Pablo Picasso's Artwork in Barcelona
Barcelona is an incredible place to visit if you’re an art enthusiast. Not only is the city home to some of the Antoni Gaudí’s most impressive architecture, it also has one of the most extensive collections of artwork by Pablo Picasso. Situated on the edge of the atmospheric Gothic Quarter, you will find Museu Picasso, which holds an incredible 4,251 individual works of art by the co-creator of Cubism. It is the museum to visit in the city, especially for anyone wishing to explore Pablo Picasso’s artwork Barcelona.
Whilst Picasso was born in Malaga and spent most of his adult life in France, he lived in Barcelona between the ages of 14-24. These were his formative years as an artist, and the museum is key to understanding his artistic development and strong relationship with Barcelona. Through the permanent collection of chronologically arranged exhibits, Museu Picasso reveals the incredible genius of the young Spanish artist.
Highlights of the Picasso Museum
The Picasso Museum in Barcelona, which opened in 1963 under the artist’s supervision, is housed within five interconnected gothic palaces with a beautiful inner courtyard. The museum’s permanent collection is particularly rich in works up to Picasso’s Blue Period (1901-1904). Highlights include Casagemas in His Coffin, Motherhood, The Old Guitarist, Barcelona Rooftops, and La Vie—the latter considered to represent the pinnacle of this period.
During his Blue Period, Picasso began to transition into his characteristic abstract style that influenced his later work. Inspired by poverty and everyday life in Spain, as well as his own emotional turmoil, Picasso’s paintings during this period were rather melancholic, mostly produced in monochromatic shades of blue and blue-green.
In addition to these works, the Museu Picasso exhibits include drawings, lithographs and etchings, sculptures, ceramics, photographs, and a number of other notable paintings, including Los Pichones (The Doves), Ciéncia y Caridad (Science and Charity), the Cubist still life Glass and Tobacco Packet, and the series Las Meninas, which consists of renditions of the Velázquez masterpiece of the same name.
Science and Charity, (1897)
Although the museum’s permanent collection concentrates on Picasso’s formative years—before he produced his more famous works that you may be familiar with—the exhibits will provide you with a deeper understanding of the historic-artistic context of his life as a young artist in Barcelona. It’s essentially a biography of his early life and stylistic evolution toward Cubism, which is fascinating to explore.
Las Meninas (series), (1957)
Aside from the Picasso Museum, you will find a select few artworks in other locations around Barcelona. The National Museum of Catalan Art holds The Woman with Hat and Fur Coat, which Picasso painted in 1937 whilst living in Paris. This piece is a price example of his Cubist style. The Barcelona Ceramics Museum also exhibits a series of 16 pieces that were donated by Picasso in 1957.
To complete your Picasso experience in Barcelona, a visit to the Four Cats tavern (Els Quatre Gats) is essential. Although a bit of a tourist trap these days—more so since featuring in Woody Allen’s movie Vicky Cristina Barcelona—the cafe was one of Picasso’s regular haunts and well worth stopping by. It was here that the artist would spend much of his time, meeting with his artist friends, exchanging ideas, and sketching and painting. To this day the tavern is a fantastic place to visit, and the menu still features the cover that was drawn by Picasso himself!