Picasso: Peace and Freedom: Explore

Introduction

Picasso: Peace and Freedom reveals Picasso as a politically and socially engaged artist, actively involved in politics and the Peace Movement during the Cold War. In October 1944 Picasso joined the French Communist Party and remained a member until his death in 1973. His work during this period chronicled human conflict and war but also expressed a deep desire for peace, international understanding and equality.

The exhibition looks at Picasso as a ‘History Painter’, injecting this traditional form of narrative painting with new significance and meaning. It tracks how he followed the success of Guernica 1937 as a political protest painting with a series of ambitious works reflecting events during the Cold War: The Charnel House 1944–5; the War and Peace murals; The Women of Algiers 1954–55; Las Meninas 1957; and The Rape of the Sabines series, painted at the height of Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. The exhibition also explores the historical themes embedded in other important groups of works of the post-war years such as his extended series of still lifes featuring human and animal skulls.

At the core of the exhibition is Picasso’s ‘Dove of Peace’ which became the international emblem of the Peace Movement and a symbol of hope in the Cold War period. Many of Picasso’s works of this period function explicitly as ‘propaganda’ for the Communist cause and the Peace Movement. Twenty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the exhibition provides a timely look at Picasso’s work in the Cold War era and how the artist transcended the ideological and aesthetic oppositions of East and West.

Picasso: Peace and Freedom Room 1: The Charnel House and Paris after the War

Picasso: Peace and Freedom: The Charnel House and Paris after the War

Picasso: Peace and Freedom Room 2: Still Lifes

Picasso: Peace and Freedom: Room 2: Still Lifes

Picasso: Peace and Freedom Room 3: The Dove of Peace

Picasso: Peace and Freedom: Room 3: The Dove of Peace

Picasso: Peace and Freedom Room 4: War and Peace

Picasso: Peace and Freedom: Room 4: War and Peace

Picasso: Peace and Freedom Room 5: The Women of Algiers

Picasso: Peace and Freedom: Room 5: The Women of Algiers

Picasso: Peace and Freedom Room 6: Las Meninas

Picasso: Peace and Freedom: Room 6: Las Meninas

Picasso: Peace and Freedom Room 7: Le Déjeuner sur l'Herbe

Picasso: Peace and Freedom: Room 7: Le Déjeuner sur l'Herbe

Picasso: Peace and Freedom Room 8: The Rape of the Sabines

Picasso: Peace and Freedom: Room 8: The Rape of the Sabines

Picasso: Peace and Freedom Room 9: Mothers and Musketeers

Picasso: Peace and Freedom: Room 9: Mothers and Musketeers