“Picasso and the Masters” exhibit in Paris
An exhibit of Picasso’s work alongside the masterpieces that inspired him opens Wednesday at Paris’ Grand Palais.7 October 2008
PARIS -- Pablo Picasso's connection to the great masters of Western painting goes on display in a major exhibition opening Wednesday in Paris.
More than 200 works, from Picasso to El Greco, Velazquez, Goya, Titian, Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Delacroix and Manet, are included in the show "Picasso and the Masters", drawn from public and private collections worldwide.
Through sketches, still life paintings, nudes, portraits and early cubist works, the exhibition at Paris' Grand Palais notes connections between the 20th-century Spanish artist and earlier painters.
"Of all modern and avant-garde painters, Picasso is the only one who carried the history of painting on his shoulders to this extent", said Anne Baldassari, head of Paris' Picasso Museum and one of the curators of the show.
A child prodigy, who mastered academic painting and drawing by the age of 14, Picasso (1881-1973) compared his art to that of the great masters.
Picasso's variations on past masterpieces are on display.
Five of his 58 interpretations of "Las Meninas" by Velazquez form a centrepiece of the show, while two related exhibitions, at the Louvre and Orsay museums, display his variations on Delacroix and Manet.
In inventing cubism, Picasso studied the use of light and shadow in Zurbaran's art, or El Greco’s division of space.
Half of the works on display came from the Paris Picasso Museum, with masterpieces loaned from a dozen museums including the Prado in Madrid, New York’s Museum of Modern Art, the Gemalde Galerie in Berlin and London's National Gallery.
Organisers describe the ability of bringing so many masterpieces together in one place -- including Goya’s "La Maya Desnuda", which last left Spain in 1930 -- as a "miracle".
The EUR 4.5-million budget for the show, which runs until 2 February 2009, is one of the largest in French history, with almost a fifth used to insure the paintings, together worth an estimated EUR 2 billion.
[AFP / Expatica]