Thursday, July 15

Picasso at MoMA

I just came back from New York. It was incredibly hot and humid there. We waited for thunderstorms to break the heat spell. It didn't happen. I took refuge in the coolness of the Museum of Modern Art. There was an exhibit called Picasso: Themes and Variations. I've seen a lot of Picasso's work, all around the world, so I wasn't expecting much new. Surprise! This explored Picasso’s creative process through the medium of printmaking. I was wowed by his linoleum block prints, which I could not remember ever seeing. For example:

Man with Ruffled Collar  1963            The Vintagers 1959                         Bacchanal with Acrobat  1959 

Did he suffer from a lull in inspiration (hard to believe) when he turned to the past?  From the late 1940s to the early 1960s he focused on works by the Masters, making them clearly his own creation:

Portrait of a Young Girl, after Cranach the Younger, II

Luncheon on the Grass, After Manet
Picasso was a bullfighting aficionado from his youth and portrayed the bullring at various points in his career. In his Neoclassical period, he devised bullfight scenes that suggest the ballet. In the 1930s, under the influence of Surrealism, Picasso emphasized the violence of the subject. Returning to the bullfighting motif in the late 1950s, he focused on strong colors and decorative elements inherent in the unfolding drama. The one on the left looks like a circus, while you can feel the violence with the one on the right, though both identical images from the same block.

The Bullfight                                          The Picador

Even if you prefer more realism in your art, it's hard to deny this man's creative brilliance.