Prado Museum exhibits its Picasso

Prado Museum exhibits its Picasso

Prado Museum exhibits its Picasso

Pablo Picasso — Busto de mujer — Prado-1

From this week, and for a period of five years, Pablo Picasso will finally be represented in the Prado Museum, although not with the Guernica (as the artist wished), but with “Bust of a Woman”, a work painted in 1943, and deposited in the museum by the American Friends of the Prado Museum.

Source: Museo del Prado and own elaboration. Image: Miguel Falomir, Director of the Museo Nacional del Prado, Christina Simmons, Executive Director, American Friends of the Prado Museum; and Javier Solana, President of the Board of Trustees of the Museo Nacional del Prado. Photo ©Museo Nacional del Prado

Including the work of Picasso -probably the greatest of Spanish artists- in the Prado Museum -the most important collection of Spanish painting in the world- is a long-standing desire of many of the great Spanish art personalities of the 20th century, including Picasso himself. In September 1936, shortly after the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, Pablo Picasso was appointed director of the Prado Museum by Manuel Azaña, although he never served. The following year Picasso painted his famous “Guernica”, which was exhibited at the International Exhibition in Paris that year. Shortly afterwards, Picasso decided that the painting should be exhibited at the MoMA in New York until Spain regained democracy, at which point it should be shown at the Prado, alongside Velázquez’s “Las Meninas”. In 1981, years after Franco’s death, the “Guernica” returned to Spain, being deposited in the Casón del Buen Retiro until the opening of the Reina Sofía Museum in 1992.

It seems unlikely that “Guernica”, the star of the Reina Sofía and the absolute centrepiece of its collection, will one day be permanently exhibited at the Prado. But now “Bust of a Woman”, which the museum defines as “a high-quality display of Picasso’s response to the violence of World War II”, is on show in the museum’s room 9 B, alongside portraits by El Greco and Velázquez’s “The Jester Calabacillas”, so the Picasso-Velázquez dialogue is in some way present in the museum.


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