Film: Young Picasso

Film: Young Picasso

Young Picasso is a new film focusing on the early life of the great Pablo Picasso. Directed by Phil Gabsky, it traces the journey of a boy from southern Spain who became one of the world's most acclaimed artists

Bullfight, pastel, 1900. Well Museo del Can Ferrat in Sitges
Young Picasso, filmed over two years, is on limited release from 5 February in 250 cinemas across the UK which include the major chains such as Odeon, Vue, Curzon, Picturehouse, Empire and Everyman, as well as independent cinemas. Screenings can be found here. Pictured above: Bullfight, pastels, 1900. On display in the Museo del Cau Ferrat, Sitges
Pablo Picasso is one of the most famous names in art history,  yet few of us know anything about his early life and his training in art.
Exhibition On Screen, the award-winning cinematic series that explores the biographies of our most revered artists, returns with Young Picasso. Directed by Phil Grabsky, the film is an extraordinary detective story that looks in detail at how a young boy from southern Spain to rose to such heights. Three cities play a key role in Picasso's journey - Málaga, where he was born, Barcelona, and Paris - and Young Picasso explores the significance of each.
Grabsky worked in close collaboration with five major European museums: the Museo Picasso Málaga and Fundación Picasso-Museo Casa Natal Málaga, the Museu Picasso de Barcelona, where the most extensive collection of the artist's early works is held; the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, Barcelona and the Musée National Picasso in Paris, the city Picasso called home. Young Picasso offers unique insight into the masterpieces at each of these institutions, with insight from historians, curators, letters from friends and lovers, and Picasso’s grandson Olivier Widmaier Picasso.
The Acrobat Family, 1905, gouache on paper
La Vie, 1903, oil on canvas, Cleveland Museum of Art, OH, USA
Picasso in 1904
Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, 1907, oil on canvas

Director Phil Grabsky says what fascinated him was to find out about Picasso's early life: 'What role did his birthplace, his parents, his schooling, contemporary history, other artists, luck, all play? Above all, how important were the extraordinary cities of Barcelona and Paris in Picasso’s youth? Just how did he manage to arrive at a point in his mid-twenties where this lad from Malaga had changed art history for ever?

'I've been making films for 30 years and have always sought to entertain and inform an audience. You have to do both. I am the audience – I may know next to nothing about a subject when I start but I am curious: I want to know more. Just like everyone who comes to the cinema. I don’t, however, want to be lectured in a dry, dusty way. I want great ultra HD images, a commissioned score, an extensively researched but easily understood narrative, the world’s experts, and a good look at the artwork. That’s what EXHIBITION ON SCREEN does.
'Everyone who watches this film will recognise paintings that, as posters or postcards, are on friends’ and family walls. There are also dozens you won’t have seen before. The great revelation is that Picasso had a very specific path before he struck out on a unique and remarkable journey.  He is the most staggering of artists and anyone interested in great art  will come away from the film with renewed respect for Picasso.'
Filmed over two years, Young Picasso examines two critical periods in his life, the Blue and Rose Periods, but doesn't overlook the years before which though much less well-known, were absolutely formative. The film culminates at the Museum of Modern Art in New York where Les Demoiselles, painted when Picasso was just 25, has been on permanent display since the 1930s. Scorned and maligned when he unveiled it, this painting is today considered groundbreaking.