, the Palacio de Buenavista houses an interesting and varied collection of Picasso’s works. The exhibition is created from the personal collections of his daughter-in-law and his grandson. I was unaware of the fact that Picasso was not only a painter, but also a sculptor, and worked with a range of materials in all sorts of styles and techniques. The collection includes examples from his earliest studies, through his neoclassical and cubist experiments, to his last paintings in the 1970s. Of course, none of his greatest works, such as Guernica or Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, are displayed here, but the art work give a good overview of his career and how his style progressed through the years.

Entry to the museum is fairly expensive at €6 per person and if you’re not a big art enthusiast or a fan of Picasso’s work, I wouldn’t really recommend a visit – my companions were bored by the time we had made our way through the first gallery. Once past the art however, there is a very interesting video on Picasso’s life to watch in the projection room and those who have more time on their hands may also study literature on his work in the library. The museum’s bookstore has a comprehensive selection of books on Picasso’s art, as well as some general touristy trinkets to remind you of your visit.

Although I really enjoyed the museum’s collection, I realised that I didn’t particularly like Picasso’s work, based purely on the fact that I didn’t understand it. The brochure I received upon entry explained key pieces, making them a lot more interesting for someone as inexpert as myself, but in general it was a little too strange for my tastes. It’s not pretty, so it must be art.

For more posts in the Spain 2010 series, click here.

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