Following Antonio Banderas’ work-related visit to our islands while he was working on the set for the forthcoming National Geographic Season 2 of the T.V series ‘Genius’, and portraying the great artist Pablo Picasso, a large number of the Spanish painter’s actual paintings are currently on exhibit in our shores. More specifically, the exhibition is taking place at the Grandmaster’s Palace, in Saint George Square Valletta. It opened its doors on the 7th of April and will be available to the general public until the 30th of June.

This exhibition is part of a major international project titled ‘Picasso-Méditerranée’, an initiative from Musée National Picasso in Paris held between Spring 2017 and Spring 2019. In fact, not only will more than 100 of Picasso’s works be on exhibit, but so will a number of the artworks pertaining to the Spanish artist Joan Miró – the painter, sculptor and ceramicist born in Barcelona. The exhibition, entitled ‘Picasso and Miró: The Flesh and the Spirit’, aims at bringing the public closer to the perception of two artistic creators who shook the foundation of traditional art.

The exhibition consists of a selection of 100 etchings from the Collection Suite Vollard which belongs to Fundación Mapfre and 40 paintings by Miro belonging to the Espacio Miró exhibition in Madrid. Fundación Map¬fre is bringing this exhibition to Malta in collaboration with the Office of the President of Malta and Fondazzjoni Patrimonju Malti (FPM).

The two artists’ work was paired together because of the similarities that run through their style and creative process. This is the first exhibition of Picasso and Miro in Malta and perhaps of any modern painter of this stature. Pablo Picasso and Joan Miro are two of the 20th century’s most influential artists. While the first founded cubism, the second was active in the emergence of surrealism.

Pablo Picasso (1881 – 1973) helped develop and explored a wide variety of artistic styles. Apart from being the co-founder of the cubism movement, he invented constructed sculpture or ‘assemblage’, and co-invented the collage technique. His artistic accomplishments were revolutionary, and his most famous works include Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907), and Guernica (1937), a portrayal of the bombing of Guernica by the German and Italian forces. He was born in the Andalucian region of Spain, and later moved to work at the School of Fine Arts in Barcelona. Later on, he also lived in Paris, Madrid, and following World War I, also travelled to Italy. During the Second World War, Picasso remained in Paris while the Germans occupied the city. Picasso’s ability to produce works in an astonishing range of styles made him well respected during his own lifetime. After his death in 1973 his value as an artist and inspiration to other artists has only grown.

While Picasso is mostly known for the Cubist movement, it is important to note that he also influenced the Dada and Futurism movements as well. His abstract style and technical ability was much contested by traditionalist and realist artists, however Picasso’s genius was that he perceived the complicated nuances of life and emotions, and was able to reduce them into a simplistic starker form.

Throughout his lifetime, Picasso evolved and changed as an artist, and of course, so did his paintings. The approach, the subject matter, and even the style transmuted throughout his career, which spanned 79 years. His body of work is often divided into periods: the early work (in the realist style), the Blue Period (where Picasso’s palette evolved from naturalistic hues to cooler tones), the Rose Period (where blue tones are contrasted by warmer shades), the African Period (where Picasso found inspiration in Oceanic and African art), Cubism (a genre that features subject matter broken down into fractured forms and which was pioneered by Picasso and Georges Braque), Neoclassicism (where he was inspired by the naturalism found in Italian Renaissance paintings), Surrealism (characterised by dreamy depictions of figures with disorganised facial features and twisted bodies), and later work, which cannot be categorised into particular styles, since each artwork incorporates different elements of his past periods.

To purchase the tickets for the exhibition, visit Heritage Malta’s website here – https://shop.heritagemalta.org/index.asp?siteid=30