Our Morning with Picasso

Pablo Picasso, Portrait of Dora Maar, 1937, oil on canvas, 36 1/4 × 25 9/16 in. Courtesy Musée National Picasso, Paris.

This morning, my wife and I, along with our 11-year-old son toured the Picasso Exhibit at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond.  It was well worth the time and effort.

The exhibit was fascinating.  It is arranged by rooms chronologically beginning with Picasso’s “Blue Period” (1905-1905) and continues through to the last works before his death in 1973.  Much of his work reflects the four wars experienced WWI & II, the Spanish Civil War and the Korean War.

There’s far too much detail and far too much to see to describe here.  If you go, take advantage of the audio tour that will give you details of the work and what was going on in Picasso’s life and world at the time the works were completed.

We made the right choice of purchasing our tickets for a morning time slot.  Although our tickets were for 11:00 a.m., we were able to go right on in at 10:30 when we arrived.  Weekends or other special days might not have found us so fortunate.  And yes, tickets are required.  They’re free if your a VMFA member.

But expect long lines and crowds.  I think the success of this exhibit has far surpassed the expectations of the Museum and the city.  That’s a good thing.

If you go, keep in mind these handy tips.

– Do please bring your squalling 2-year-old.  She will always remember the cultural experience and will grasp a deep understanding of interpretive art and design.

– Do feel free to step right in front of me while I’m viewing a painting or sculpture.  No need to even bother to look.

– Finally, do bump into me repeatedly without saying excuse me or acknowledging my presence.

A friend asked me if the exhibit was appropriate for children.  I think so for older children who aren’t going to whine about being drug through the museum.  There are definite sexual themes and images.  But based on your own comfort level and your child’s maturity (or lack thereof) you can spend as much or as little time viewing and discussing those particular works.  

The chance to view these magnificent works is rare, and we are very fortunate to have this exhibit in Richmond.

If you haven’t been, go.  But do it quickly.

Picasso, Masterpieces from the Musée National Picasso, Paris continues through May 15, 2011.

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