Picasso and Paper, Royal Academy of Arts - ★★★★★ - Until April 13, 2020

Femmes à leur toilette by Pablo Picasso, 1937–38.

We all know Picasso. Or, do we? This impressive exhibition provides a wonderful overview of the definitive 20th century artist. The chronological organisation allows the viewer to trace the evolution of this ever-changing and amazingly prolific creator. We go from the blue and rose periods through cubism and on to his political commentary and meditations on sexuality, relationships and aging. Picasso's influences are illuminated and we see how he incorporated various influences into his work, such as his interest in African art. His knowledge of and interest in the western tradition is also explored, and the room devoted to his studies of work by Manet and Delacroix is quite fascinating. The focus of the exhibition is on Picasso's use of the medium of paper: papiers-collés, collages, a variety of printing techniques, watercolour, gouache, photography and, of course, drawing. However, the show also offers insight into other media he employed. The painting La Vie from the blue period is contextualised with works in paper. There is also a charming look at his set and costume design for the 1917 ballet, Parade which should not be overlooked. There are some sculptural pieces on display presented alongside their intriguing associated drawings. The film Le Mystère Picasso from 1956 which records the artist drawing with felt-tip pens is another amazing addition to the exhibition. There is so much here to explore and enjoy. Make sure to set aside enough time to delight in this exhibition and to get to know the genius that is Picasso.

Reviewed by J.C.

 Our Score:  ☆☆☆☆☆ 

WHEN, WHERE, GETTING THERE:
Until April 13, 2020
Daily: 10 am - 6 pm (Fri until 10 pm, Jan 25 & Apr 4 until 8 pm)
Royal Academy of Arts, Main Galleries
Nearest tube: Piccadilly Circus
https://www.royalacademy.org.uk/exhibition/picasso-and-paper

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