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Following in the footsteps of Picasso in Malaga

Picasso in Malaga needs no introduction. He was born in the city and is the most famous Malagueño. In May 2017, his ‘body’ arrived in the city and lay ‘in state’ until the end of June.

Picasso is everythere in Malaga. The Picasso Museum is the most visited museum in Andalusia, Picasso memorabilia pops up all over the city and several companies offer ‘Picasso in Malaga’ tours. But although Picasso was born in the city, he died and was buried in France. However, his ‘body’ has just arrived in the city and is lying ‘in state’ until the end of June.


The origins of Picasso in Malaga

Malaga prides itself hugely on being Picasso’s birthplace and the city’s logo – Malaga Ciudad Genial – takes its inspiration from the artist’s genius. This is, after all, the city where the 20th century’s greatest artist was born. It’s also where he put his first pencil to paper.

Picasso was baptised in Malaga and went to school here. According to a book just published, he spent his summer holidays in the Montes de Malaga. And every October, Malaga celebrates his birth with a month of special events around his life and work.

The Ruiz Picasso family left Malaga when Picasso was just 10, returning for summer holidays between 1895 and 1897. Although he always expressed a love for Malaga, Picasso never returned to the city as an adult. His desire for his work to be on show in the city wasn’t fulfilled until 2003 when the Picasso Museum opened.

Picasso (front of picture) on holiday. Image from Diario Sur

The legacy of Picasso in Malaga

Picasso’s legacy is obviously huge and a new initiative aims to make it even greater. An installation, ‘Picasso Died Here’ by Spanish artist Eugenio Merino brought the artist’s body to Malaga in summer 2017.

On show (or ‘in state’ if you like) at the Alianza Francesa, an exact replica of Picasso’s body lies on a vast slab of marble with his epitaph in front of it. He’s dressed, as you’d expect, in a blue and white striped jumper, and white trousers. His white hair is, reportedly real, but his characteristic black, black eyes are shut. Conjuring up some inspiration perhaps?

We have to say that the installation is so very real that we almost expected Picasso to get up off his marble and say something. The black curtains at the entrance and the official on guard add to the realism.

Following Picasso in Malaga

The installation reflects on the legacy of Picasso in Malaga and the effect of his presence on the city’s cultural heritage. It encourages you to follow Picasso from his place of birth to his habeas corpus via significant places in his life.

Birth – the artist’s birthplace and now part museum, part art gallery with good permanent and interesting temporary exhibitions. Picasso Foundation, Plaza de la Merced 15.

Don’t miss the statue of Picasso outside. This one’s in bronze but you’ll see how similar it is to the Picasso lying in state just across the square.

Baptism – Picasso was baptised at Santiago Church and the church usually displays a record of this near the entrance. You can’t see it, however, at the moment because restoration work is underway with completion due later this year. Do admire the lovely façade though and the very Moorish tower. Calle Granada

School – Picasso attended San Rafael school during his early years in Malaga and reportedly had vivid memories of his time there. As an old man, he reminisced about how he used to spend his days drawing and gazing out of the window. He also apparently used to take a dove to school. Calle Comedias 20

birds at the Picasso Museum

Play – bullfighting features as one of the main themes in Picasso’s work. His passion for the world of tauromaquia is said to have begun in Malaga at the bullring in La Malagueta.

Don’t miss a walk round La Malagueta where there are lots of things to see as well as the bullring. Read more here.

Work – the Picasso Museum offers an excellent overview of the artist’s work from his early portraits to final abstract pieces. The Museum recently renewed the permanent collection – read all about it here. Calle San Agustín

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