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  • Writer's pictureNick Pike

'Picasso on Paper' - Art exhibition at Compton Verney

My girlfriend Rita and I decided to visit the 'Picasso on Paper' art exhibition at Compton Verney last Sunday. This is a fascinating look into Pablo Picasso's appetite for creativity. To some degree, you could say he was the ultimate representation of an artist; he literally did whatever he felt like, in his art studio, public and private life (though he doesn't quite fit the shy introvert stereotype!).

Arguably the most famous artist of the 20th Century, Picasso created so much artwork that his ventures in the realm of printing methods are lesser known. The exhibition shows the artist's journey into etching, lithography, aquatint and linocuts.

One of the most interesting parts of the exhibition is a display of Picasso's poetry, combined with his prints. These excerpts are taken from a book limited to just fifty copies! Below is a translation of one of the poems in the exhibition:

All the filthy jumble of the cacophony of the dazzling lights, projected onto the ochre print of the face filled with excrements of the huge drum ringing out the crying clouds, wound opening showing its teeth in the opening of the well enveloping the flesh which melts the bones hammered into the clay and the untidy hair of her braids, lifting her arms, the pieces of broken windows stuck to the temples of the tick tock of restless clocks of the seaweed and the signs and the defeated curtains by the amorous blows of perfumes and the painful groans of the crushed flowers, exit the wheels, the hands parting the water which stands on the table and the crumpled music of the laundry calling

My favourite print from the exhibition is Picasso's reinterpretation of 'David & Bathsheba' by Lucas Cranach the Elder; an artist we had discovered just half an hour previously to entering the Picasso on Paper exhibition at Compton Verney's main art collection.

The print shows great characterisation of the figures and retains a dark drama despite amplifying the hats to canoe size and flipping the original image.

Picasso received no formal training in printing methods and sometimes had little patience when it came to processes he deemed boring. Instead of using separate linoleum blocks for each colour, he began re-cutting the same block - a risky approach but essentially a simpler and less time consuming method.

Also included in the exhibition is a guided tour and a feature length film of Picasso painting..

The very enlightening and inspiring 'Picasso on Paper' art exhibition is currently on now until Sunday 11th December.

My next blog will go behind the story of 'Picasso's View'; a painting I did from my visits to Montmartre and currently displayed in the French Restaurant L'Artisan in Cheltenham.

Follow the link for more Parisian paintings.

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