There are some artists who take your breath away with their brilliance. Even if you’re not a huge fan of Picasso’s work, you could never deny his talent. Those sketches where he could bring a dove or a bull to life with just a few pen strokes, or the innovation of his Cubist paintings which caused such controversy, to the raw emotion of Guernica exploring the horrors of the Spanish Civil War.
He had a long relationship with London, coming here first in 1919 to do scenery and costume design for Diaghilev’s ballet The Three Cornered Hat. He then participated in a controversial Surrealist Exhibition in 1936, the showing of Guernica for two weeks in 1939, and then a popular 1945-6 exhibition at the Victoria and Albert of Matisse and Picasso straight after the war.
There is an exhibition at the Tate Britain, which acknowledges British art’s debt to Picasso and his influence on British modern art. Sixty works by Picasso are hung with work by seven British artists: Duncan Grant, Wyndham Lewis, Ben Nicholson, Henry Moore, Francis Bacon, Graham Sutherland and David Hockney. They are all great artists in their own right, some of Britain’s best, but it is hard to stand up alongside Picasso, the genius. We travel all over the world to see him; his paintings still travel all over the world to be seen.
Luckily for us the Tate Britain, like the Tate Modern, is open every day. There is a cost for this exhibition and all special exhibitions, although the permanent collection is free. It’s recommended to book in advance online but there is a small booking fee.