I went to the Picasso and Modern British Art exhibition which opened at Tate Britain in London this weekend.This show explores his influence on British art and it includes work by Picasso,
Ben Nicholson, Henry Moore, Francis Bacon, Graham Sutherland
David Hockney. I thought it would be equally balanced but there is a lot of Picasso and each of the other artist has a room or half a room of their own.
I took my sketchbook to draw there although it was almost impossible to do so with all the bustling crowds (the show opened the day before). It was particularly interesting to see the painting "
Nude, Green Leaves and Bust" which was painted by Pablo Picasso in 1932 and based on his muse, Marie-Therese Walter. The painting became the most expensive in the world when it was auctioned in New York by Christies in 2010, selling for for $106.5m (£65.5m). I didn't go too close to it in case I bumped it! (My sketch of it is above).
I did enjoy drawing there and thought it would be easy to draw the cubist portraits because they were all a bit distorted, but that's where I was wrong. Once I started drawing them I realised quite quickly quite how skilful they are, particularly the fact that Picasso's lines are so confident and smooth.This is actually something I found was tricky to do. I found myself drawing rather hesitantly in comparison.The rhythms in the
Nude, Green Leaves and Bust and how they all interrelate are amazing.
Looking at some of Picasso's portraits I found my brain bypassing the fact that they don't look like
photos of someone or like a realistic portrait. I felt you really do get the 'sense' of the sitter and their likeness from the paintings.The drawing I did on the left was very interesting for me to do. I realised if I got a line slightly in the wrong place it actually stopped looking like the sitter.
There is something quite shocking about some of the shapes Picasso came up with. Although he often paints shapes that are really unusual in the painting, I noticed he often seems to light these forms in very straightforward way with directional and bounced light. This occurred to me this whilst I drew from the painting (below).
To be honest I came out of the show feeling quite inspired. I've added a few other drawings I drew from Picasso's paintings below. I have changed the colours a bit.
There were some drawings by Francis Bacon in the exhibition also, as far as I know these are really rare, I can't recall ever seeing any drawings by him before. They were violent and exciting, done in the 1930's long before he became famous. Also there is a great Hockney of a Harlequin.
See here for more details on the show: