A Palazzo by the Arno for Picasso

The Palazzo Giulia Rosselmini Gualandi, a magnificent Renaissance mansion on the banks of the Arno, is home to the Fondazzione Palazzo Blu, and is hosting the exhibition “Ho voluto essere pittore e sono diventato Picasso” — I Wanted to Be a Painter and I Became Picasso. This is the first ever show of Picasso’s work in the city of Pisa and it runs from 14 October 2011 to 29 January 2012. The major retrospective brings together some two hundred works, including paintings, drawings, ceramics and etchings, and traces Picasso’s output from 1901 to 1970. The show has been organized and coordinated by the Giunti Arte Mostre e Musei cultural council, and was curated by Claudia Beltrami Ceppi.

Entrance to the exhibition with the Leaning Tower in the background

Here at the Museu Picasso we have contributed by loaning 58 linocuts and providing scientific and technical advice, both on the selection and display of works and on the expository discourse. The prints from our collection are on show as a unitary whole, and also interact with other works to set up a dialogue that facilitates the understanding of Picasso’s technical and stylistic innovations.

During our stay in Tuscany, the organizers gave us more details about the background to the project. On the one hand, the raison d’être of the Fondazzione Palazzo Blu is to help visitors get to know the city, its culture and the many treasures housed in its churches and museums. Many of us have visited the magnificent Piazza dei Miracoli complex, presided over by the Duomo and the famous Leaning Tower, but far fewer have wandered the narrow mediaeval streets and discovered the Vasari sgraffiti on the walls of the Scuola Normale or stepped inside the San Matteo museum, full of treasures from the 12th, 13th and 14th centuries. The exhibitions organized in the Palazzo Blu — Chagall in 2009, Miró in 2010 and now Picasso — aim to attract visitors and encourage them to get to know the place beyond a quick tour of the Romanesque Piazza dei Miracoli.

Setting up the exhibition

On the other hand, the Giunti Arte Mostre e Musei is keen to remedy the historic lack of awareness in Italy of the artistic avant-gardes of the 20th century. In Italy, which abounds in artworks, where you cannot take a step without being dazzled by some superb sculptural or architectural masterpiece or drawn into a museum crowded with exhibits of the highest quality, from Classical antiquity to the middle of the 19th century, it is hard to find collections or museums in which the most recent European art is represented. It is as if 20th-century art movement were limited to the Novecento movement and Futurism. In response to this, the Giunti puts on exhibitions of artists and movements that have shaped the course of art from 1870 up to the present.

The Palazzo Giulia Rosselmini Gualandi

The exhibition “Ho voluto essere pittore e sono diventato Picasso” is the result of the confluence of these two objectives and promises to introduce Pisa to Picasso and attract tourists to the historic heart of the city.

Malén Gual
Conservator of the Collection

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