Simon sketches how Pablo Picasso, the Andalusian (south Spanish) hedonistic king of Paris' bohemian painting scene, who for decades deliberately created pioneering modern works, far from ... See full summary »

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Episode credited cast:
Pep Brusca ...
Gestapo Officer
Anna Coll ...
Dora Maar
Pep Cortés ...
Picasso
...
Himself - Presenter
Andrea Villalonga ...
Marie Therese
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Simon sketches how Pablo Picasso, the Andalusian (south Spanish) hedonistic king of Paris' bohemian painting scene, who for decades deliberately created pioneering modern works, far from the classical traditions of realistic resemblance (in favor of cubism) and themes serving grandeur or devotion, nor aiming at beauty, while remarkably oblivious of contemporary political context, came to paint Guernica, his giant 1937 evocation of the horror of war in the German Luftwafe (airforce) total destruction of the Basque village of that name. Since Picasso was thematically inspired by his compatriot Goya's nightmarish war images, he visited Spain again in 1934, picking up the motives bull, horse and light-bearer, all to stay with him, and since general Franco started in 1936 a civil war, in which the right-wing Catholic country-based reactionaries, massively aided by Hitler's Nazi Germany and Mussolini's Italy which sent 40,000 troops, bitterly fought modernist urban Marxists' elected ... Written by KGF Vissers

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1 December 2006 (UK)  »

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Political engagement.
15 February 2011 | by (Deming, New Mexico, USA) – See all my reviews

Pablo Picasso made a big splash in the art world in 1920s Paris by eschewing all the subjects previously addressed by artists, the power of the nobility, the beauty of nature and of the human form. He had a lot of babes too, because he was a dark-eyed, soulful-looking celebrity.

He was apolitical until the Spanish Civil War of the mid-1930s when he was drawn into the conflict. Like many others, he was appalled by the Condor Legion's bombing of the little Basque town of Guernica and it produced his best-known painting.

Schama concentrates as much on Picasso's personality and the historical context as he does on the art work. Several pieces are examined, some up close, but they seem of secondary interest to Schama. Quite a bit of politics in this episode, which I think is necessary to understanding Picasso's evolution as an artist.

I never cared much for some of his stuff. I don't get much out of cubism, but then I am a dolt. Some of Picasso's portraits turn the subject into a disorderly pile of Leggos. His more representational paintings leave me cool as well. There seems to be, not just a lack of sentiment -- that would be fine -- but a lack of any emotional involvement at all. Picasso's style is overwhelming and imaginative but it's not really my kind of style.

Aside from some difficulty with the opposite sex, which all of us have experienced, there wasn't that much drama in Picasso's life. He didn't climb out of poverty or anything. He wasn't involved in any duels. However, if someone were to offer me a chance to switch lives with Pablo Picasso, I would have to think it over -- for about two seconds.

A talented genius, famous, rich, on the side of history's angels, and surrounded by beautiful women. Yes, any man would have to give it some thought.


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