Picasso: from Paris to Richmond
By LANDON JAMES
Pablo Picasso has finally left his plush museum in Paris to tour the world over the course of the next year. First stop, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) in Richmond, Va.
The newly renovated VMFA is the only museum on the East Coast to host the “Picasso: Masterpieces from the Musée National Picasso, Paris” running through May 15. After which, the exhibit will continue on its seven-city international tour.
The 11-room exhibit includes over 175 pieces from Picasso’s personal collection from his museum in Paris, including everything from sculptures to rare photographs of Picasso working in his studios.
If you thought you knew anything about Picasso before, you were wrong.
Not only does the exhibit take travel year-by-year through Picasso’s changing styles and influences, but you get to see how his art changed and was influenced by the relations and people he was interacting with at the time.
You are truly able to get a comprehensive overview of Picasso’s entire body of work.
The exhibit does not simply focus on Picasso’s bizarrely unique painting style, but also shows his remarkable hand at sculpting.
The various brass sculptures range from skulls, to jester hats, to a slightly depressed and emaciated goat who does not seem as excited about the exhibit as you may be.
Start to finish, the exhibit is beautiful and moving, but the most powerful portion of the showcase has to be the rooms dedicated to Picasso’s fascination with cubism.
Not only are these sculptures and pictures masterpieces of the cubist movement, they also force you to interpret and look at art in completely new ways.
Each painting is a puzzle and it is up to the viewers to solve it. It’s all about the angle you take when looking at each piece and it is truly remarkable to see the painting reveal itself before your eyes.
Picasso was courteous enough to label his works, but even when the placard says “Violin,” it’s still not apparent.
Throughout the exhibit, you are forced to use your imagination to make sense of many of the works, but by the end of it you gain a remarkably fresh perspective and respect for Picasso and his work.
Another interesting facet of the exhibit is the repetition of several pieces of art throughout the show. As Picasso’s artistic tastes and influences changed throughout the years, he would revisit old paintings and drawings and redo them in new and fascinating ways.
The extensive photography collections depicting Picasso in the studio and at leisure show an entirely new side to the artist as well. In fact, many of the photographs show women and role models Picasso brought to life in his paintings.
To see the original photo of someone before Picasso transformed them into his creatively-angled monstrous masterpieces is breathtaking and inspiring.
The careful balance of paintings, sculptures and photography perfectly blends Picasso’s various mediums into one beautiful cohesive story of his life and achievements.
Of all the incredibly moving and inspiring pictures, the one that stood out to me was “Man with a Straw Hat and an Ice Cream Cone.”
How many times can you honestly say you have seen an ice cream cone incorporated into a piece of art, especially by a famous artist? Plus, it also shows Picasso’s sense of humor, which isn’t always evident in the rest of his bizarre and unique works.
For adults, tickets to the exhibit are $20, but with a student I.D. tickets are only $16.
Don’t miss your once-in-a-lifetime chance to see Picasso in a way you never imagined and take your artistic tastes to all new heights and angles.