Dating from 1943, this work is an outstanding example of Picasso’s response to the violence of World War II.
The Museo del Prado is displaying Bust of a Woman by Picasso, on deposit for five years from American Friends of the Prado Museum.
“Painted in 1943, Bust of a Woman offers an outstanding example of Picasso’s response to the violence of World War II. In many of the artist’s female images of this period he distorted the features in a radical manner.
“In this example, painted in a single day on October 7, 1943, he employed rapid, extremely confident brushstrokes to achieve this effect. The resonance of the background tones and the emphatic presence of the female form reflect the artist’s roots in Spanish culture and his profound knowledge of the country’s pictorial tradition,” the Prado said in a statement.
The decision to hang the painting in Room 9B, which is devoted to El Greco, and in the company of The Buffoon Calabacillas by Velázquez, is intended to reveal the significant influence of the great tradition of Spanish painting on Picasso. He was actively involved in the rediscovery and reassessment of El Greco, whom the avant-garde artists saw as a founding figure of modern art. At the age of just fifteen he drew a copy of The Buffoon Calabacillas in pencil in the notebook that he took with him on his first visit to the Prado.
“The result is to establish a dialogue which allows visitors to discern and appreciate the echoes of the past in Picasso’s work, as well as the connections and affinities with artistic tradition that made him an artist highly aware of the legacy of the Old Masters,” the Prado Museum added.
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