Things to do / Culture / Picasso Celebration 1973-2023
  • Galeria amb arcs apuntats del pati del Palau Aguilar. Barcelona, 2 d'agosto de 2022. Fotografia: Miquel Coll Molas. Museu Picasso, Barcelona

Picasso Celebration 1973-2023

In 2023, we will be commemorating the 50th anniversary of Picasso's death and 60 years since the Museu Picasso in Barcelona opened. The city is joining in the official worldwide celebrations with a series of cultural events that everyone can take part in. They include a packed calendar of exhibitions, conferences and a wide variety of activities.

Pati del Palau Aguilar

Picasso: "Barcelona is where everything started"

The young Picasso made his first forays into painting in Barcelona. Years later he would bequeath his works to the city and its citizens for display at the first museum in the world dedicated to him. The year 2023 marks the museum's 60th anniversary as well as the 50th anniversary of the death of this world-renowned artist. The Picasso Celebration 1973-2023 is a worldwide event and museums around the world, as well as Barcelona, will be joining in the commemorations.

Picasso described his links with Barcelona, where he spent his youth, as follows:

"Barcelona is where everything started"

Picasso and Barcelona

When Picasso arrived in Barcelona in 1895, aged just 14, he encountered a modern, industrialised city firmly committed to avant-garde trends. It captured the attention of a young man who took advantage of the opportunity to join in the city's buzzing art scene.

He began studying at the city's school of fine arts, the Escola de Belles Arts de la Llotja, and frequented the most innovative artistic circles and artists of the day at the café Els Quatre Gats until he left for Paris in 1904. Picasso's Barcelona was in the throes of great changes and breakthroughs and a new aesthetic, avant-garde was emerging, which the artist fully embraced: academic circles, the Gran Teatre del Liceu opera house, Cerdà's Eixample district and Catalonia's home-grown art nouveau, modernisme, and its later offshoot, noucentisme…

The formative years Picasso spent in Barcelona and his relationship with the city were fundamental in shaping him as the artist we know today. Picasso made an indelible imprint on the city: his works, particularly the ones he produced during his youth in Barcelona and his subsequent donations, put Barcelona on the map, not just for the local population but for people around the world.

An inspirational city for his work

The Rooftop of Les Cases d'en Xifré, is one of the first paintings Picasso produced in Barcelona. It shows the views of the city from the building where he lived with his family when they arrived in Barcelona. The Barceloneta and Ciutat Vella districts soon provided sources of inspiration for the young Picasso.

La Rambla, the Raval, the Parc de la Ciutadella, Barceloneta beach and the Mediterranean sea, the cloister of the Romanesque monastery of Sant Pau del Camp, the city's streets and balconies and the Columbus Monument are just some of the places Picasso drew inspiration from and are featured in his works. Did you know the painting Les Demoiselles d'Avignon – which is one of his most important works and marked the beginnings of cubism – was set in a Barcelona brothel on Carrer d'Avinyó?

Museu Picasso. 60 years of history

Picasso established strong links with Barcelona which endured throughout his life. He wanted his work to have a permanent home in Barcelona where it could go on display. The Museu Picasso in Barcelona opened in 1963 after being given the go-ahead by the artist and his friend and secretary, Jaume Sabartés, who donated the works that would form the core of the museum's collection.

The museum traces Picasso's relationship with Barcelona and is one of the city's must-see attractions. It

engages in a dialogue between the collections of Picasso's works and the five vast 13th- and 14th-century medieval palaces it is housed in. The museum provides an opportunity to understand Picasso's links with the city and to admire his artistic legacy and the mark he made. It also gives you the chance to admire paintings such as Science and Charity, one of the key works from his formative period produced when he was just 15 years of age, or The Harlequin, which he painted while he was staying in Barcelona in 1917 for the premiere of the ballet Parade at the opera house, the Gran Teatre del Liceu. During your visit, you'll be able to discover Las Meninas, a series of 58 oils dating from 1957.

Visit Picasso's Barcelona

Do you want to discover Picasso's Barcelona? Don't miss the city trails and guided walking tours that will give you an in-depth insight into the artist's life in the city. Make sure you see his works at the museum, where Picasso aficionados can enjoy an in-depth guided tour led by the museum's official guides.

  1. Guided tour of the Museu Picasso
  2. Barcelona Walking Tours Picasso
  3. Self-guided tour of Picasso's Barcelona
  4. Skip-the-line entry to the Museu Picasso

What's on during Picasso Celebration

Barcelona's cultural events put Picasso in the spotlight. In 2023, the city will be hosting activities and exhibitions about Picasso's life and work to mark the Picasso Celebration: 1973-2023.

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