Malaga: Art in the Sun; another Picasso on the back of a painting


The dream seaside holiday spot is best known for its beautiful beaches, breath-taking coastline, and sparkling sea, but it is also gaining a growing reputation as a fascinating cultural destination. In between dips in the deep blue Mediterranean, visitors can also enjoy more than a few masterpieces. With summer upon us, we thought it was time for a quick tour of the Spanish city’s must-see museums.

Nestling in the exquisite 16th-century Buenavista Palace in Malaga, the Museo Picasso is without a doubt the museum to see in Malaga. Naturally, since the famous painter was born here in 1881. The museum was created at the behest of Christine Ruiz-Picasso, the wife of Picasso’s first son. Picasso’s heir gifted 133 works, including oil paintings, sculptures, ceramics, works on paper, and prints, to the city. Her son, Bernard Ruiz-Picasso followed suit, donating a further 22 works to the Andalusian harbour town. While the museum does not boast the biggest number of works by the famous painter, the setting is captivating and the temporary exhibitions well worth seeing. It is also a tribute to the artist’s own wishes, since he dreamed of exhibiting in his hometown.

The next stop on Picasso’s trail is his birthplace. The Picasso Foundation has recreated a 19th-century apartment in the building on the Plaza de la Merced. Several more of his works are housed here.

You only have five years to visit the Centre Pompidou Malaga so why not get started this summer? On March 28th, the first foreign Centre Pompidou was inaugurated in “El Cubo”, a 363 sq. m building topped with a multi-coloured cube by Daniel Buren that is located in the marina.  So what can you see here? Ninety-or-so works on loan from the Centre Pompidou in Paris, including works by Frida Kahlo, Francis Bacon, Georg Baselitz, René Magritte, Alberto Giacometti, and – of course – Picasso. Even in the middle of the financial crisis, Malaga is focusing on culture with increasingly ambitious museums.

There is also plenty of ambition near the old central market. The CAC, or Centro de Arte Contemporáneo, opened here in February 2003. Its 2,400 sq. m of exhibition space are dedicated to 20th-century art and features works by the likes of Louise Bourgeois, Olafur Eliasson, Damien Hirst, and Thomas Struth. This summer the CAC is running a temporary exhibition on the works of Shepard Fairey. Your Eyes Here includes over 300 works by the American artist.

Or, if you prefer the work of Spanish artists such as Francisco de Zubarán, Raimundo Madrazo ou Julio Romero de Torres, you would probably enjoy the impressive private collection of the Thyssen family in the Museo Carmen Thyssen. Here you will mostly see the works of 19th-century artists. The collection took up residence in the 16th-century building in 2011.

Malaga’s fascination with culture is unlikely to stop here, what with the new Malaga Museum about to open and a Russian museum close on its tail. 

Useful information:

Museo Picasso, Palacio de Buenavista, Calle San Agustín, 8, 29015 Málaga. Open 7 days from 10.00 a.m. to 8.00 p.m.
Fundación Picasso Málaga | Casa Natal, Plaza de la Merced, 15, 29012 Málaga. Open 7 days from 9.30 a.m. to 8.00 p.m.
Centre Pompidou Malaga, Pasaje Doctor Carrillo Casaux, s/n Muelle 1, 29016 Málaga. Open Weds-Mon from 9.30 a.m. to 8.00 p.m.
CAC, Calle Alemania, S/N, 29001 Málaga. Open Tues-Sun from 10.00am to 2.00 pm and from 5.00 p.m. to 9.00 p.m.
Museo Carmen Thyssen, Calle Compañía, 10, 29008 Málaga. Open Tues-Sun from 10.00 a.m. to 8.00 p.m.

————–20130227cklist-promo1Found in the Picasso museum in Barcelona:  the conservation team had just started a lengthy restoration project focussing on early works by the Catalan master when they made an astonishing discovery on the back of a portrait of his mother. The charcoal drawing was executed in 1896, when the creator of Guernica was a mere 15 years old and it already bears signs of the artist’s latent talent.