Earlier in the week we had walked over to the Museo Picasso Malaga to take advantage of their free admission offer for the final two hours of each Sunday. There was a long line-up but even among the crowd seeing the permanent collection of paintings from every period of Picasso’s life was a treat.
Formally trained to paint by his artist father, the earliest pieces on display are typical of the period, such as a portrait of his sister. His early works therefore offer absolutely no hint of the challenges to convention that would surface in the years to come.
Then, on Oct 25, while returning from the quest to renew our SIM cards we happened upon the Museo Casa Natal Picasso. Situated in a plain-fronted townhouse in which Picasso was born in 1881, we could have easily missed it. To be sure we were not simply at an alternate entry for what we had already seen we inquired about the exhibit.
The gal said they were featuring the animals of Picasso, so we decided the theme would be fun and Duncan pulled out his wallet. To our delight, in honour of it being Picasso’s birthday, admission was free for the day. Even more delightful, it was not simply artwork of animals, such as the horses and bulls he famously portrayed, but of his personal pets.
Picasso had kept various creatures - cat, dog, owl, goat, frog and even a monkey - over the years. Wikipedia refers to them as his muses. My favourite Picasso pet is Lump, a Dachshund.
Wikipedia has lots of info about Lump; Picasso once said, ‘Lump, he’s not a dog, he’s not a little man, he’s somebody else.’ Picasso had many dogs, but Lump was the only one he took in his arms. I learned that Lump even suffered the same temporary spinal paralysis that my own beloved pet dachshund Kaiser had back in 1983 or so. Currently, I have a delightful dachshund nephdog named George. So far he’s healthy with no back problems.
So, it is fair to say I was predisposed to like lump best of all the pets. But Picasso looooooved him. So much that Picasso painted 44 studies in his “Meninas” series (based on the Diego Velasquez masterpiece) between Aug. 17 and Dec. 30, 1957 — and Lump substitutes for the original’s hunting dog in 15 of them. Why there were no drawings or paintings of Lump on display in this gallery I cannot say- but I will be searching for them in the museums and online.
BTW, as sedate as a wiener dog’s I am familiar with may be, it’s important to note that “lump” means “rascal” in German.