Friday, 19 February 2010

Spanish Landscapes - and Picasso

Casey Klahn (The Colorist) sent me the link to a blog post by Mary Adam (Drawing Etc) which highlights landscapes painted by Pablo Picasso. I never really thought of Picasso as a painter of landscapes but evidently he did very early in his career late in his career as artist. See Picasso's landscapes.
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Mediterranean Landscape
Pablo Picasso
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I dug around a bit and also found the Guggenheim website suggesting that landscape painting is rare in Spanish art.

Landscape painting is rare in Spanish art. This scarcity can be tied to Spanish history. The Spanish Counter-Reformation of the sixteenth century was staunchly against both classicism and humanism. Strictly interpreted Catholic doctrine viewed the subject of human nature and nature in general as corrupt and indulgent. To contemplate the beauty of nature was to indulge in a hedonistic, pagan, and heretical act.

As a result, a variation on landscape painting emerged. During the second half of the sixteenth century, when El Greco came to live in Spain, a mystical and poetic current swept the nation. Instead of picturing the land as lush and inviting, artists used landscape as the setting for sacred events. In El Greco’s landscapes, we can see this “fire” or passion. His nervous, tormented, mystical, and visionary approach to painting not only expressed the intellectual climate of his age, but centuries later it would also become a model for the next generation of Spanish painters, including Francisco de Goya, Ignacio Zuloaga, Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dalí, and Joan Miró.

You can find out more about Picasson on my information site - Pablo Picasso - Resources for Art Lovers

There is also a major new exhibition opening soon in New York, I wonder if it will include Picasso's landscapes - the website suggests it's going to have an heavy emphasis on the figure. Reports please from anybody who gets to see it.
Picasso in The Metropolitan Museum of Art | Upcoming Exhibitions | The Metropolitan Museum of Art
April 27, 2010-August 1, 2010
Special Exhibition Galleries, 2nd floor

This landmark exhibition is the first to focus exclusively on works by Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881-1973) in the Museum's collection. It features 150 works, including the Museum's complete holdings of paintings, drawings, sculptures, and ceramics by Picasso-never before seen in their entirety-as well as a selection of the artist's prints. The Museum's collection reflects the full breadth of the artist's multifaceted genius as it asserted itself over the course of his long and influential career.

2 comments:

rob miller visual artist said...

Contrary to your article 'Landscape Painting' has a long and excellent tradition in Spanish art equal to any other nation state, Carlos de Haes, El Greco,Joquin, Pablo Picasso, Juame Galicia, to mention a few. Landscape painting remains excellent today with such artists as Aracely Alarcon, Indeed Spanish people have a high regard for landscape art my landscape work as humble as it is was quickly sold to collectors in Marbella and Barcelona when shown and recieved much interest during the 2009 Marbella International Arts Festival. I have had the good fortune to meet some excellent landscape painters in Spain and Portugal.

Katherine Tyrrell said...

Methinks you're quibbling in the main with the Guiggenheim Museum not me! :)

The comments in the article relate to art history in Spain rather than any sort of comment on the contemporary art scene in Spain. I'm quite sure there are some excellent landscape painters in Spain today.

Also the distinction between landscapes as backgrounds to religious paintings as opposed to 'pure' landscapes.

I don't think the Guggenheim is saying that there is no landscape painting in Spain - just that it is much less prevalent than elsewhere ie its argument is about relativities not absolutes

I also went though a lot of Picasso images before I wrote the article and it became very clear to me that landscapes are a tiny percentage of his total output. So yes, Picasso painted landscapes BUT he can't be described as a landscape painter or even a major landscape painter in the same way that we might describe other artists as landscape painters. Simply because he painted very few.

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