This first seminar on the relationship between Picasso and the Mediterranean – promoted by the Institute of Art History in collaboration with the Musée Picasso, Paris – will explore two fundamental aspects of Pablo Picasso’s bond with the Mediterranean world: his discovery of objects from the distant past, and his journey in Italy in 1917. The hidden prehistoric, archaic and ancient past, as the artist found it in museums, but also at Pompei or the Roman Forum, was a key element in the process of constructing his imaginative world.
Picasso was influenced both by the specific sculptural features of these objects and the descriptions of them: the way they were presented and their possible enigmatic aspects for archaeologists and amateurs. As the traces of buried civilisations, they take us on a journey back through time which can presumably reach close to the origins of art. With its ancient Roman ruins or more lively Neapolitan traditions, Italy was thus a country in which to see this ancient culture through its still vital traces and practitioners.
The two-day conference will be the first step in studying Picasso’s Mediterranean cultural background in a tentative exploration of the Spanish artist’s visual history and how he formed his way of seeing.