[FINISHED] Picasso and prehistory

8 February to 12 June 2023
The exhibition is now over.

Paintings, sculptures, drawings, ceramics and engraved stones… Discover the influence of prehistoric times on the work of Picasso!

This exhibition is mounted with the esteemed patronage of Mr Emmanuel MACRON, the President of the French Republic, as part of the “Picasso Celebration 1973-2023”.

Femme lancant une pierre. Pablo Picasso, 1931

Femme lancant une pierre. Pablo Picasso, 1931

© RMN - Grand Palais - M. Rabeau / Succession Picasso 2023

The exhibition

The “Art and Prehistory” exhibition ends on a high note of modernity. Let’s continue this momentum with the work of Pablo Picasso ! 

Pablo Picasso, who juggled many different hats as a painter, sculptor, illustrator and engraver, put his name to very famous works such as Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907) and Guernica (1937), but did you know that he was fascinated by prehistory?

© MNHN - F. Dubos / Succession Picasso, 2023

An era that abounded with discoveries and innovations.

The artist was born in 1881, two years after the first prehistoric paintings were discovered in Spain. They were found in the Cave of Altamira, but it was only in 1902 that they were recognised as original Palaeolithic cave art.

The early 20th century was also marked by artistic renewal, with experiments in cubism and surrealism, fields where Picasso was one of the leading lights.

In 1922, the Venus of Lespugue was discovered, and four years later, the ‘Cahiers d’art’ journal was created. It presented portable art and cave art to the general public. This exciting period is expressed in some of the artist’s work.

Echoing the early artists

Picasso’s fascination with prehistory is particularly evident in his work from the inter-war period. The exhibition displays forty or so of his sublime, stunning works, some of them for the first time!

You can admire the sculptures, engravings, paintings, drawings, and the way in which Picasso perpetuates past techniques and transforms natural objects. Feast your eyes on these echoes of the creations by the earliest artists.

You can also listen to photographer Brassaï’s account of what his acolyte had to say about the way in which nature inspired the earliest artists, and for the very first time, discover a collection of animal skulls and bones that sat up till now in the artist’s studios.

Picasso Celebration : 1973 - 2023

50 exhibitions and events to celebrate Picasso

Picasso Celebration 1973-2023: 50 exhibitions and events to celebrate Picasso 2023 marks the 50th anniversary of the artist’s death, and this year we will be celebrating his work both nationally and internationally

The Picasso Celebration 1973-2023 was initiated by the Musée national Picasso Paris (National Picasso Museum of Paris), the main lending body and coordinator of the event, and Bernard Picasso, the artist’s grandson and president of the FABA and the Picasso Museum in Málaga. The celebration comprises around fifty exhibitions and events to be held in leading cultural institutions in Europe and North America. These events provide an overview of the study and understanding of Picasso’s work. 

This commemoration will be punctuated by official celebrations in France and Spain, and will conclude with a major international symposium in autumn 2023, to coincide with the opening of the Centre d’Études Picasso (Picasso Studies Centre) in Paris.

Patrons and partners

With the exceptional support of the Musée national Picasso-Paris and the Kinoshita Group.

Partenaires médias
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