Picasso & Las Meninas

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

After my recent travels in Spain and France it seems only fitting to pay a little attention to the iconic Pablo Picasso!  In Barcelona I visited the home of one of the most beautiful collections of his work – the Museu Picasso. The crown jewel of the museum is the full collection of Picasso’s Las Meninas series. Between August and December 1957 Picasso produced an astonishing 54 original oil paintings analyzing and exploring a single canvas by Diego Velázquez. Picasso first saw the masterpiece by Spanish artist Velázquez at the Prado in Madrid when he was only fourteen years old, but it clearly captivated  him. I loved the energy, searching, and imagination in Picasso’s Las Meninas canvases and particularly loved seeing his leaps from one study to the next. His work is so often reproduced but once you view them in comparison to the traditional original, you can really see his ingenuity and deep creativity. After experiencing this collection, I have no doubts that Picasso really was an immense genius and a truly original thinker! 

 Las Meninas, painted in 1656 by Diego Velázquez, is one of the most famous and widely analyzed works in Western art. The artist captures a scene in the palace of King Philip IV of Spain as the monarch sits for a portrait (you can see a glimpse of the royal couple in the mirror!). His young daughter, the Infanta Margarita, has come to visit her parents, accompanied by her entourage and Velázquez depicts himself working on the large canvas.

Las Meninas, above, dated 15/09/1957, pencil and oil on canvas. I love the use of all the shades of color! This was by far my favorite piece, I could look at this for days! 

Las Meninas dated 17/08/1957, oil on canvas. Here, Picasso avoids color altogether to focus on the forms - he was truly tireless!   

Las Meninas (Infanta Margarida Maria)  dated 14/09/1957. This is one of many close up studies Picasso did of the Infanta and other figures.

 The first image is Picasso's Las Meninas dated 18/09/1957, I think it is one of the most interesting pieces, simplying color and form in a captivating way! Please note: all images are from the Museu Picasso collection datebase.

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