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On display in Room 9B, next to the Central Gallery

The Prado is exhibiting Bust of a Woman by Picasso Monday, July 19, 2021

Dating from 1943, this work is an outstanding example of Picasso’s response to the violence of World War II.

Donated to American Friends of the Prado Museum through the generosity of Aramont Art Collection, the painting is now on display in the gallery devoted to El Greco, together with The Buffoon Calabacillas by Velázquez, two of the artists who most influenced Picasso’s work.

The Prado is exhibiting Bust of a Woman by Picasso

From left to right: Miguel Falomir, Director of the Museo Nacional del Prado; Christina Simmons, Executive Director American Friends of the Prado Museum and Javier Solana, Head of the Board of Trustees of the Museo Nacional del Prado. Photo ©Museo Nacional del Prado

The Museo del Prado is displaying Bust of a Woman by Picasso, on deposit for five years from American Friends of the Prado Museum.

Painted in 1943, Bust of a Woman offers an outstanding example of Picasso’s response to the violence of World War II. In many of the artist’s female images of this period he distorted the features in a radical manner. In this example, painted in a single day on 7 October 1943, he employed rapid, extremely confident brushstrokes to achieve this effect. The resonance of the background tones and the emphatic presence of the female form reflect the artist’s roots in Spanish culture and his profound knowledge of the country’s pictorial tradition.

The decision to hang the painting in Room 9B, which is devoted to El Greco, and in the company of The Buffoon Calabacillas by Velázquez, is intended to reveal the significant influence of the great tradition of Spanish painting on Picasso. He was actively involved in the rediscovery and reassessment of El Greco, whom the avant-garde artists saw as a founding figure of modern art. Furthermore at the age of just fifteen he drew a copy of The Buffoon Calabacillas in pencil in the notebook that he took with him on his first visit to the Prado.

The result is to establish a dialogue which allows visitors to discern and appreciate the echoes of the past in Picasso’s work, as well as the connections and affinities with artistic tradition that made him an artist highly aware of the legacy of the Old Masters.

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