The exhibition presented at MNAC explores the presence of the Romanesque in Picasso as of bringing out the Picasso in the Romanesque, paradoxical though this may seem.


Texts by Juan José Lahuerta, Emilia Philippot, Eduard Vallès, Gemma Ylla-Català

English / ISBN: 978-84-8043-287-0
Spanish / ISBN: 978-84-8043-289-4
27 x 22 cm
211 colour plates
208 pp. 





A study of Picasso and Romanesque art must necessarily focus on two key moments: the first was in 1906, when Picasso, at a decisive moment in the transformative evolution of his style, spent the summer in the village of Gòsol, in the Catalan Pyrenees; the second was in 1934, when he visited the Romanesque art collections of what is now the MNAC in Barcelona.

This book does not seek to identify any 'direct influence' of the Romanesque on Picasso's art. Quite clearly, borrowings of this kind are not to be found in his work, one of the outstanding features of which is the artist's capacity to transform any possible 'influence' into something else, something different and entirely his own, at the same time both preserving and surpassing the very diverse and never linear sources.

The catalogue is articulated in three closely interrelated parts, each of which deals with a specific aspect of Picasso's relationship with the Romanesque, his discovery of which nurtured his interest in other 'primitive' or ethnographic art in a complex process of intersections and overlaps which culminates in a work as decisive as Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, and explores Picasso's life-long fascination with the theme of the Crucifixion, together with specific details such as the skull, as elements in his work that are of major importance in the Romanesque.

The intention is not to establish a mechanical dialectic between these two moments but to attempt to capture, through the juxtaposing of works by Picasso and mediaeval artworks, the 'family likeness' that can be said to exist between them, or the elective affinities that draw them together, and in so doing propose a reinterpretation of Romanesque art, 'rediscovered' or 'reinvented' in the twentieth century and in effect made modern by this contact. In short, it is not so much a question of demonstrating the presence of the Romanesque in Picasso as of bringing out the Picasso in the Romanesque, paradoxical though this may seem.


Juan José Lahuerta has been Chief Curator of the National Museum of Art of Catalonia in Barcelona for the last 3 years he is currently the Director of the Gaudí Chair at ETSAB at the Barcelona School of Architecture where he lectures in History of Art and Architecture. He has been a member of the Collegio Docenti della Scuola Dottorati del Istituto Universitario di Architettura of Venice and holder of the King Juan Carlos I Chair of Spanish Culture and Civilization at New York University.

He has published many books and essays for journals and magazines, on history of art and architecture in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

He was founder and joint director of the gallery C. R. C. Galería de Arquitectura (Barcelona, 1985-1987) and has been curator of the exhibitions: Dalí. Architecture (Barcelona, 1996); Modern Art and Spanish Magazines (Madrid, Bilbao, 1996); Margaret Michaelis: Photography, Avant-garde and Politics in Republican Barcelona (Valencia and Barcelona, 1998); Universo Gaudí (Barcelona, Madrid, 2002), and Salvador Dalí, Federico García Lorca and the Student’s Residence (Madrid, 2010). He has worked as an adviser to the Reina Sofia National Art Museum in Madrid (2004-2005) and was senior curator for the Picasso Museum of Barcelona (2010-2011).