‘Picasso Prints: Myths, Minotaurs, and Muses’ opens at the Art Museum

"Picasso Prints: Myths, Minotaurs, and Muses" just opened at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.  Credit: Photo by M. Fischetti for Visit Philadelphia
“Picasso Prints: Myths, Minotaurs, and Muses” just opened at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Credit: Photo by M. Fischetti for Visit Philadelphia

Nora Lambert arrived at the Philadelphia Museum of Art with a focus on the art of the Renaissance, but her Curatorial Fellowship took her in an unexpected direction. Curator John Ittmann encouraged her to step out of her comfort zone and explore something a little more modern.

“I generally don’t look at art that was made past the year 1700,” Lambert said. “But when I got here John said, ‘We’re going to fix that.’”

Skipping ahead a few centuries as she pored over the museum’s immense collection of prints, Lambert gradually focused her attention on early 20th-century Europe, and eventually to the prints of Pablo Picasso. The museum holds almost 300 Picasso prints and works on paper in its permanent collection, so even that was a daunting project. But within this alien terrain Lambert soon found some familiar themes emerging.

“Once we decided on Picasso we realized that there was this really interesting theme in which Picasso keeps returning to classical antiquity in a much more deliberate and personal way than I think a lot of people realize,” Lambert explained during a tour of the resulting exhibition, “Picasso Prints: Myths, Minotaurs, and Muses.”

“Most people have no idea that classical mythology was such a huge part of his body of work. So we settled on the topic not just for the alliteration but also because Picasso was very inspired by a trip he took to Italy in 1917, which sparked this grand interest in mythology and classical antiquity.”

The exhibition, which includes nearly 50 prints, begins in the 1920s but centers on the 1930s, as the legendary artist began to turn classical themes into ruminations on his own life, adopting the Minotaur as a bull-headed alter ego. Much of the work deals with the love triangle between Picasso, his wife Olga Khokhlova, and his young mistress Marie-Thérèse Walter. At times the three play out scenes from mythology; at others their relationship is depicted as a contorted bullfight.

“Picasso takes antiquity and clearly he’s absorbed everything. He’s just a sponge,” Lambert said. “He takes all this knowledge he’s acquired about ancient art and mythology and infuses it with his personal life. He blends the two and starts to turn his own life into a mythological drama to work out what’s going on in his personal life. And if you know anything about Picasso, he had a very active personal life.”

‘Picasso Prints: Myths, Minotaurs, and Muses’ 
Through Aug. 3
Philadelphia Museum of Art
26th St. and Ben Franklin Pkwy.
$14-$20, 215-763-8100
www.philamuseum.org



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Peter Theo Curtis: American released by Syrian militants…

An American writer freed this week from two years in the captivity of insurgents in Syria spoke briefly outside his family's Cambridge home Wednesday of…

Local

Bratton defends 'broken windows' work as NYPD support…

Sixty percent of those polled said they support the "broken windows" theory approach popularized by Commissioner Bratton since his first term in the 1990s.

Local

Transit changes for Labor Day weekend

The MTA is adding additional service Friday for New Yorkers getting out of the city for the long weekend. On Friday, Aug. 29, 27 additional…

Local

Marshals, cops arrest fugitive after shootout in Queens

Federal authorities arrested a fugitive hiding out in Queens after a shootout with U.S. Marshals and officers with the New York City Police Department.

Television

'Full House' might be relaunched with some of…

A new "Full House" might be in the works.

Movies

Review: 'The Congress' is a crazy, unwieldy sci-fi…

Robin Wright is the center of gravity in "The Congress," which turns from a live-action Hollywood satire into an animated spectacular on a downer future.

Movies

Review: 'The Last of Robin Hood' is a…

Dakota Fanning plays Errol Flynn's (Kevin Kline) teenage gal pal in "The Last of Robin Hood," which takes a scandal and makes it dully empathetic.

Movies

Review: The uneven 'Life of Crime' mostly gets…

Elmore Leonard's "The Switch" becomes the new indie crime dramedy "Life of Crime," with Jennifer Aniston as a kidnapped woman whose husband won't pay up.

College

When are 2014 college football playoffs? (Schedule, date,…

When and where are 2014 college football playoffs? A look at the schedule, date, TV, time for the semi-finals at championship game.

NFL

Dimitri Patterson suspended only for rest of preseason…

Dimitri Patterson ended up getting just a slap on the wrist.

Sports

Eugenie Bouchard excited for 'rowdy' fans at US…

Eugenie Bouchard is sure to endear herself to New York's tennis faithful as she tries to win her first grand slam title across the next two weeks.

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: Angels and A's still at…

MLB Power Rankings: Angels and A's still at top, Nationals climb

Career

Stop eating lunch at your desk

What are you doing for lunch today? If you are like most workers, you'll be eating at your desk - which isn't much of a…

Parenting

Lure your baby to sleep with Maroon 5…

These new renditions of "Moves Like Jagger" and "Payphone" are Maroon 5 like you've never heard them before.

Wellbeing

Who is having the most orgasms?

  Single lesbians report having orgasms more often than heterosexual women but both gay and straight men still come out on top of the climax…

Home

Jonathan Adler shares his tips for a great…

Jonathan Adler took a break from boogie boarding at his beach house to tell us how to keep that Labor Day party festive.