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Málaga, Spain – Birthplace of Pablo Picasso

 

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Málaga  is a municipality, capital of the Province of Málaga, in the Autonomous Community of Andalusia, Spain. With a population of 568,479 in 2013, it is the second most populous city of Andalusia and the sixth largest in Spain. The southernmost large city in Europe, it lies on the Costa del Sol (Coast of the Sun) of the Mediterranean, about 100 km (62.14 miles) east of the Strait of Gibraltar and about 130 km (80.78 miles) north of Africa.

Málaga’s history spans about 2,800 years, making it one of the oldest cities in the world. It was founded by the Phoenicians as Malakaabout 770 BC, and from the 6th century BC was under the hegemony of Ancient Carthage. Then from 218 BC it was ruled by the Roman Republic and later the Roman Empire as Malaca (Latin). After the fall of the empire it was under Islamic domination as Mālaqah (مالقة) for 800 years, but in 1487 it again came under Christian rule in the Reconquista. The archaeological remains and monuments from the Phoenician, Roman, Arabic and Christian eras make the historic center of the city an “open museum”, displaying its history of more than 3,000 years.

Picasso Sitting
Picasso Sitting Statue

This important cultural infrastructure and the artistic heritage have culminated in the nomination of Málaga as a candidate for the 2016 European Capital of Culture.

The internationally acclaimed painter and sculptor Pablo Picasso, Hebrew poet and Jewish philosopher Solomon Ibn Gabirol and actor Antonio Banderas were born in Málaga. The magnum opus of Cuban composer Ernesto Lecuona, “Malagueña”, is named for the music of this region of Spain.

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The opening of the Picasso Museum in 2003 triggered the city’s cultural rebirth, and visitors are now flocking to this port city which boasts excellent transport, top-class cuisine and fascinating monuments, from Moorish and Roman times through to modern day – while retaining its authentic Andalucian feel. Whether you are visiting from a cruise, a weekend break or as curious Costa del Sol visitors, you will be pleasantly surprised by this intriguing city.

 

Panoramic aerial view of Gran Via, main shopping street in Madrid, capital of Spain, Europe.
Panoramic aerial view of Gran Via, main shopping street in Madrid, capital of Spain, Europe.

Malaga has more museums than any other city in Andalucia; Over 30 at last count – and new ones are opening all the time. Learn about the city through its wine, at the Wine Museum; its social history and customs, from the collection of 19th-century paintings at the new Carmen Thyssen museum; and its famous local personalities, such as the painter Felix Revello del Toro. For more art and design delights, you can visit museums of contemporary art, archaeology or glass; while fashion is covered, together with cars (yes, seriously – it’s a clever gender-balancing combination) at one of the city’s latest openings.

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Welcome To Malaga Signage

CLIMATE

Sea breezes from the Mediterranean coastline regulate the summer heat to a more comfortable level than inland Andalusian towns, while the Malaga Mountains form the perfect barrier to protect the city from colder weather in winter. However, it is still hot in July and August (30C), though mild (minimum of around 13°C) between December and February. Some much-needed rainfall is to be expected in the cooler months, but it usually does not usually last for long.

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BEACHES

Thanks to the year-round magnificent weather you can nearly always go to the beach in Malaga. From family-friendly beaches such as ‘El Palo’ to manmade beaches such as ‘La Malagueta’, there are sandy stretches for everyone on Malaga’s coast.

 

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MONUMENTS

In addition to homage to the great Picasso, other great historic monuments include the imposing Baroque Cathedral, popularly known as La Manquita (One Armed Woman), and the newly restored Roman theatre. High on the hill above the city is the Parador (state-run hotel), which is situated in the Gibralfaro Castle. This is a wonderful place to either stay the night or have a long lunch in these fascinating surroundings, with panoramic views over Malaga city and out across the port to sea.

 

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Pablo Picasso Museum, Malaga

Malaga’s Celebrated Son: Pablo Picasso

Born in Málaga, Spain, in 1881, Pablo Picasso, became one of the greatest and most influential artists of the 20th century and the creator (with Georges Braque) of Cubism. A Spanish expatriate painter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist and stage designer, Picasso was considered radical in his work. After a long prolific career, he died on April 8, 1973, in Mougins, France. The enormous body of Picasso’s work remains, however, and the legend lives on—a tribute to the vitality of the “disquieting” Spaniard with the “sombrepiercing” eyes who superstitiously believed that work would keep him alive. For nearly 80 of his 91 years, Picasso devoted himself to an artistic production that contributed significantly to—and paralleled the entire development of—modern art in the 20th century.

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Birthplace of Pablo Picasso, Malaga
Early Life and Education
Born on October 25, 1881, in Málaga, Spain, Pablo Picasso’s gargantuan full name, which honors a variety of relatives and saints, is Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Martyr Patricio Clito Ruíz y Picasso. Picasso’s mother was Doña Maria Picasso y Lopez. His father was Don José Ruiz Blasco, a painter and art teacher.
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A serious and prematurely world-weary child, the young Picasso possessed a pair of piercing, watchful black eyes that seemed to mark him destined for greatness. “When I was a child, my mother said to me, ‘If you become a soldier, you’ll be a general. If you become a monk you’ll end up as the pope,'” he later recalled. “Instead, I became a painter and wound up as Picasso.”Though he was a relatively poor student, Picasso displayed a prodigious talent for drawing at a very young age. According to legend, his first words were “piz, piz,” his childish attempt at saying “lápiz,” the Spanish word for pencil.
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Picasso’s father began teaching him to draw and paint when he was a child, and by the time he was 13 years old, his skill level had surpassed his father’s. Soon, Picasso lost all desire to do any schoolwork, choosing to spend the school days doodling in his notebook instead.”For being a bad student, I was banished to the ‘calaboose,’ a bare cell with whitewashed walls and a bench to sit on,” he later remembered. “I liked it there, because I took along a sketch pad and drew incessantly … I could have stayed there forever, drawing without stopping.”
Malaguena – Spanish Guitar Music
In 1895, when Picasso was 14 years old, he moved with his family to Barcelona, Spain. where he quickly applied to the city’s prestigious School of Fine Arts. Although the school typically only accepted students several years his senior, Picasso’s entrance exam was so extraordinary that he was granted an exception and admitted. Nevertheless, Picasso chafed at the School of Fine Arts’ strict rules and formalities, and began skipping class so that he could roam the streets of Barcelona, sketching the city scenes he observed.In 1897, a 16-year-old Picasso moved to Madrid to attend the Royal Academy of San Fernando.
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However, he again became frustrated with his school’s singular focus on classical subjects and techniques. During this time, he wrote to a friend: “They just go on and on about the same old stuff: Velázquez for painting, Michelangelo for sculpture.” Once again, Picasso began skipping class to wander the city and paint what he observed: gypsies, beggars and prostitutes, among other things.In 1899, Picasso moved back to Barcelona and fell in with a crowd of artists and intellectuals who made their headquarters at a café called El Quatre Gats (“The Four Cats”). Inspired by the anarchists and radicals he met there, Picasso made his decisive break from the classical methods in which he had been trained, and began what would become a lifelong process of experimentation and innovation.
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Blue Period: ‘Blue Nude,’ ‘La Vie’ and Other Works
At the turn of the 20th century, Pablo Picasso moved to Paris, France—the cultural center of European art—to open his own studio. Art critics and historians typically break Picasso’s adult career into distinct periods, the first of which lasted from 1901 to 1904 and is called his “Blue Period,” after the color that dominated nearly all of Picasso’s paintings over these years. Lonely and deeply depressed over the death of his close friend, Carlos Casagemas, he painted scenes of poverty, isolation and anguish, almost exclusively in shades of blue and green. Picasso’s most famous paintings from the Blue Period include “Blue Nude,” “La Vie” and “The Old Guitarist,” all three of which were completed in 1903.In contemplation of Picasso and his Blue Period, Symbolist writer and critic Charles Morice once asked, “Is this frighteningly precocious child not fated to bestow the consecration of a masterpiece on the negative sense of living, the illness from which he more than anyone else seems to be suffering?” 
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Rose Period: ‘Gertrude Stein,’ ‘Two Nudes’ and More
By 1905, Picasso had largely overcome the depression that had previously debilitated him. Not only was he madly in love with a beautiful model, Fernande Olivier, he was newly prosperous thanks to the generous patronage of art dealer Ambroise Vollard. The artistic manifestation of Picasso’s improved spirits was the introduction of warmer colors—including beiges, pinks and reds—in what is known as his “Rose Period” (1904-06). His most famous paintings from these years include “Family at Saltimbanques” (1905), “Gertrude Stein” (1905-06) and “Two Nudes” (1906).
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Break into Cubism
In 1907, Pablo Picasso produced a painting unlike anything he or anyone else had ever painted before, a work that would profoundly influence the direction of art in the 20th century: “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon,” a chilling depiction of five nude prostitutes, abstracted and distorted with sharp geometric features and stark blotches of blues, greens and grays. Today, “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon” is considered the precursor and inspiration of Cubism, an artistic style pioneered by Picasso and his friend and fellow painter, Georges Braque.
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In Cubist paintings, objects are broken apart and reassembled in an abstracted form, highlighting their composite geometric shapes and depicting them from multiple, simultaneous viewpoints in order to create physics-defying, collage-like effects. At once destructive and creative, Cubism shocked, appalled and fascinated the art world. “It made me feel as if someone was drinking gasoline and spitting fire,” Braque said, explaining that he was shocked when he first viewed Picasso’s “Les Demoiselles,” but quickly became intrigued with Cubism, seeing the new style as a revolutionary movement.
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French writer and critic Max Jacob, a good friend of both Picasso and painter Juan Gris, called Cubism “the ‘Harbinger Comet’ of the new century,” stating, “Cubism is … a picture for its own sake. Literary Cubism does the same thing in literature, using reality merely as a means and not as an end.
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“Picasso’s early Cubist paintings, known as his “Analytic Cubist” works, include “Three Women” (1907), “Bread and Fruit Dish on a Table” (1909) and “Girl with Mandolin” (1910). His later Cubist works are distinguished as “Synthetic Cubism” for moving even further away from artistic typicalities of the time, creating vast collages out of a great number of tiny, individual fragments. These paintings include “Still Life with Chair Caning” (1912), “Card Player” (1913-14) and “Three Musicians” (1921).
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Classical Period
The outbreak of World War I ushered in the next great change in Picasso’s art. He grew more somber and, once again, became preoccupied with the depiction of reality. His works between 1918 and 1927 are categorized as part of his “Classical Period,” a brief return to Realism in a career otherwise dominated by experimentation. His most interesting and important works from this period include “Three Women at the Spring” (1921), “Two Women Running on the Beach/The Race” (1922) and “The Pipes of Pan” (1923).
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Surrealism
From 1927 onward, Picasso became caught up in a new philosophical and cultural movement known as Surrealism, the artistic manifestation of which was a product of his own Cubism.Picasso’s most well-known Surrealist painting, deemed one of the greatest paintings of all time, was completed in 1937, during the Spanish Civil War. After German bombers supporting Francisco Franco’s Nationalist forces carried out a devastating aerial attack on the Basque town of Guernica on April 26, 1937, Picasso, outraged by the bombing and the inhumanity of war, painted “Guernica.” Painted in black, white and grays, the work is a Surrealist testament to the horrors of war, and features a minotaur and several human-like figures in various states of anguish and terror. “Guernica” remains one of the most moving and powerful anti-war paintings in history.
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‘Self Portrait Facing Death’ and Other Later Works
In the aftermath of World War II, Picasso became more overtly political. He joined the Communist Party and was twice honored with the International Lenin Peace Prize, first in 1950 and again in 1961. By this point in his life, he was also an international celebrity, the world’s most famous living artist. While paparazzi chronicled his every move, however, few paid attention to his art during this time.In contrast to the dazzling complexity of Synthetic Cubism, Picasso’s later paintings display simple, childlike imagery and crude technique.
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Touching on the artistic validity of these later works, Picasso once remarked upon passing a group of school kids in his old age, “When I was as old as these children, I could draw like Raphael, but it took me a lifetime to learn to draw like them.” Picasso created the epitome of his later work, “Self Portrait Facing Death,” using pencil and crayon, a year before his death. The autobiographical subject, drawn with crude technique, appears as something between a human and an ape, with a green face and pink hair. Yet the expression in his eyes, capturing a lifetime of wisdom, fear and uncertainty, is the unmistakable work of a master at the height of his powers.
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Death and Legacy
Pablo Picasso continued to create art and maintain an ambitious schedule in his later years, superstitiously believing that work would keep him alive. He died on April 8, 1973, at the age of 91, in Mougins, France. His legacy, however, has long endured.Inarguably one of the most celebrated and influential painters of the 20th century, Picasso continues to garner reverence for his technical mastery, visionary creativity and profound empathy, and, together, these qualities have distinguished him as a revolutionary artist.
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Picasso also remains renowned for endlessly reinventing himself, switching between styles so radically different that his life’s work seems to be the product of five or six great artists rather than just one.Of his penchant for style diversity, Picasso insisted that his varied work was not indicative of radical shifts throughout his career, but, rather, of his dedication to objectively evaluating for each piece the form and technique best suited to achieve his desired effect. “Whenever I wanted to say something, I said it the way I believed I should,” he explained. “Different themes inevitably require different methods of expression. This does not imply either evolution or progress; it is a matter of following the idea one wants to express and the way in which one wants to express it.”
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Personal Life
An incorrigible womanizer, Picasso had countless relationships with girlfriends, mistresses, muses and prostitutes during his lifetime, marrying only twice. He wed a ballerina named Olga Khokhlova in 1918, and they remained together for nine years, parting ways in 1927. In 1961, at the age of 69, he married his second wife, Jacqueline Roque.Between marriages, in 1935, Picasso met Dora Maar, a fellow artist, on the set of Jean Renoir’s film Le Crime de Monsieur Lange (released in 1936). The two soon embarked upon a partnership that was both romantic and professional. Their relationship lasted more than a decade, during and after which time Maar struggled with depression; they parted ways in 1946, three years after Picasso began having an affair with a woman named Françoise Gilot. Picasso fathered four children: Paul, Maya, Claude and Paloma.
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Malaga’s rich and diverse architecture bears witness to the fact that numerous civilizations and cultures held their sway in Malaga at certain points in time. This mixture of different architectural contributes greatly to Malaga’s alluring and unique personality. There are traces of the Roman occupation in monuments such as the Roman theatre. You can also see and appreciate the Muslim contribution in architecture in the Alcazaba and the Moorish-inspired streets and houses. Churches in the Gothic and Baroque traditions abound.
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The Cathedral of Malaga (La Manquita) is one such example of the eclectic mix of architectural styles. It has Gothic basics with Renaissance and Baroque embellishments. Delight in the wonder of Malaga architecture – it is like stepping into different periods in history!
Enjoy the following photos I took when I was walking around those beautiful streets – something Ive never seen before.
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You can see by all the above photos it was a bright sunny day and not forgetting kind of warm too. I really enjoyed my short “stay” in Malaga. I would come back for sure because there is so much I didnt get to see especially the countless museums, and statues all around this heritage sight which of course boasts of a nightlife hard to beat, if youre one of those types. If I was younger, I wouldnt mind spending a night over in this city, because it would be helluva fun! This cruise was a trip to remember because after this we sailed to Barcelona and that is one modern metropolis!. But thats for another time.

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