Del 8 de junio al 25 de septiembre 2022
Ahead of the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the death of Pablo Picasso, the Museo del Greco is receiving for the first time in its history two works by the brilliant artist from Malaga, for whom El Greco was a source of inspiration throughout his life.
The two works by Picasso have come to the Museo del Greco through an institutional exchange with the Kunstmuseum Basel (Switzerland). Our museum has lent three works from its permanent collection to take part in the exhibition "Picasso - El Greco", June-September 2022. They are Saint John, Saint Bartholomew and Saint Simon of the Apostleship. In exchange, the El Greco Museum will receive two paintings by Picasso, works from two different artistic periods and corresponding to the last stages of the brilliant artist.
Woman in a hat sitting in an armchair
Oil on canvas
The portrait has a traditional three-quarter length arrangement, and transforms and deforms the formal elements of the body and face, which is practically divided into two distinct parts. The muse is the French photographer and artist Dora Maar (1907-1997), with whom Picasso had a love affair for almost 10 years (1935-1945), coinciding with a turbulent political and social period. These were the years of the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) and the Second World War (1939-1945), corresponding to the War Years (1937-1950) of Picasso's artistic production. These were years of pain, concern and suffering due to the conflicts of war, which is reflected in his production. The style is expressionist cubism with a dose of surrealism, with which the artist experimented.
Portraiture has been one of the most important genres in European painting since the end of the Middle Ages. In Spain, the evolution of the genre over the centuries has forged a tradition of portrait painting with a strong and unique personality. El Greco has established himself as the introducer in our country of the psychological portrait, that is to say, the portrait that shows something as subtle and difficult to capture as the inner life of people. This was a great contribution by the Cretan to the Spanish history of portraiture, which Picasso undoubtedly took up and transformed.
The portrait of Woman with a Hat Seated in an Armchair is located in the Apostleship Room, in dialogue with this famous work by El Greco, also painted in his final period (ca. 1608-1614), and considered the most majestic version of those that have survived. With the figures in the Apostleship, Picasso's portrait shares the traditional three-quarter or half-length arrangement, the neutral background in grey tones, the formal monumentality and psychological expressiveness, and the strong chromatic contrast.
Venus and Love
Oil on canvas
The work depicts a classical mythological theme, Venus the goddess of love and Cupid her infantile companion. The style is characterised by rapid, large, impulsive brushstrokes. This is Picasso's final period, the last years of the artist who, since 1961, has been living in seclusion in Mougins (South of France) with his last love, his wife Jacqueline Roque (1927-1986). She is the woman portrayed, his new muse with dark eyes, high cheekbones and a classical profile, the usual features of his last paintings.
In this last period, which lasted from 1954 until his death in 1973, Picasso produced versions of masterpieces in a daring dialogue with the great masters of the past. For this work, the genius of Malaga may have been inspired by Titian's Venus in the Mirror, but also by the swift, increasingly loose, unfinished strokes of El Greco's late works, of which the Apostolate and the Saint Bernardine of Siena in this museum are significant examples.
For this reason, the painting Venus and Love has been placed in the Library Room, opposite the Saint Bernardine of Siena, characteristic of El Greco's final production, with its original language, increasingly visionary and unreal.