Variations on Las Meninas

“Las Meninas” by Pablo Picasso.
Museo Picasso, Barcelona Spain.

Maybe Picasso’s just not your guy. Maybe, when you look at his later works, the fact that the eyes are where the nose should be annoys you. I get that.

When we returned from Madrid, having just seen “Las Meninas” by Diego Velasquez at the Prado, our friend C. mentioned that Picasso had done a number of paintings as a response to Velazquez’ painting. Off we went to Barcelona’s Museo Picasso. The museum is arranged chronolgically and I loved watching Picasso develop and evolve as a painter.

In rooms 15 and 16 of the museum, we found Picasso’s take(s) on “Las Meninas”. Velazquez was one of the great Spanish masters; Picasso first saw “Las Meninas” (painted in 1656) when he was just a teenager. Fast forward sixty years… and you have Picasso, at age 75, undertaking his own “Las Meninas”. For two frenzied weeks in 1957, Picasso responded to the original Velazquez painting through a study of form, rhythm, colour and movement. He created 58 paintings in all; some are great, huge canvases while others are small paintings of just one figure. His favourite subject appears to have been the Infanta Margarita, the little blonde girl in the centre of the original. All of the canvases are painted in Picasso’s distinctive style, one that had been a lifetime in the making.

I have become a Picasso fan…. a cubist groupie. Honestly, I could have stayed in rooms 15 and 16 of the Picasso Museum all day. Some day I will.

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