Picasso at Scuderie del Quirinale
Text by Domenico Paris
A trip that changed the course of modern art as well as the life of a man who was not afraid to take risks.
A century after Picasso’s first visit to Italy accompanied by his friend Jean Cocteau, until 21 January 2018, Scuderie del Quirinale will celebrate the anniversary with an exceptional exhibition titled ‘Picasso between Cubism and Neo-Classicism: 1915-1925’ consisting of over 100 artworks including paintings, gouaches and sketches from across the world.
We talked about the exhibition with the Director of the museum, Matteo Lafranconi.
Is it fair to regard those two first months spent by the Malaga genius in the Bel Paese as a watershed in his career?
«It certainly is. The opportunity to familiarise himself with the greatest masterpieces of Roman and Renaissance art and, at the same time, with the Commedia dell’Arte and the erotic frescoes seen in Pompeii and Naples opened up new horizons in a period when cubism seemed to have slowly plunged into becoming a manner. The works produced in the years that followed his Italian stay are the result of a very personal form of assimilation and reinterpretation of that experience. This, without forgetting the fact that it was in those days that he got to know his first wife, Olga Khokhlova».
A key moment then, especially regarding mind opening?
«Among the avant-garde artists, Picasso was the most free from stylistic cages and prejudices. He was capable of instinctively sensing the zeitgeist and understanding where he could and should be heading to. With regard to this particular trip, he had left with the intention and goal of drawing the sets and costumes for Diaghilev’s ballet Parade (the curtain drop being on display at Palazzo Barberini, Ed) and, being very attentive to any suggestion inspired by his surroundings and the people he met, he ended up with something utterly different and new».
Was it difficult to plan an exhibition with such rich and varied material?
«Picasso is one of the world’s most coveted artists to be exhibited and in Italy, we do not have an exhibition that could work as a starting point. So, yes, it was not an easy task, but art lenders were all incredibly generous and willing».
PICASSO. Between Cubism and Classicism: 1915–1925
Scuderie del Quirinale
Via XXIV Maggio 16 – Rome
22 September 2017 – 21 January 2018
Sunday – Thursday 10:00 – 20:00
Friday e Saturday 10:00 – 22:30