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VELÁZQUEZ, A REFERENCE FOR PICASSO
Historical documentation

The admiration Picasso felt for Velázquez’s work is apparent throughout his career, and there are a number of testimonials to this in the Museu Picasso in Barcelona.

Pablo Picasso was impressed by Velázquez’s Las Meninas from the time of his first visit to the Museo del Prado in the summer of 1895, though at that time he was more interested in two portraits of marginal figures at the court of Philip IV. Witness to that visit to the Prado are his copies of The Buffoon Calabacillas and El Niño de Vallecas. During this period Picasso immersed himself in the tradition of Spanish Golden Age portraiture in several of his self-portraits, though the most direct allusion to Velázquez is in his Portrait of Aunt Pepa Malaga, 1896<br />Oil on canvas<br />57,5 x 50,5 cm<br />MPB 110.010, stylistically indebted to Velázquez’s Old Woman Cooking Eggs.

When Picasso was enrolled in the Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando in Madrid in 1897-1898, he spent much of his time making copies at the Prado. For example, he painted the Copy of a portrait of Philip IV Madrid, 1897-1898<br />Oil on canvas<br />54,2 x 46,7 cm<br />MPB 110.017, a representation in oils of Lake in El Retiro that seeks to capture the atmosphere of Velázquez’s landscape studies of the Villa Medici, various sketches of court portraits and the Sketches of works by Velázquez, in which we find a copy of The Fable of Arachne, a small sketch of Las Meninas and an equestrian portrait of Philip IV. With Picasso, the ‘deformed’ and marginal characters so dear to Velázquez and his contemporaries give way to figures of the night and circus performers, such as La Nana París, 1901<br />Oil on cardboard<br />102 x 60 cm<br />MPB 4.274.

Velázquez’s influence is also apparent in the work Picasso produced after the Spanish Civil War. Between 1938 and 1939 -shortly after the Spanish government appointed Picasso honorary director of the Museo del Prado- Picasso painted the three portraits of Jaume Sabartés in the character of a 17th-century nobleman and, between August and December 1957, at La Californie (Cannes), painted the series Las Meninas. The presence of Velázquez can also be felt in various representations of musketeers -such as the oil Seated Man 1969<br />Oil on cardboard<br />129 x 65 cm<br />MPB 112.867 - which is very close to the portrait of Don Pedro de Barberana y Aparregui- and the numerous etchings in which these personages appear.

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Picasso
Sketches of works by Velázquez
       

Reinas e Infantas Velázquez: un referente para Picasso Variaciones s.XX: iconografia Variaciones s.XX: el espacio Variaciones s.XX: el reflejo