A few days ago I had the distinct pleasure of visiting Museu Picasso de Barcelona. Just to be upfront, I have little artistic capability and even less knowledge of art appreciation; however, knowing that Pablo Picasso is one of the most famous artists the world has known, I felt compelled to visit.
Picasso’s father knew early on that his son possessed great talent, and he was keen for his son to extend himself. In preparing for his son’s first entry into an exhibition, Picasso’s father knew the signs of the time and knew what art would attract the judges’ eyes. Therefore, at the age of 13, Picasso’s first piece submitted for public critique adhered to a religious theme, “First Communion”. Whilst the piece did not win the competition, it was noted as a highly commended piece which, at the time, grabbed the attention of the local art world in Barcelona. For me, this is a reminder that young people, when compassionately nurtured and effectively mentored, can occasionally match it with the adults of this world.
In 1897, Picasso was encouraged to move to Madrid and learn from the traditional teachers of the time. As it read from a wall in the museum,
“Convinced he was learning nothing new, he soon rejected the established education system.”
Upon his return, Picasso spent most of his time at “Qautre Gats”, the heart of the artistic and literary world in Barcelona at the turn of the 20th century. This Barcelonian “Avante-Garde” of the time saw Picasso communicate, collaborate and critically reflect with artisits, thinkers, writers and musicians who were experimental, unorthodox and even radical with respect to the arts, culture and society of the time. This for me is a reminder that a “Qautre Gats” approach to contemporary learning will promote the creativity necessary for young people to become creative contributors and innovative problems solvers for a changing world.
Of course, Picasso went on to spend most of his time in Paris where his most of his famous works were produced. However, one cannot underestimate the influence his formative years of learning had on his most famous years as an artist.
Your comments are most welcome.