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Pablo Picasso, the most important Spanish artist of the 20th century, is the pride of Malaga. He was born in this city in the south of Spain. Although he only lived here for the first 10 years of his life, the city has dedicated 2 museums to the artist. In addition to his birth home, the city also boasts the relatively new Museo Picasso Málaga, which was has been housed in a magnificent palace since 2003. Together, both venues give an excellent overview of Picasso’s life and work.
The priorities of this young multi-talented genius were clear at an early age. According to his mother, María Picasso y López, ‘pencil’ was little Pablo’s first word. His father, José Ruiz y Blasco, was an art teacher and painter. When his 13-year-old son finished one of his sketches revealing a talent greater than his own, the father swore to never pick up a paint brush again. Later on, his talent would branch out into sculptures, poetry, graphic design, jewellery and ceramics. It brought Picasso unparalleled fame and wealth.
Picasso was born in 1881 on the first floor of a house on Plaza de la Merced in the centre of Málaga. And 117 years later, the Spanish king and queen reopened it as his birth home. Decorated with the family’s personal belongings, the exhibit spaces provide a fascinating impression of the home in which the young artist spent his early years. The collection also includes a large number of sketches, lithographs and ceramics. ‘Sueño y mentira de Franco’ for example, a series of satirical prints in which the artist expresses his criticism of the Spanish dictator, is a precursor to his masterpiece ‘Guernica’.
The Picasso museum in Malaga fulfilled Picasso’s personal dream in 2003 of representing the artist in his birth place. The collection also displays less famous works, including some donated by his grandson. These provide a wonderful overview of the most important periods of Picasso’s career, ranging from his first ‘blue’ period to later periods in which he developed his characteristic abstract style. All of this is on display in the Buenavista Palace, near his birth home.