The Art Institute's museum-wide celebration of Picasso is certainly anchored by Picasso and Chicago, but you'll find evidence of the artist in almost every corner of the museum. No fewer than nine curatorial departments have explored Picasso's wide-ranging artistic interests and influences, with some being more familiar than others.
For example, Picasso's affinity for African art is well documented. Paintings like LesDemoiselles D'Avignon (which is not in the exhibition) clearly illustrate how he took inspiration from African masks. In fact, Picasso was an avid—and early—collector of African art. The presentation in our African galleries includes pieces that would have been comparable to works once owned by Picasso. At the time of his death, Picasso had collected some 100 African objects, of which nearly one third were masks from present-day Mali. Many of these Malian masks, including the Art Institute's mask above, depict human-animal hybridity and metamorphosis, themes often explored by Picasso in his work.
Similarly, the museum's Ancient Art department has also taken a look at another of Picasso's influences, although this one is arguably less well-known. In his quest for a modern aesthetic, Picasso looked back in history to the art of the ancient Mediterranean. He studied Greek antiquities at the Louvre, including Cycladic sculptures and Greek vases painted int he black-figure technique. Mythological figures from these pieces appear in works throughout his career. In particular, satyrs—half-man, half-horse creatures driven by insatiable appetites for food, sex, and wine—appear on both ancient Greek vessels and in Picasso's work. In the Art Institute's storage jar, horse-eared satyrs appear on the neck, suggesting that it may once have contained undiluted wine.
Image Credits: Mask for Ntomo. Late 19th/early 20th century. Segou region of Mali. African and Amerindian Art Purchase Fund.
Amphora (Storage Jar). c. 520 B.C. Greek, Athens. Close to the style of the Antimenes Painter. Costa A. Pandaleon Endowment.
1 hour 13 min ago The Art Institute of Chicago TONIGHT at 6:00—Tickets are going fast for tonight’s concert featuring folk musicians Mark Dvorak and Chris Walz. Enjoy songs of the era in celebration of the exhibition America after the Fall: Painting in the 1930s.
18 hours 19 min ago The Art Institute of Chicago Artists in 19th-century Paris went crazy for big cats. ARTicle explores the history around this obsession and some of the works now on view in Lion Hunters: Copying Delacroix's Big Cats.
23 hours 57 min ago The Art Institute of Chicago “Painting depends on ink, ink depends on brush, brush depends on wrist, and wrist depends on the heart and mind.” —Tao Chi
The Inspired Chinese Brush is an installation of traditional Chinese ink paintings showcasing the rich variety of textural effects that could be achieved through careful control of the combination of ink and brushes used in their creation. Tang Yin’s painting Drinking at Night portrays the prominent 11th–century Chinese poet, calligrapher, and governmental official Su Shi drinking alone in a pavilion on a moonlit night. The work gets its name from Su Shi’s poem “Drinking on an Evening in Spring,” which is quoted on the scroll following the painting.
See this painting and the rest of the exhibition on view now in Gallery 134.