© Arxiu fotogràfic del Consorci del Patrimoni de Sitges (Ramiro Elena, Martín García, Rocco Ricci) © Santiago Rusiñol, VEGAP, Barcelona, 2010
Picasso versus Rusiñol 2
Cartell anunciador del llibre 'Fulls de la vida', de Santiago Rusiñol, c. 1898. Santiago Rusiñol and Miquel Utrillo. Cromolitografia estampada per Henrich i Cia. Museu Cau Ferrat / Biblioteca Santiago Rusiñol, Sitges
In the Star Wars movie franchise, Anakin Skywalker is portrayed as a young, up-and-coming Jedi.
tutored by Obi Wan Kenobi. Ultimately, Skywalker turns his back on the man he admired and who influenced him so much, and switches to the dark side. While Picasso may never have indulged in any dark arts, he did, according the Museu de Picasso’s latest exhibition, reject his admired mentor, Santiago Rusiñol and move on to bigger and better things—without any of the evil connotations of the Star Wars films.
This exhibition examines the relationship between Picasso and Rusiñol. When the former first came to Barcelona, the latter was already a confirmed and admired figure of Spanish artistic life. The multiple individual portraits Picasso drew of Rusiñol are testimony to the high regard in which the younger artist held him, and also act as a precursor to the evident influence that Rusiñol was to have on his young protégé. The parallels in both men’s lives are striking and the exhibition explores the shared experiences and ideas of both artists, ranging from their respective times spent in Paris, to their experience and depictions of both illness and death. In short, the exhibition goes to great lengths to illustrate the respect in which Picasso held Rusiñol but also the massive influence the latter had on his work.
Nevertheless, perhaps the most intriguing section of the display is the final part. In effect, Picasso’s last depictions of Rusiñol show him being sodomised by two allegorical figures in a sketch entitled ‘La Gloria – critico/a’, which epitomises the change in fortunes of both men. Picasso had overtaken his master and gone on to achieve worldwide fame and recognition and it is this reversal of hierarchy that seems to disturb Picasso so much, this fall of the mighty and failure of the brave.