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The Culture Vulture

About cultural things: music, dance, literature and theatre.

PICASSO for free in Málaga
Monday, October 17, 2022 @ 3:16 PM

Pablo Picasso - Wikipedia, la enciclopedia libre

Málaga City was the birthplace of Pablo Ruiz Picasso, one of the world’s most famous artists. He was born on 25 October 1881. He died at the age of 91 in Mougins, France on 8 April 1973.

There are two museums dedicated to this painter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist and theatre designer who spent most of his adult life in France.

Málaga also has the Carmen Thyssen Museum which is home to many great collections by famous artists. It also hosts visiting exhibitions, currently by Belgian artists including René Magritte. That lasts until 5 March 2023.

There is also the Pompidou Museum in the revitalised port.

The good thing about all of these places is that admission is not expensive; it’s even free on Sundays and some bank holidays.

The Culture Vulture and three friends recently spent a Sunday in this somewhat under-rated city. Here’s his report.


Did you know that you can visit two locations in Málaga dedicated to the Málaga-born artist Picasso free of charge? You can also visit the Carmen Thyssen Gallery without paying.

From 4.00 pm on Sundays entrance to Picasso’s Birth House and the Carmen Thyssen Museum is free for all. Entrance to the Picasso Museum is also not charged for the last two hours on Sundays.


Pablo Ruiz Picasso

One of the most influential artists of the 20th century, Picasso is known for co-founding the Cubist movement, the invention of constructed sculpture, the co-invention of collage, and for the wide variety of styles that he helped develop and explore.

Among his most famous works are the proto-Cubist Les Demoiselles d'Avignon (1907), and the anti-war painting Guernica (1937), a dramatic portrayal of the bombing of the Basque town Guernica by German and Italian air forces during the Spanish Civil War.

Picasso's work is often categorised into periods. While the names of many of his later periods are debated, the most commonly accepted periods in his work are the Blue Period (1901–1904), the Rose Period (1904–1906), the African-influenced Period (1907–1909), Analytic Cubism (1909–1912), and Synthetic Cubism (1912–1919), also referred to as the Crystal period.

Much of Picasso's work of the late 1910s and early 1920s is in a neoclassical style, and his work in the mid-1920s often has characteristics of Surrealism. His later work often combines elements of his earlier styles.

Exceptionally prolific throughout the course of his long life, Picasso achieved universal renown and immense fortune for his revolutionary artistic accomplishments, and became one of the best-known figures in 20th-century art.

In the early 1900s, he moved between France and Spain before finally settling in Paris in 1904. He was never to return to Spain, since he was ideologically and politically opposed to General Franco and after the dictator’s death in 1975, it never happened.


Culture for free

On our recent cultural day, we decided in the end that the Picasso Museum would be too much and planned to do his Birth House (Casa Natal) and the Belgian Artists at the Carmen Thyssen.

We arrived 15 minutes early for free entry to Picasso’s Birth House in Plaza de la Merced, so we had time for a drink and a tapa. We chose the most authentic Spanish-looking bar and sat on its terrace for around 30 minutes. Out of interest the prices were about double what we would pay up in the mountains around Ronda.

We enjoyed our visit to Picasso’s Birth House. There were a large number of never-before-seen works by him along with photos, furniture, artefacts and explanatory texts in both Spanish and English.

It was very impressive and well worth the admittance charge of 0 euros.

We then set off on foot to the Carmen Thyssen. It was hot and sticky and the old part was choc-a-bloc with tourists.

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When we got there the queue was massive. Bad timing; the Belgian Art Exhibition was new and so everybody wanted to be the first to see it. We decided to forgo the experience and consoled ourselves in the adjacent museum shop. They had some nice stuff. I particularly liked some cushions depicting designs by Magritte, but as they cost 45€ each I decided not to bother. By the way similar cushions, showing Picasso images in the Picasso shop, cost an eye-watering 95€!


Other free stuff

We decided to amble back through the Casco Antiguo past the Cathedral and the Roman Amphitheatre, both free to view.

We popped into Málaga’s most famous old bar, El Pimpi, and admired the décor. We felt lucky to find a free table outside but after waiting for 20 minutes without a waiter coming near us, we decided to move on and found a lovely little place tucked away up a side street in the shadow of the Alcazaba. Cleverly named Alcasabar, we enjoyed a drink and a couple of tapas each. Just 70€ including tip. Blimey! El Pimpi would probably have cost even more!

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Then it was back to our hotel in Torremolinos for a farewell drink with our two guests before retiring to bed and before their taxi to the airport came at 5.00 am!

Although the day did not turn out quite as we planned, we still had a fabulous time, largely for free. What we saved on admission charges we spent on food and car parking, however.

We’ll be back before long to see if the queue at the Carmen Thyssen is any shorter.


Further reading:


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