Picasso 50 years on: the Spanish exhibitions celebrating the artist's life

Fifty years since Picasso's passing, exhibitions around Spain delve into the artist's life, including following the chronological evolution of his work and exploring his muses and friendships, from El Greco to Miró. We've picked six not to miss this year.

By Karlina Valeiko
Published 15 Mar 2023, 09:00 GMT
From Barcelona to Bilbao, numerous exhibitions will take place across Spain in 2023 to celebrate Picasso's ...

From Barcelona to Bilbao, numerous exhibitions will take place across Spain in 2023 to celebrate Picasso's life and work.  

Photograph by Alamy

The Ages of Pablo

From 21 June to 1 October, follow a chronological and stylistic journey through Picasso’s work at Málaga’s Museo Casa Natal Picasso, the house where he was born in 1881. The exhibition will showcase everything from paintings and drawings to sculptures and ceramics — all organised into key stages of Picasso’s life. Before leaving, be sure to explore the whole building for an intimate insight into the artist’s childhood. 

Picasso and El Greco

Madrid’s Museo Nacional del Prado, the country’s main cultural hub, is where Picasso would look for inspiration during his time at the capital’s Fine Arts Academy, which he briefly attended in the 1890s. Inspiration is also the theme of a new exhibition that, from 13 June to 17 September, will explore the influence of 16th-century Greek artist El Greco on Picasso’s work, as well as the impact this had on the development of the 20th-century avant-garde movement. 


Barcelona’s Museu Picasso and Fundació Joan Miró will join forces to mark both the 50th anniversary of Picasso’s death and 40 years since the artist Miró’s passing. Between 19 October and 25 February 2024, a collaborative exhibition — held simultaneously at both museums — will explore their relationship with Barcelona and celebrate the friendship they maintained throughout their lives, documented in letters and collaborations. 

Matter and Body

This exhibition will move to the Guggenheim Bilbao Museum from 29 September to 14 January 2024 after a four-month stint at the Museo Picasso in Málaga. It focuses on Picasso’s interpretation of the body, specifically in sculptures, which allowed him to challenge perceptions of form and shape. The selection of artwork on display covers a range of styles and materials, from wood to iron and plaster. 

Julio González, Pablo Picasso and the Dematerialisation of Sculpture

Picasso’s ironwork is less well-known than his paintings, but every bit as creative. He sought help from artist Julio González to create a funerary monument for poet Guillaume Apollinaire; this kick-started a collaboration that explored iron as a sculpting material. Hosted at Madrid’s Fundación MAPFRE from 23 September to 8 January 2024, this exhibition documents one of Picasso’s lesser-known artistic ventures. 

The Last Picasso

On at Madrid’s La Casa Encendida from 19 May to 17 September, this exhibition will focus on the last decade of Picasso’s life through some of his final pieces. These works received much criticism at the time; only after the artist’s death were they recognised as a shift into neo-expressionism. Presented through the eyes of contemporary artists, the exhibition explores the legacy of Picasso and the influence his art continues to have on modern painters.  

Published in the April 2023 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)

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