Picasso Portraits

The National Portrait Gallery has brought together a fabulous cross-section of the Spaniard’s likenesses of his family, friends and idols which range across most of the 20th century. They begin with early, loosely traditional studies in oil, such as the extraordinary Bibi-la-Puree from 1901,  take in his transition from figurative art to cubism (see the neighbouring portraits of Fernande Olivier), feature marvellous drawings (Stravinsky, 1917), pay tribute to old masters such as Rembrandt and Velazquez, flirt with comic caricatures – the porno take on Raphael is particularly good – and include, of course, wonderfully intimate pictures of his wives, lovers and children. If you have ever doubted Picasso’s genius, this exhibition will put you right. It runs till February 5, so no excuse to miss out.

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