A blog on gigs, music, art and London.

Saturday, 2 May 2009

'Picasso - Challenging The Past' at the National Gallery

I went to the National Gallery this morning to see the current Picasso exhibition. Whilst walking down the Charing Cross Road I noticed that the recently restored St. Martin in the Fields was looking particularly beautiful in the crisp morning sunshine.

I found the Picasso exhibition a slightly mixed affair if I am honest. I enjoyed the Cubist, more abstract, angular paintings but found a lot of the still life and human forms uninspiring and in some cases without beauty.

The exhibition's emphasis is on showing how Picasso responded to the works of the great painters of the past and how he was inspired to produce his own versions of a lot of their famous works. Each room had a particular theme - self portraits, nudes, human characters, still life etc.

The final room shows his variations on artists such as Delacroix, Manet and Velazquez in detail. I enjoyed the monochrome variations on Velazquez and the bold, vibrantly colourful reinventions of Delacroix but enjoyed his variations on Manet less.

The short film which ends the exhibition goes some way to drawing all the different strands together and almost made me question some of the opinions I had formed whilst wandering through the exhibition. It certainly provided quite a helpful overview of Picasso's life with specific reference to the themes contained in this exhibition.

I left the National Gallery and walked up Haymarket before popping into Caffe Nero to get a drink and decide my plan for the remainder of the day...

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