All the most impressive works by Pablo Picasso – paintings, drawings, gouache, watercolors, sketches, stage dresses – from museums all over the world will be on show at the Quirinal Stables in Rome until January 21, 2018, to celebrate the centennial of the Spanish artist’s trip to Italy in 1917 with his friend Jean Cocteau for the production of the ballet ‘Parade’. A trip that, putting Picasso in close contact with the many suggestions of classicism, disrupted both his private life and artistic production.
Ales President, Mario De Simoni, explained that the exhibition entitled ‘Picasso. Between Cubism and Classicism: 1915-1925 ‘, “required three years of intense work with the curators Olivier Berggruen and Anunciata von Liechtenstein” on top of the ten years that Berggruen dedicated to studying the relationship between Picasso and the theater. All of this allowed the creation of an extraordinarily organic exhibition that depicts one of Picasso’s most crucial and creative periods through more than one hundred major works, and as much documentary material.
Berggruen, the curator, points out that in 1917 Picasso already perceived the crisis of movement which had made him famous and was going through a difficult time: “The world was at war, he, Spanish on French soil, had seen many of his companions leave for the front, was sad and had little work.” So he decided to follow his friend Jean Cocteau in Italy, where he was going to meet the producer of the Ballet Russes, Sergey Djagilev, in order to create the scenes, costumes and the imposing curtain – on show for the first time in Palazzo Barberini – for his ballet, ‘Parade’, put to music by Satie. In Rome, far from the war, Picasso finds himself again in a beautiful, happy and stimulating atmosphere. “He gets to know the Futurists and the painters of the Secession, and comes into contact with the Renaissance and classical art; while, moving to Naples, Pompei, Florence, and Milan, he discovers the Italian iconographic traditions, especially the masks like Pulcinella.”
He also meets his love, Olga Khochlova, one of the ballet dancers who he will marry the following year in Paris. A trip that for the Spanish master has a strong revitalizing power. The close encounter with the antiquity and the Renaissance is the source of a profound reflection on Cubism and leads to the many experiments between styles and genres in the name of Modernism.