Why is Picasso viewed as a trivial artist

exhibition: Picasso loved "The Three Musketeers"

Málaga. There is hardly anything that we do not know about Pablo Picasso. Hundreds of art historical articles have been written about the great Spanish painter (1881-1973). On the Internet we find tens of thousands of entries about the co-founder of Cubism and one of the most important representatives of modernity. He is one of the few artists to whom two museums were dedicated during his lifetime.

Thanks in part to his passion for work - he left us almost 1,900 paintings, 3,200 ceramics, 7,000 drawings, 1,200 sculptures and 30,000 graphics - we know his work and his artistic development inside out. But as the exhibition "Picasso TV" in the Picasso Museum in Málaga shows, there are still aspects of his artistic work that were previously unknown to us: Picasso loved television and drew inspiration for many of his from this surprisingly trivial, but then novel source Works.

Velázquez and "Zorro"

The exhibition in the Picasso Museum shows how great the influence of the films and news programs on French television between 1966 and 1972 was on Picasso's work.

Especially his late work, in which he reinterpreted the art of the old masters, was influenced by what is now very banal, but at the time almost revolutionary apparatus. Hard to believe, but true: In addition to El Greco, Velázquez, Rembrandt, Raffael and Michelangelo, it was of all things "The Three Musketeers", "The Zorro" and catchers from television that inspired Picasso to create new motifs. He loved adventure films and epee films, wrestling matches and above all the French circus show "La Piste aux Étoiles", as shown by many of his drawings.

The exotic Indian strip "Bengali" inspired Picasso to paint Turkish baths with sexy naked women. A western, on the other hand, inspired him to etch "Television: Quaker, Red-Skin and Art Rider". The fact that Picasso's late work could be inspired by the old masters and the new kind of television at the same time is not surprising to José Lebrero, director of the Picasso Museum: "As with the old masters of painting, very classic motifs like that appear in Picasso's favorite TV series and films Fencing, bullfights, horses, wrestling matches in the classical Roman style or the quarrel over women. "

But also political events such as the Paris student revolts in May 1968, which Picasso followed on television, the artist addresses in some of his works, such as an etching with carts of the French Revolution on the way to the guillotine. He also ridiculed De Gaulle's televised speech at the time by portraying the French President with his sex bare in front of two naked women.

The window to the world

Lebrero points out that by that time Picasso was already over 80 years old, had achieved everything and hardly traveled any more. As a living legend, he largely isolated himself from the hustle and bustle of the Côte d’Azur in his Villa La Californie in Cannes and later in the Villa Nôtre-Dame-de-Vie in Mougins. He didn't often invite visitors. Brigitte Bardot and Gary Cooper were exceptions.

However, through the television, Picasso was able to follow current affairs. He not only adopted the TV images as motifs for some of his works, but also cinematic narrative techniques. For example, Picasso created his famous graphic series "Suite 347" in the style of the new television language, as can be seen in the sequence of scenes in his famous Celestina series.

It was Madeline who did the
Commissioned by the Picasso Museum Málaga to research the connection between television and Picasso's drypoint and aquatint leaves. In addition to works from the Picasso museums in Málaga and Münster, she was also able to draw on works from important private collections and the Valencian Foundation Bancaja in order to demonstrate this previously unknown connection between Picasso and television.

The creator of monumental paintings such as "Guernica" (1937) or "Les Demoiselles d’Avignon" (1907) apparently spent hours in front of the screen. It was Picasso's wife and muse Jacqueline Roque who bought the flickering box out of boredom because the artist always painted in the studio. Picasso even despised the television at first.

In TV fever

At that time there was not a large selection of programs to choose from. The artist was only able to receive three channels: the two French public channels and the Monte Carlo channel.

Nevertheless, he quickly became infected by the television bug. His close friend and biographer John Richardson remembers the moment when Picasso's initial dislike of the television turned into interest: "This acquisition held little fascination for the artist until the day he discovered catching. " By 1960 at the latest, Picasso had found a taste for trivial television when he saw the broadcast of the wedding ceremony of the English Princess Margaret live.

The fact that Picasso, who is considered by many to be an intellectual and universal genius of the century, was inspired for many of his works by trivial TV, is not only an interesting novelty, according to José Lebrero, but also important: "From 1968 onwards, the television almost triggered a new creative frenzy At the same time, this enthusiasm for a folk culture humanises him a little. "