Picasso Museum in Barcelona

The Picasso Museum in Barcelona has arranged the artist’s work chronologically to show his leaving and returning to his native city. Before he became Picasso he was a talented young artist, son of a teacher, diligently learning his craft. The exhibits show an open heart, a willingness to work through periods of change, a heart moved by events with compassion for the poor,  and an artistic point of view influenced by other artists and writers, especially in Paris.


On the plane I read Gertrude Stein on Picasso.

When he was nineteen years old Picasso came to Paris, that was in 1900, into a world of painters who had completely learned everything they could from seeing at what they were looking at…there was a world ready for Picasso who had in him not only all Spanish painting but Spanish Cubism which is the daily life of Spain.

Spain is not like other southern countries, it is not colorful, all the colors in Spain are white black siler or gold, there is no red or green, not at all. Spain in this sense is not at all southern, it is oriental, women there wear black more often than colors, the earth is dry and gold in color, the sky is blue almost black. All the same I like Spain.

Picasso said once that he who created a thing is forced to make it ugly. In the effort to create the intensity and the struggle to create this intensity, the result always produces a certain ugliness, those who follow can make of this thing a beautiful thing because they know what they are doing, the thing having already been invented, but the inventor because he does not know what he is going to invent inevitably the thing he makes must have its ugliness.

Weeping Woman by Pablo Picasso

I read Norman Mailer’s book on Picasso.

Whatever provides us with continually enhanced connotation is magically endowed…Repetition can kill the soul, and so a ceremony, a person, or an object is able to enrich us only when its nature, its artful nature, rewards further study or calls for more relationship–that is to say, its nature transcends familiarity. And that, indeed, may be why good poetry is more magical than good prose–the message is more elusive, more compressed, and more responsive to sensuous study.

Can one enter the logic by which the forms of human beings are put together? Can one search out God’s intentions, experiments, rejections, new explorations? The key is to be found in form. Form is the language that God has decided to share with a few painters, the very best painters. They are apostles serving the mystery of form…to Picasso….possessed of a power to draw that has to be terrifying even to him, to this young artist with a mistress whose body he explores form by form, to Picasso at age twenty-five embarked on opium twice a week into exceptional odysseys of his mind, it is no small matter that a tree can share the same form as a torso, and a man and a woman are not separate entities but meet and coalesce and cross over in gender.


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