Picasso Charges Into St. Augustine with The Bull Series

Posted by: Caryn Best in Local Activities

It was a welcomed mid-week treat when I headed just 10 minutes down the road from World Golf Village to the St. Augustine Visitors Center to view the Picasso Art & Arena exhibition that arrived February 1st.  I love an “art break” for clearing the mind and inspiring creativity, and I didn’t have to trek 30 minutes into Jacksonville to visit MOCA or The Cummer.  My daughter Gracie and I took our field trip after school.

This is the first time this artwork has been shown in the U.S., and St. Augustine is the kick-off stop for its American tour.  It’s also the kickoff event in St. Augustine for the 500th anniversary of the discovery of Florida by Juan Ponce de León, and the first of several exhibitions planned as part of the St. Augustine 450th Commemoration.

The Picasso Art & Arena exhibition features 39 pieces from the Picasso Foundation in Malaga, Spain, including lithographs and ceramics.  For me and Gracie, The Bull series with its 11 lithographs was a highlight.  It illustrates perfectly Picasso’s creative process.  The series starts with a traditional illustration of a bull and “evolves” through his subsequent pieces into a more symbolic, less realistic representation.  Picasso distills the image down to the simplest essence of the bull and the end result is reminiscent of hieroglyphics.  The series is a great example of the artist’s originality, obsessiveness and often child-like approach.

In addition to the art, we also enjoyed the execution of this exhibition.  It’s a small collection so it doesn’t overwhelm.  The displays are thorough and educational.  Gracie loved reading me the Picasso timeline, and the video display showing footage of Picasso working was also engaging whether you’re 12 or 40-something. Of course it also helped that it was another beautiful “winter” day in historic St. Augustine.  The Visitors Center is located directly across from the parking garage so the access is a breeze, and we enjoyed a stroll along St. George Street with a stop for ice cream.  It’s a great outing for the whole family. The exhibition is on display until May 11th.  Enjoy!


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