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Picasso: Challenging the Past - National Gallery

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

AN EXHIBITION entitled Picasso: Challenging the Past will be on display in the Sainsbury Wing of the National Gallery from February 25 to June 7, 2009.

Picasso (1881-1973), arguably the most influential artist of the 20th century, pitted himself against the greatest Masters of European painting in a life-long artistic dialogue. Picasso: Challenging the Past will explore the ways he took up the artistic concerns of the painters of the past and made audacious art works of his own.

The exhibition, which will feature some 60 works by the artist, will be organised thematically, demonstrating how Picasso repeatedly returned to the great subjects of the European painting tradition, analysing them as his personal style developed in innumerable directions.

Sections will include self portraits, the Spanish tradition of male portraiture, the female nude, still life, and the seated female figure.

Picasso: Challenging the Past will culminate in a display of the artist’s Variations where, late in life, Picasso makes direct reference to masterpieces such as Velázquez’s Las Meninas and Manet’s Déjeuner sur l’Herbe, turning them into “something else entirely”.

National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, London, WC2N 5DN

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