Little by little the artistic life, the billboards of the great museums and exhibition centers of our country resume their most ambitious projects, postponed by the irruption of the global pandemic. On May 1, the Botín Center of Santander will premiere one of the most anticipated exhibitions of the season, Picasso Íbero, a suggestive and pioneering investigation into one of the least studied edges of the inexhaustible corpus of Pablo Picasso: the influence of Iberian art in his work.
About 200 Iberian pieces from Spanish and French collections (including some of the fundamentals of the Musée du Louvre) and Italian, as well as loans of works from the Almine and Bernard Ruiz-Picasso Foundation for Art (FABA), from the Museo Picasso Málaga, the Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, the Fundación Juan March, the Musée national d’art moderne-Center Pompidou and private collectors, reveal the commitment and high sights of the storm (until September 12).
“Picasso came to venerate archaic Iberian sculptures because they constituted one of Spain’s few contributions to the art of Antiquity and also because they represented his own roots. They had been carved by mestizo people who – like his own family – had emigrated to Andalusia before move to the northern lands. In addition to the atavistic spell, its roughness and lack of distinction were the work of someone who longed to demolish traditional canons of beauty, “wrote John Richardson, one of the great scholars of the life and work of the genius of La Merced.
Pablo Picasso became acquainted with Iberian art not in his land but, at the beginning of 1906, in France, precisely at the Louvre, where at that time an important exhibition of sculptures and recently excavated artifacts was exhibited. This discovery marked a turning point in his formal research and took him from a more classical work to the leap that cubism represented in his work. The Botín Center offers the visitor a complete overview of the artist’s works from his proto-cubist period to his last years, while examining the fertile dialogue that goes from the Iberian period, from which we follow the determining developments that led Picasso from the pink period to a selection of works from 1908, to the works in which – formally or conceptually – resonate. great themes, characteristics and practices of Iberian art, the latter being the ones that lead us to its last years of creation and which include an immense variety of artistic techniques and gestures.
For Cécile Godefroy, curator of the imminent exhibition, “Picasso Íbero is a very enriching visual experience, which allows the diversity and artistic style of the Iberian people to be disseminated to a greater number of people, all through the greatest set of works ever before exhibited and that, in addition, dialogue with the work of Picasso “. The exhibition reveals Malaga’s discovery of an indigenous and primitive art, which coincides with a crucial moment of questioning academicism, contributed to the formation of an exceptional identity and artistic language, in Godefroy’s opinion. A unique opportunity that aims to open the debate on the influences and practices of one of the greatest artists of the 20th century, while revealing the beauty and importance of the Iberian in the birth of an ism as fundamental as Cubism.