“bad artists copy. good artists steal.” – pablo picasso.

21 Jun

Last Saturday on our trip to Barcelona, my aunt and I popped into the Museu Picasso. I had been once before with my study abroad program, International Studies Abroad, but since Picasso is one of my favs I was down to go again. I whipped out my Carne Joven for a 4 euro discount and started exploring the museum. The architecture itself is pretty interesting – it’s housed in 5 adjoining Medieval palaces in the La Ribera/El Born region on C/ Montcada. The collection opened to the public in 1963 and features much of Picasso’s younger works – he lived in Barcelona as a teenager and studied art there extensively (as well as in Málaga, La Coruña, and Madrid where he studied the classics in the Museo del Prado).

nerding out.

While many different works appealed to me (like the ones I mentioned in this post), I was most taken with the Las Meninas collection he did while living in Cannes in 1957. Here’s why I was so obsessed with it:

  • Las Meninas is a work (on display at the Prado) done by Diego Velázquez in 1656. The painting shows Velázquez painting the royal family (the subjects of the painting are hidden to the viewer by a large canvas, but are seen through the adjacent mirror). In the foreground of the painting is the daughter, Infanta Margarita, and she is surrounded by maids (“las meninas”), chaperone, bodyguard, two dogs, and a dwarf.  It’s pretty cool for being 350 years old:
  • Picasso drew a lot of inspiration from this work, because in 1957 he did 58 interpretations of this work – in varying sizes and colors. Here are some of my favorites:
  • I’m a big fan of mash-up artists of any kind (not just Girl Talk, although he is my favorite). I love it when people can take some sort of pre-existing work of art, and re-work it and re-interpret it to be something completely different and innovative, imbuing it with a totally new meaning. This is completely what Picasso is doing here – making a whole ‘Las Meninas’ mash-up way before that term was thrown around. That’s all it took to get me hooked.
Also, the Las Meninas mash-up continues in Madrid, where Spanish retail empire El Corte Inglés has done it’s own take on the masterpiece for an ad campaign:
After checking out the exhibit, my aunt and I stopped into the gift shop, and I bought a few postcards of the collection, as well as one featuring one of my new favorite quotes: “Bad artists copy. Good artists steal.”
What is your favorite art exhibit you’ve seen recently? Or…favorite mash-up? I’ll take answers to either!

6 Responses to ““bad artists copy. good artists steal.” – pablo picasso.”

  1. Steve Clow June 21, 2011 at 6:20 pm #

    Wow that is really cool, especially the modern take from the store chain.

    • gillian June 21, 2011 at 10:29 pm #

      Thanks! I thought so too – it’s cool that El Corte Inglés made their ads city specific too – the ones in Barcelona feature a Gaudí inspired ad.


  1. june’s tune. « That's G - July 1, 2011

    […] My Aunt and I took Spain’s high-speed train, the AVE  to Barcelona for two nights! Fabulous. We sipped sangria and I fell in love with Picasso’s “Las Meninas” collection at the Museu Picasso. […]

  2. statements on state street. « That's G - July 18, 2011

    […] Pablo Picasso is my favorite artist – and there were more than just these two pieces here! I loved the whimsy of the first piece, and I had learned about the second one during a course I took on Contemporary Art in Barcelona – and it focuses on Picasso’s fascination with the under-belly of society at this time. My obsession with Picasso came to fruition recently during my visit to Barcelona’s Picasso museum. […]

  3. the real orange county. « That's G - August 13, 2012

    […] were actors or singers. My favorite piece was Velazquez’ “Las Meninas” – a painting I fell in love with in Madrid, and fell harder when I saw Picasso’s renditions in Barcelona. LOVE when the Spain obsession […]

  4. vienna: sights | That's G - March 31, 2013

    […] (Read about my ode to Las Meninas/Madrid obsession here). […]

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