Guernica Room, Reina Sofía Museum in Madrid

Madrid celebrates the 50th anniversary of the death of Pablo Picasso


8 April 2023 marks the 50th anniversary of the death of the Spanish artist Pablo Picasso, and Madrid will be hosting a large part of the celebratory activities in many of its most important museums. For this reason, you will love a trip to Spain's capital city if you are an enthusiast of the Picasso universe or if you simply want to know more about the artist and the enormous significance he has had on other creators. And we suggest that you discover the links between the city of Madrid and the genius from Malaga. Do you fancy it?

Up to eight exhibitions to choose from

In 2022, you were already able to enjoy two exhibitions that extended until early 2023: “Julio González, Pablo Picasso and the dematerialisation of sculpture” at the MAPFRE Foundation and “Picasso / Chanel” at the Carmen Thyssen National Museum. Although the key year is undoubtedly 2023. The Thyssen Museum is back with the exhibition “Picasso. The Sacred and the Profane”; and the other two major museums in the city, the Prado Museum and the Reina Sofía National Art Museum, present “Picasso-El Greco” and “Picasso 1906: The Great Transformation”. What other cultural spaces join this celebration? La Casa Encendida, which will feature the work of the painter's last 10 years; and Casa Velázquez, which will propose a dialogue between the two artists

Exhibition Julio González, Pablo Picasso and the dematerialisation of sculpture. Julio González The Harlequin / Pierrot or Columbina, c. 1930 Cast bronze, 43 × 30 × 30 cm IVAM Institut Valencià d'Art Modern, Generalitat Donation C. Martínez and V. Grimminger, Paris 1993.038.049

What was Picasso's relationship with Madrid?

Although the life of this genius is usually associated with cities such as Malaga and Barcelona, several of his masterpieces can be found in Madrid; and that there is a place in the city that deeply inspired the cubist painter. Which? Well, the Prado Museum. On his first trip to Madrid, he visited it and felt deeply drawn to great masters such as Velázquez and El Greco. When you walk through the impressive rooms of this art gallery, you can imagine how Picasso was inspired by them.In fact, Picasso was to become director of the Prado Museum from 1936 to 1939. Although he never travelled to the capital to formalise his position, he did accept the appointment and supported different activities.

Statue of Velázquez outside the Prado Museum in Madrid

Upon his arrival in Madrid at the end of the 19th century at the age of 16, Picasso began his artistic training within academic realism at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando, another interesting cultural space open for visitors.And where can you see Picasso's works in Madrid today? For example, the Thyssen Museum holds pieces like “The Harvesters” or “Harlequin with a Mirror”. Although, without a doubt, Picasso's most famous work is exhibited in the Reina Sofía National Art Museum. We are talking about “Guernica”, an imposing mural painted in 1937 which is 3.50 meters high by 7.80 meters long. It is painted in white, black and gray and represents the pain of the bombing on the Basque town of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War. Looking at it is an unforgettable and overwhelming experience. The museum also has other works by the artist.

Tourists entering the Reina Sofía National Art Museum in Madrid

A museum dedicated to Picasso

Just over 80 kilometres from the city of Madrid, you find the beautiful town of Buitrago de Lozoya and a museum not so well known by the general public, but a very interesting option to learn more about the artist. The Picasso Museum – Eugenio Arias Collection.  The interesting fact about this place is that the museum is the result of 26-year friendship between Picasso himself and his barber, Eugenio Arias, who were both in exile in France.The gifts from Picasso to Eugenio Arias forms the basis of this museum in the barber's hometown. During your visit, you will be able to see drawings and graphic works, ceramics, posters, dedicated books and unique pieces such as a pyrography box of hairdressing tools.

View of interior of the Picasso Museum – Eugenio Arias Collection

Even though it will be 50 years since Picasso's death, his figure and his work continue to arouse the same interest and cause the same creative impact. Come and experience it in Madrid. 

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