50 years since Picasso: The Spanish cities to visit for exhibitions celebrating his life

To mark 50 years since the death of Picasso, a series of temporary exhibitions are popping up across Spanish cities where the influential 20th-century artist spent his pivotal early years...

3 mins

From Bilbao to Barcelona, Málaga to Madrid, Pablo Picasso may have lived his adult life in France, but his early years in Spain are considered some of his most pivotal. The 8 April 2023 marks 50 years since the Málaga-born artist's death, so cities across the country are celebrating his life with a series of exhibitions: each one observing how Picasso was influenced by the places he lived, studied and worked. 


Museo Picasso in Málaga has two exhibition in 2023 (The Ian Dagnall/Alamy Stock Photo)

Museo Picasso in Málaga has two exhibition in 2023 (The Ian Dagnall/Alamy Stock Photo)

Back to where it all began. Málaga is where Pablo Picasso was born in 1881, and a bronze sculpture of the artist can be seen permanently parked on a bench in the city centre. Beyond this installation, Málaga welcomes three temporary exhibitions in 2023.

Picasso: Matter and Body (9 May to 10 September 2023) is on display at the Museo Picasso Málaga, and is dedicated to Picasso’s fascination with the human body and how it shaped his work, particularly his sculptures – moulded from various materials including bronze, iron, cement, steel, wood and plaster. After four months, this exhibit moves north to Bilbao for a stint in the iconic Guggenheim Museum (29 September 2023 to 14 January 2024).

Later in the year at Museo Picasso Málaga, The Echo of Picasso (3 October 2023 to 31 March 2024), examines the effect the artist has on the world and –  most importantly – today’s art scene. The collection gathers 30 artists’ work all influenced by Picasso.

Elsewhere, The Stages of Picasso (21 June to 1 October 2023) at the Museo Casa Natal Picasso follows a chronological journey through Picasso’s work, with sections divided into important stages of Picasso’s life. It ranges from his childhood to the years spent with his muse and second wife Jacqueline Roque. When finished browsing the paintings, sculptures, and photographs, you can see another 800 permanent works at the museum, including a rare sketchbook with 80 of his drawings.

A Coruña

Picasso spent his early years in A Coruna (Ian Dagnall/Alamy Stock Photo)

Picasso spent his early years in A Coruna (Ian Dagnall/Alamy Stock Photo)

Head to Spain’s northwest coast to spend time in A Coruña, the Galican city where Picasso spent years of his childhood. It’s also where he experienced monumental moments in his life, from his first ever exhibition to the death of his sister.

A Coruña Museum of Fine Arts is putting on an exhibition titled Picasso: White in the Blue Memory (23 April 23 – 23 June 23). The collection will explore his early work created while in A Coruña, and how it transcended into his future masterpieces.


The entrance to Museu Picasso Barcelona (Shutterstock)

The entrance to Museu Picasso Barcelona (Shutterstock)

Picasso went to Barcelona in his early teenage years, attending the School of Fine Arts from the age of 13. The city’s architecture is said to have inspired many of his works.

There are two temporary exhibitions to see at the Museu Picasso Barcelona. Throughout the spring and summer, browse But is it possible that they could have done this before me? Picasso and Spanish ceramics in the Museu del Disseny de Barcelona collections (1 June 2022 to 30 September 2023). 

Perhaps more enticing though is Miró– Picasso (10 October 2023 to 25 February 2023). This exhibition is the first of its kind and is co-hosted with Fundación Joan Miró. The collection looks at the friendship between Picasso and Miró through documents and other written communication, but also observes their relationship with Barcelona. Coincidently, 2023 also marks 40 years since the passing of Miró.


The Prado Museum will be exhibiting Picasso - El Greco during the summer (Shutterstock)

The Prado Museum will be exhibiting Picasso - El Greco during the summer (Shutterstock)

The Spanish capital – where Picasso attended the Fine Arts Academy at the age of 16 – will be hosting eight exhibitions at eight venues throughout 2023. 

To name some of the most noteworthy, Picasso – El Greco (13 June to 17 September) at the Prado Museum, is an exhibition comparing the work of the two artists and explores the influence El Greco had on Picasso. It will have a particular focus on Picasso’s cubism and El Greco’s later work.

Visit the cultural centre of La Casa Encendida for The Last Picasso (19 May to 17 September). As the name suggests, this exhibition looks at the Picasso’s work in his final years when he began shifting into neo-expressionism – an art form misunderstood at the time.

In the autumn and winter, Picasso. The Sacred and the Profane (4 October 2023 to 14 January 2024) at the Thyssen-Bornemisza National Museum takes a closer look at his ability to reimagine and incorporate themes of earlier art into his own work.

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