14 years after it opened the Picasso Museum in Malaga has had a facelift. The bare bones remain the same, but what you see and how you see it is very different. Read on to discover what’s new at Andalusia’s most-visited museum.
A bit of background to the Picasso Museum in Malaga
For most people, the Picasso Museum in Malaga draws the line between the old Malaga and the new. The museum’s opening in 2003 transformed the city and was the first step in Malaga’s bid to become a serious tourist destination.
Picasso, born in Malaga in 1881, always expressed the desire to have a home for his works in his native city. Since its inception, the museum has been a fitting tribute to the greatest artist of the 20th century. Not for nothing was the Picasso Museum in Malaga the most visited museum in Andalucia last year.
But no museum should rest on its laurels. Even less so when it’s dedicated to Picasso, a prolific artist whose works run to tens of thousands. So it’s fitting that the Picasso Museum in Malaga has taken on a new look.
Definitely the most relevant aspect to the revamp is the new artworks. Thanks to an agreement with the Almine and Bernard Ruiz-Picasso Art Foundation (FABA in Spanish) the Picasso Museum in Malaga will have access to over 160 paintings by artist. Most of them are unknown to the general public and some have never been on show before.
Not all these new Picasso works are on display at the same time. They will enter the permanent collection gradually over the next three years and rotate their way through the exhibition. This means that every three months you can see new Picasso works.
Don’t miss – Picasso’s quotes throughout the exhibition, giving extra insight into the man and his works. Our favourite was this one stating that his aim was “to show what I have found and not what I am looking for”.
The Picasso Museum has also given its structure a new look. The 11 rooms that make up the permanent exhibition take on different themes throughout Picasso’s 80-odd years of creating art. As before, the museum starts with his first paintings, but then guides you through an eclectic tour of Greek mythology, Cubism, war, ceramics and the Spanish Golden Age.
You see tiny pictures and large portraits. Lots of colour from the vibrant purple in Siesta to the striking reds, greens and yellows in his Picasso’s face paintings. You see ceramics from dinner plates to a giant flute player. Plenty of sculptures from a cast-iron warrior to a simple bull’s head made from a bike. You see new works, but all unmistakably by Picasso.
Don’t miss – the audio guide included in the admission price. The English version is good.
Like many other museums, the Picasso Museum in Malaga has invested in sustainability. New LED lighting has substituted the old halogen lights. The investment of some €130,000 by the Endesa Foundation has not only saved money and energy, but also gives the rooms a much more natural light. In short, you see the paintings as they’re meant to be.
The magnificent Palacio de Buenavista, itself one of the finest monuments in Malaga, remains unchanged. Its rooms with their lovely high-vaulted ceilings continue to provide a stunning backdrop to all Picasso’s works.
Don’t miss – the wood-carved ceilings. The one at the top of the stairwell is the most spectacular but they’re all worth raising your eyes for!
Our highlights of the new collection
- The early years – The Portrait of Lola and the Sparrow, painted when Picasso was a young teenager.
- The Three Graces – one of the largest artworks at the Picasso Museum in Malaga and its black and white composition isn’t unlike Guernica.
- The birds – pigeons, doves, cockerels and some wise owls.
- The contrast – often the same room exhibits very real paintings with totally surreal takes on reality beside them.
Don’t miss – the archaeological excavations in the basement uncovered when the Picasso Museum in Malaga was being restored. See Phoenician, Roman and medieval walls.
Need to know Picasso Museum in Malaga
The museum opens daily 10am to 7pm (8pm at Easter (8-16 April) and in July and August). Admission to see the permanent collection costs €8. The museum is fully accessible.
The Picasso Museum is one of a long. long list of things to do in Malaga. Check out the rest.
Gallery photo credits © MPM/jesusdominguez.com © Sucesión Pablo Picasso, VEGAP, Madrid, 2017