30 April 2013

No. 52: Museum of Fine Arts Houston- Spend the Day

No. 52: Museum of Fine Arts Houston- Spend the Day
No. 52 Lite: Museum of Fine Arts Houston - Spend the Evening

Sunday night my friend Martha and I went to the  Museum of Fine Arts Houston to see the Picasso exhibit.

Picasso Black and White encompasses Pablo Picasso's works from 1904 to 1973 in painting, sculpture, and etchings - all in black, white and gray.  I tend to think of Picasso's works in vibrant primary colors so this was a side of his work that I had never really noted before. 

Martha and I had fun playing "Where's the ____?" when we got to the cubist stage of his paintings. As in "Where's the face and the baby?"  or "Where is the bottle?" We could almost always find the nipples on the women if not their noses or mouths. Picasso was big on those nipples. 
We also decided that maybe Picasso had a vision problem or was dyslexic or something. How else could he "see" the world so differently than the rest of us?  I wonder if tests were ever done on him.  Was he a synesthete? It wouldn't surprise me but I can't find any information that says he was. 

Also we discussed what it would have been like to be one of his models. He painted so many women and so few of them were what would be considered flattering pictures.
If you sat for a painting and after hours of posing discovered your nose was on your belly and your nipples were up around your ears, would you be upset?
Your lover sees you as a woman that has been in the food processor for a few go-rounds: is that reason to be concerned?
Obviously it didn't put off too many women as lovers and muses seemed to be in great supply.

Seated Woman (Jacqueline)
Would you be flattered??? 

We got a little history review to boot- I loved being able to Google facts while perusing the artwork. I will say the guards jumped to attention every time I pulled out my phone. Photographs are forbidden so don't even think about using that iPhone for a quickie snapshot. 

What Martha and I learned:
Or re-learned since I am sure we knew some of this already and just forgot:

World War I lasted from 1914-1918.

We are both rereading The Great Gatsby.  So are our daughters. That has nothing to do with the Picasso exhibit but Gatsby was set during the 1920s, the same time period as some of the paintings.

Guernica was a city in Spain that was bombed by the Germans in 1937. It is also the name of a painting that Picasso painted in response to that bombing.

Cubism was a style of painting that lasted from about 1907 to 1914.

Picasso did a great "copy" (maybe interpretation is a better word) of Velazquez's Las Meninas which was amazingly bizarre but definitely referenced the original.  Actually he did a bunch of them - like 58-but only one was here in Houston.
We wished that the museum had a photo of the original on display so that they could be compared. Instead we compared from my tiny iPhone screen- with museum guards on alert!  
I will do what the museum should have done-save you the flipping back and forth.

Las Meninas (Picasso-1957)

Las Meninas (Diego Velázquez- 1656)
Las Meninas:The Maids of Honour

This didn't qualify as "spending a day at the museum" but it was definitely a good start.

No. 52 Lite.

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