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Tuesday 5 September 2023

Picasso: The Beauty and The Beast on BBC Two this autumn


Pablo Picasso, a luminary of 20th-century art, left an indelible mark on the world through his revolutionary creativity and groundbreaking artistic ventures. However, as the dust settles five decades after his passing in 1973, a new three-part television series emerges to explore the intricate facets of Picasso's life and work. "Picasso: The Beauty and The Beast" dismantles the aura of reverence surrounding the artistic genius, exposing the duality of his character - a mesmerizing creative force intertwined with a darker side marked by cruelty, womanizing, and appropriation.

The three-part series delves into the life of Picasso, weaving a narrative that traverses through his transformative journey during two world wars, periods of shifting artistic styles, and his personal triumphs and tribulations. From the Blue Period to Cubism, neo-Classicism, and avant-garde expressions, Picasso's artistic evolution mirrors the tumultuous century he lived in. The artist's prolific output, encompassing around 150,000 pieces, ranging from powerful depictions of violence and passion to delicate portrayals of beauty and innocence, is explored in depth.

As an artist who captured both the horror and brilliance of the human experience, Picasso's personal life proved equally paradoxical. The series sheds light on the relationships that shaped his world, drawing from rare testimonies of his daughter Paloma and grandchildren Diana, Bernard, and Olivier. These insights, combined with interviews from friends, lovers, art historians, and curators, create a comprehensive portrait of a man whose legacy continues to ignite debates.

Suzy Klein, Head of Arts and Classical Music TV, remarks, "Picasso was a secretive genius - a man who didn’t talk about his inner life but instead poured it out onto the canvas." The series takes on the role of an unflinching observer, disentangling the profound connections between Picasso's personal life and his groundbreaking art. Fifty years after his demise, the critical distance allows for a thorough examination of the intricate relationship between his artistic brilliance and the complexities of his existence.

"Picasso: The Beauty and The Beast" offers viewers unparalleled access to Picasso's personal archives, museums dedicated to his name, and the perspectives of art historians, curators, and contemporary artists. From Frances Morris, former Director of Tate Modern, to Anne Umland, Senior Curator at MoMA, the series brings together experts who have dedicated their lives to unraveling Picasso's enigmatic legacy.

As the series brings together Picasso's masterpieces and his personal life in an unflinching narrative, the enigma surrounding this artistic giant is unraveled. "Picasso: The Beauty and The Beast" examines the intricate balance between Picasso's artistic brilliance and the darker shades of his character. With deep dives into his relationships, influences, and the societal contexts of his time, the series leaves no stone unturned in its quest to reveal the full spectrum of an artist who was as much a beauty as a beast.

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