Picasso exhibition reveals cubist links to tradition

Fri Dec 5, 2008 7:36am EST
 
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By Kylie MacLellan

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - An exhibition of works by the pioneering cubist artist Pablo Picasso is to be held at Britain's National Gallery next year, exploring his relationship with more traditional western European art.

The exhibition, "Picasso: Challenging the Past," running February 25 to June 7, is the gallery's first dedicated to the Spanish artist and will feature more than 60 of his seminal works, curators said.

Picasso, widely considered to be one of the most influential artists of the 20th century, challenged conventional ideas by breaking the picture surface up into a series of planes and shifting viewpoints.

The exhibition at the National Gallery in London's Trafalgar Square, will focus on enduring themes in European art history, as well as Picasso's own career, with sections including self portrait, still life and nudes.

Picasso was fascinated with art history, and seized on the signature themes and techniques of more traditional painters such as Velazquez, Rembrandt and Cezanne, transforming them into audacious paintings of his own.

Pieces on show include "Nu couche," painted in 1969, which drew influence from works such as Velazquez's 17th century piece "The Rokeby Venus."

One section of reveals how Picasso drew on the tradition of still life works, fragmenting them into the cubist form of intersecting planes.

The final room of the exhibition displays a series of Picasso's "Variations," interpretations of 17th and 19th century masterpieces, transformed for the modern age.

Picasso, along with Georges Braque, is seen by art historians as the founder of cubism. He died in 1973, at the age of 92.

(Editing by Paul Casciato)