Museu Picasso – Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain

Tracing the Evolution of Genius

Adjoining 13th-and 19th-century palaces provide a handsome setting for one of Spain’s most interesting museums, a must for Picasso lovers. Beginning with the boyhood sketchbooks and marginal doodlings of the nine-year-old artist (born in Malaga in 1881), the museum provides the rare opportunity of following Picasso’s evolution as an artist, particularly in his earlier works.

There are paintings that hint of his Blue Period and studies for his seminal Guernica as well as The Maids of Honor, forty-four Cubist varia­tions done in the 1950s on the classic Las Meninas, the famous Velazquez painting hanging in Madrid’s Prado Museum.

Although this may not be the finest assemblage of Picassos, it is the largest, with 3,600 paint­ings, drawings, engravings, and ceramics. Dating from 1890 to 1967, many pieces were donated by the artist before his death in 1973, and the majority of ceramics were given by Jacqueline Picasso in 1982.

This modern col­lection is found on a narrow street along the outskirts of Barcelona’s Barri Gotic (Gothic Quarter), a quiet warren of medieval buildings and byways containing most of the city’s historic and artistic treasures along with numerous tapas bars to sustain one’s energy.

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