Picasso Museum Barcelona
The Museu Picasso in Barcelona is an art museum focused on Spanish artist Pablo Picasso, who lived and worked in the Catalan capital in his youth.
History and location
Founded in 1963 from the will of Catalan artist and writer Jaume Sabartés with support from Picasso himself, the museum is housed in an architectural complex which comprises five Catalan-Gothic palaces – Palau Aguilar, Palau Baró de Castellet, Palau Meca, Casa Mauri, and Palau Finestres – dating to the Middle Ages and located in the Gothic Quarter, the historical heart of Barcelona.
The museum is primarily focused on Picasso’s early artistic life and apprenticeship years. Born in 1881 in Malaga, Andalusia, Picasso lived (though not continuously) in Barcelona for nine years, from 1895 to 1904, after his family relocated in Catalonia from A Coruña.
It was in the capital of Catalonia that Picasso evolved from a promising, talented teenager into a groundbreaking artistic genius capable to conceive, for example, his first paintings of the Blue Period. Picasso periodically returned to Barcelona until 1937; thereafter, he never came back to Spain again, because of his fierce opposition to the nationalist regime of dictator Francisco Franco, and permanently settled in France until his death, in 1973.
Carrer Montcada, the narrow street in Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter on which the main entrance of the Picasso Museum is located; photo © Inexhibit
One of the courtyards of the architectural complex which houses the museum; photo © Inexhibit
A gallery of the Picasso Museum in Barcelona; photo courtesy of Museu Picasso.
Collection and permanent exhibition
Comprising both acquisitions and donations, some of which from Picasso himself, the permanent collection of the Picasso Museum Barcelona comprises over 4,000 works – including paintings, drawings, prints, sculptures, and ceramics – covering the entire artistic career of Picasso but, as mentioned, particularly focused on the artist’s period in Barcelona.
The collection includes several masterpieces, such as Science and Charity (painted in 1897, when Picasso was just 15 years old), Harlequin (1917), Woman with Bonnet (1901), The Wait (1901, also known as Margot), the portrait of Madame Canals (1905), The Offering (1908), The Pigeons (1957), the complete series of Las Meninas (1957, 58 pieces inspired by the painting by Diego Velázquez with the same name), and Seated Man (1969), among others.
Divided into chronological sections, the permanent exhibition of the museum features a selection of works from the collection, periodically rotated.
The museum also hosts temporary exhibitions, special events, and educational programs. The museum complex, fully accessible to physically impaired people, includes a library, a cafe located in one of the courtyards, and a shop.
Pablo Picasso, Madame Canals (also known as Portrait of Benedetta Bianco), 1905, oil and charcoal on canvas; photo courtesy of Museu Picasso
Pablo Picasso, Harlequin, 1917, oil on canvas; photo courtesy of Museu Picasso
Pablo Picasso, Las Meninas (group), from Las Meninas series, 1957, oil on canvas; photo courtesy of Museu Picasso
Cover image: the entrance courtyard of the Picasso Museum in Barcelona; photo © Inexhibit
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copyright Inexhibit 2020 - ISSN: 2283-5474