“The paper seduced me,” claimed Pablo Picasso. And thanks to the Royal Academy of Arts, you can now study the fruits of their relationship from home.
Sometimes, when it comes to Picasso, one of the most influential artists of the 20th century, it’s difficult to say where the reality ends and the myth begins. His artworks routinely break records at auctions, yet there are countless facets of his life and oeuvre that are still waiting to be explored.
One such aspect was revealed this January in London, during the exhibition Picasso and Paper orchestrated by the Royal Academy of Arts. As the title suggests, the show centered around the artist’s work on paper, but, as it often is with Picasso, the display was not as straightforward as the title would suggest.
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“Picasso didn’t just draw on paper – he tore it, burnt it, and made it three-dimensional,” says Ann Dumas, curator at the Royal Academy. From studies for Guernica to a 4.8-meter-wide collage, the exposition brought together more than 300 works on paper spanning the artist’s 80-year career.
Just like all spring expositions, however, even this one had to close before the end of its run. But the Royal Academy won’t let you be deprived of the opportunity to see the outstanding cut-out Head of a Woman from 1962 or several studies for Picasso’s famous Les Demoiselles d’Avignon sketched in 1907. You can now examine them in detail and from home, thanks to a 40-minute video that guides you through the whole exhibition.
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The tour is not narrated but provides written information about each segment and installation. That way, you can immerse yourself in Picasso’s world of paper undisturbed and discover how – with this everyday material we know so well – he found the means to explore the furthest reaches of his creativity.