2013 marks the 50th anniversary of the Picasso museum in Barcelona, the city where Picasso grew up and lived before moving to Paris in the early 1900’s which is where he became acquainted with American art collectors Leo and Gertrude Stein painting a portrait of Gertrude in 1906 that now hangs in The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. It was also in Paris where he met lifelong friend Henri Matisse.

In 1907 Picasso joined a newly opened gallery owned by a German art collector Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler who was one of the first dealers to promote Picasso’s work and also that of George Braque who together with Picasso formed the avant-garde art movement known as Cubism.

Leading up to the First World War Paris and in particular the Montparnasse and Montmartre attracted artists from all over the world with its cheap rents, and free thinking artistic community.

During the war years Picasso refused to personally take any side and apart for some anti-war painting of which his most famous is Guernica a painted in 1937 with the artist now in his

fifties depicting the German and Italian bombing of a Basque village in Northern Spain during the Spanish Civil War as a reminder of suffering that war brings to innocent civilians.

During his long life Picasso painted 1,885 painting and over 12,000 drawings along with thousands of sculptures and ceramics.

Many of his earlier works from his time living in Barcelona including many rarely seen works that depict his classical training can be seen in The Museu Picasso in Barcelona

Just as Vincent Van Gough liked to paint portraits of himself Picasso did the same thing to reveal insights into his inner state of being as both a man and an artist and to mark the Picasso museum in Barcelona’s fiftieth birthday they are having an exhibition of Picasso’s self-portraits running from the 31st of May through to the 1st of September.

The exhibition covers 78 years of the artist’s life from his childhood through to shortly before his death in 1972. In nearly all of the self-portraits Picasso uses his face to express a gauntlet of emotions with the majority being painted before 1907. In 1917 he again uses the self-portrait to depict his feelings with many done as he was nearing the end of his life in the late 1960’s.

If you are in or thinking of visiting Barcelona this summer, the Picasso self-portrait exhibition is something you definitely do not want to miss.


The museum is located in the Gothic quarter of the city and is made up of five medieval palaces joined together at Montcada 15-23. You can get here by metro taking

Red Line 1 – Arc de Triomf Station

Green Line 3 – Liceu Station

Yellow Line 4 – Jaume I Station

Or by bus:

Linesparada bus17parada bus40parada bus45 parada bus19 – Via Laietana Bus Stop

Linesparada bus39parada bus51 – Passeig Picasso Bus Stop

Linesparada bus14parada bus59 – Pla de Palau Bus Stop

Lines Linesparada bus120 – Princesa Bus Stop

The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10am to 8pm the admission price is 11€. On the first Sunday in the month entry is free but make sure to get there early for your place in line. For more information on the museum visit their website.

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Josh Jones is a travel writer who occasionally writes about his travel and hobbies on outlet4spain – a site specialising in Barcelona and Sitges accommodation.