Group 26_

MYTHOLOGY, EROTICISM AND FEMALE PORTRAITS IN THE NEW PRESENTATION OF WORKS ON PAPER FROM THE MPM COLLECTION

06/22/2006

The 45 works comprised are all taken from the MPM Collection. They are made up, fundamentally, of graphic works, with the exception of an illustrated book and four erotic drawings, also from the MPM Collection, shown here for the first time.

The Museo Picasso Málaga presents a selection from its collection of graphic art comprising 40 works produced between 1928 and 1971 and, additionally, a book illustrated by Picasso and published in 1947 and four drawings on explicitly sexual themes dated 1917. The book and these four drawings are shown for the first time at the MPM. Overall, the works can be grouped into three main thematic categories: mythology, eroticism and portraits of women.

Bacchanalia predominate in the series of works devoted to mythology. Depicting different moments in a festival in which the figures play music, dance and kiss, these scenes are strongly reminiscent of representations on ceramic works dating back to the 5th century BC and celebrating Dionysus, the Greek god worshipped by Bacchants, or drunken revellers. This group of works on mythical themes is completed by the etching Minotaur Caressing A Sleeping Woman (1933), part of the so-called Vollard Suite, in which the mythical figure, a mixture of reason and instinct, leans over a woman inspired by Picasso’s mistress, Marie-Thérèse Walter.

The four erotic scenes, drawn in bistre – a brown pigment made from soot – form part of a number of drawings in which Picasso drew his inspiration from the frescoes in ancient Pompeii. Quickly drawn, the artist’s reed pen creating a nervous, almost continuous line, these works seem to reproduce four stages in the same sexual encounter, the activity and degree of aggression gradually intensifying.

Eroticism is present, too, in the series of female nudes made using different techniques, such as aquatint, lithography and monotype on copper, and in the group of couples, outstandingly Raphael and La Fornarina XXIII (1968) and Old Man Surprising a Woman in Bed (1960). The three etchings entitled The Rape are also imbued with particular sexual intensity, the chaotic construction of the bodies filling the scene with energy and tension.

The selection is completed by a series of portraits of women, including, amongst others, aquatints devoted to Dora Maar (1939), lithographs of Françoise Gilot and sugar aquatints showing Jacqueline dressed as a bride. Particularly interesting amongst this group is the aquatint illustrating the book of Five Sonnets by Petrarch (Cinq sonnets de Pétrarque avec une eau-forte de Picasso et les explications du traducteur, Paris, 1947). The model here represents Laura, the poet’s muse. This is a unique publication, translated and signed by the writer Louis Aragon, from the collection of the MPM Library.

Picasso’s constant variations on his themes and use of widely differing techniques and materials provide yet more evidence of the master’s boundless creative capacity, illustrated here in works that show him as an artist forever immersed in a process of experimentation.

Throughout the period that this presentation is on show, the Charlas en el Museo will focus on these works included in it. The talks comprise free guided visits given by MPM educators which take place at 6 pm every Thursday. Those interested in taking part should register on purchasing their admission ticket.