Portrait of the artist as a young man
The Picasso Museum boasts an incredible 4,000 works by Spain’s most beloved and prolific artist. The Museum, which was opened ten years before his death in 1963, focuses on Picasso’s relationship with Barcelona, particularly in his formative years.
The extensive collection is housed in five palaces on the medieval street Carrer Montcada, and comprises not only his paintings, drawings and sculptures, but also photographs and records of the young Picasso. The buildings have been remodelled since the Middle Ages, and the beautiful Catalan Gothic structures we see today date from the 18th century.
The father of modern art
Born in Málaga in 1881, the son of a painter and art professor, Picasso showed an exceptional aptitude for art at a very young age. He began his formal training with his father at the age of seven. After the death of his younger sister the family moved to Barcelona in 1895, and here Picasso found a haven; although he went on to move regularly throughout his life, he came to regard the city as his true home. At just 13 he managed to gain entry to the advanced class in the Llotja School of Fine Arts, and began to form his inimitable personal style.
Later in life, Picasso himself expressed the wish for a museum of his works to be built in Barcelona and in 1960 plans were set in motion. The museum was originally called the Sabartés Collection: Picasso was vocally opposed to the regime of Francisco Franco, then dictator of Spain, so his name could not appear on a national monument. Sabartés was a fellow painter and poet from Barcelona, and a close personal friend of Picasso. The original museum consisted of Sabartés’ own collection of Picasso’s work as well as a few donations of illustrated prints and drawings.
Having grown exponentially over the years through donations and acquisitions, the present collection is a comprehensive showcase: visitors can follow the development of Picasso’s art from the stunning 1896 Portrait of Aunt Pepa, painted when the artist was only 14, through the world-changing innovations of Cubism and his Rose, African and Blue Periods. Though some of his most famous mature works, such as Guernica and Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, are held elsewhere, the Picasso Museum is an unmissable insight into one of the story of a modern master.