The PICASSO Art & Arena exhibition opened yesterday in St. Augustine. The show celebrates the 500th anniversary of the discovery of Florida by Juan Ponce de León. The show is also the first of many exhibitions planned as part of the St. Augustine’s 450th Commemoration.
The PICASSO collection includes 39 original pieces created between 1929 and 1961, on loan from the Picasso Foundation in Malaga, Spain. They provide insights into one of the artist’s main themes: bullfighting. Bullfighting was a revered tradition in Spain, Picasso’s home country. Curator Maria D’Adamo told of Picasso’s fascination with the sport’s trilogy: the matador, picador and the bull.
The exhibition in the Visitor’s Center is set in the round, like a bullfighting ring, with two large photographic reproductions of spectators defining the space.
One of the highlights is a series of 11 lithographs, created between December 1945 and January 1946. They begin with a realistic drawing of the animal and succeeding works gradually reduce the strokes into a cave like primitive drawing. The final lithograph is only a few lines, but still recognizable as the animal.
I believe the bull series will appeal to both adults and children because they can clearly trace the transformation. Picasso said, “It took me four years to learn to paint like Raphael, and a lifetime to paint like a child.”
An intriguing 20-minute video is displayed on the rear wall showing Picasso painting on glass. The viewer gets to watch a work of art come to life right in front of their eyes.
In addition, the show includes some of the prolific artist’s ceramic pieces and illustrations composed for books. A timeline of Picasso’s life helps the visitor understand the stages of his artistic lifestyle.
St. Augustine Visitor Center
February 1 to May 11, 2013