The exhibition can be visited until next February 26
The Museu Nacional de Arte de Catalunya (MNAC) leads Pablo Picasso to the Middle Ages in the Picasso-Romanesque exhibition, which illustrates the influence of Romanesque art and its affinities from 40 oils, drawings, ceramics, sculptures and reliefs. In the work of the Malaga artist.
All the works exhibited amidst the Romanesque sculptures and apses of the MNAC, which houses the most complete collection of Romanesque art, come from the Picasso Museum in Paris, as well as a selection of unpublished documents from the Picasso archives belonging to the Parisian museum and which reveal their interest in the art of this period.
The exhibition, which will be open to the public from Thursday to February 26, focuses on two dates that mark the relationship of the artist with medieval art: 1906 and 1934. As explained on wednesday by the curators of the exhibition , Emilia Philippot and Juan José Lahuerta, “in 1906, in a decisive moment of transformation of his style, Picasso settled for a few months in the Pyrenean town of Gósol, almost coinciding with the campaigns of discovery and safeguard of the Catalan Romanesque promoted by the Board of Museums of Barcelona “.
Almost thirty years later, on September 5, 1934, Picasso visited the collections of Romanesque art at the inauguration of the then Catalan Art Museum, now part of the MNAC, and on that visit, accompanied by the local press, the artist from Malaga Stated: “Romanesque art is an invaluable lesson for the moderns.” Although the next day he left for Paris and never returned to Spain, “throughout his life Picasso was treasuring the evidence of that relationship,” recalls Philippot.
The exhibition shows a documentary collection, until now unpublished, that preserves the archives of the Picasso Museum in Paris, full of Romanesque images, postcards of the museum with Romanesque motifs sent by his friends, among them Miró, correspondence and various books and magazines on the theme. The documentary set begins in 1922 with a postcard of Joan Miró and ends in 1964 with another of his friend Joan Vidal Ventosa, passing through a letter from the Picassian anthologist Christian Zervos of 1936.
The exhibition does not attempt to establish a mechanical relationship between Romanesque works and the works of Picasso, nor does it raise the search for a direct influence, since, as Lahuerta has said, “one of the main characteristics of Picasso’s work is precisely his capacity of transforming any influence into something distinct and proper. ” Picasso’s gaze on the Romanesque, Lahuerta adds, “is a look of artistic valuation and not an archaeological look.”
In a first space of the exhibition the first contacts of Picasso with the Romanesque one, centered in the works realized in 1906-1907 in Gósol, are explored in a moment in which it undergoes a return to a certain primitivism, in reaction against the called period Pink color.
Next to the virgin of Gósol, that at the beginning of the 20th century was in its original location and that Picasso himself could see in his Pyrenean stay, works like Bust of man (studio for Les Demoiselles d’Avignon), Rostro- Mask by Josep Fontdevila, Fernande with white mantilla, Study for The man of the lamb or the pottery Gazelle of oven decorated with a bust of man with striped sweater.
A second axis has to do with a tragic theme, crucifixion, very present in Romanesque art and Picasso worried at different times of his life, especially between 1930 and 1937. In the space of Santa Maria de Taüll, Romanesque frescoes Coexist with varieties of The Crucifixion, Three Bathers, Beheading Scene or Picasso’s Stiletto Woman.
A final area also refers to a recurring theme in the Romanesque collection of the museum: the skull, metaphor of death, which is one of the major transversal themes in Picasso’s work, expressed through masks and skulls, both Human beings as animals.
Here you can contemplate Woman’s Head, The Kiss, Goat’s Head, Ram Skull, Vanitas, Object with Palm Leaf or Mask.