A wealth of exhibitions to celebrate Picasso’s Mediterranean inspiration

Museums across Europe and North Africa will be showing the Spanish artist from a new angle

The Picasso Museum on Monday in Paris presented an international project celebrating the Spanish artist’s relationship with the Mediterranean. Sixty museums in Spain, France, Italy, Greece, Cyprus, Malta, Morocco and Turkey will take part in Picasso-Méditerranée, which begins in April and will run through to the end of 2019. The project aims to present Picasso’s work from a new angle and to strengthen bonds between Mediterranean art museums.

The 'Plein Soleil' exhibition in Paris.
The 'Plein Soleil' exhibition in Paris.BERTRAND GUAY (AFP)
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“It’s a collective project to celebrate Picasso in a new, kaleidoscopic way, advocating for dialogue between the Mediterranean’s shores – not hierarchically, but instead in a way that represents the identity of every museum,” explained Laurent Le Bon, the Picasso Museum’s director and the driving force behind the project.

“It’s often the case with Picasso that we think we know everything about him, but there is still a lot left to say,” Le Bon continued. “Just like the Roman God Janus, Picasso always ends up showing that he has two sides – light and shadow.”

Malaga’s Picasso Museum will explore his connections to Andalusia

The unprecedented project kicks off on April 9 in Naples with a showcase commemorating Picasso’s first trip to Italy, when he met his first wife, Olga Khokhlova, a Russian ballerina. The exhibition will be held at the Capodimonte Museum and will center on the famous backdrop that Picasso created in 1917 for the controversial ballet Parade, conceived by Erik Satie and Jean Cocteau for Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes company.

On April 19 another exhibition will open at the Mohammed VI Museum in Rabat, Morocco, exploring the relationship between the painter and his models.

In May, the Picasso Museum in Buitrago del Lozoya, a small town some 60 km north of Madrid, which houses a collection created by Picasso’s friend and barber, Eugenio Arias, will explore Picasso’s presence in the world of photography.

In June, the project will arrive at the Toy Museum of Catalonia in Figueres, Girona, exploring Picasso’s relationship with childhood.

Picasso always ends up showing that he has two sides – light and shadow Laurent Le Bon, director of the Picasso Museum in Paris

In total, a dozen Spanish museums will participate in the project, including the Picasso museums in Barcelona and Malaga, which Le Bon described as “fundamental allies.”

In October, the Barcelona museum will dedicate an exhibition to the months that Picasso spent in Barcelona in 1917, where he was also accompanied by Diaghilev’s Russian ballet troupe. Throughout 2018 the center will tackle Picasso’s relationship with food, while Malaga’s Picasso Birthplace Museum will explore the artist’s connections to his native Andalusia.

In the fall of 2019, Madrid’s Reina Sofia will close the cycle with an exhibition about Picasso’s time in Gósol, Catalonia in 1906, a period that was fundamental painting style.

English version by Alyssa McMurtry.


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