Musement takes a look at eight of Picasso’s most iconic paintings and where to see them.
Pablo Picasso once said that “art is a lie that makes us realize the truth”. As one of the most prolific artists of the twentieth century, he showed us his expression of the truth through beauty and emotion. Today, his works are displayed and revered all around the world.
Despite the fact that the Picasso Museum in Barcelona, his “Casa Natal” (his birthplace), and the Picasso Museum in Málaga host a wide range of the artist’s work, some of Picasso’s paintings are located at latitudes as far as antipodes. Here are eight of Picasso’s most iconic paintings and where to find them.
1. Guernica, 1937
The ambassador of cubism and one of Picasso’s greatest works, Guernica is a grand mural that is over 25 feet long and 11 feet tall, painted in black, white, and grey. His interpretation of the Guernica bombing reflects the horror and chaos of the attack that the Basque city experienced during the Spanish Civil War in 1937. Art history would be incomplete without this work, so it is a painting to see at least once in your lifetime.
2. Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, 1907
In an effort to minimize confusion, we must clarify that Picasso painted this oil on canvas in Barcelona and not in Avignon…on Avignon Street in Barcelona. Though the piece received a flood of criticism back in its day, the transcendence of this painting is irrefutable, since it symbolizes the beginning of modern art.
3. Three Musicians, 1921
In this oil painting, Picasso composed a scene made up of three figures broken down into simple shapes sitting beside each other. They represent a Harlequin, a Pierrot, and a monk, and there is also a dog in the background. The work was created at the end of Picasso’s Synthetic Cubism period and was painted during his stay in Fontainebleau.
4. The Weeping Woman, 1937
The Weeping Woman illustrates a woman crying with a tissue in her hands due to the devastation of the Spanish Civil War. The drama of this Cubist work is expressed through the strong colors such as green, yellow, and red that dominate the painting. This work, in fact, pertains to a series of weeping women who share the common characteristic of transmitting a strong emotion.
Where: Tate, London
5. The Blue Room, 1901
To understand this painting, you must go back to Picasso’s blue period. With the influence of Degas and Van Gogh, this painting depicts a prostitute who is cleaning herself, a reflection of the artist’s interest in painting female bodies in action.
Where: The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.
6. Portrait of Dora Maar, 1937
This is just one of the paintings Picasso dedicated to his muse and romantic partner Dora Maar. The French artist had a great impact on Picasso’s career despite the ups and downs of their relationship. Picasso used her as a model in many of his works. It was Dora Maar, in fact, who documented the creation of Guernica.
7. Self-Portrait, 1907
The self-portrait illustrates a 26-year-old Picasso prior to his Cubism stage. We can observe the African colors that determine the period in which it was painted and how his series of self-portraits changed over the years as his career and image evolved as well.
Where: National Gallery, Prague
8. Las Meninas, 1957
As we see repeated in Picasso’s work, this painting is part of a series of themed paintings. In this case, he reinterprets the famous Velázquez painting. Although the scene of Las Meninas is recognizable, Picasso’s painting differentiates itself by having greater formal complexity and changes in light and color.
Where: Picasso Museum, Barcelona