Barcelona, a factory of self-portraits

Picasso declared that 'Painting isn't a question of sensitivity; we need to usurp power; we need to take the place of nature instead of depending on the information she offers us'. From very early on, Picasso established a highly personal mode of self-representation, as a result of which his first self-portraits eluded the imitative quality of the genre, dispensing with his real physiognomy.

This first area of the exhibition analyses the self-portrait by focusing on the face, the most prominent feature in his early production. Some of the works still reveal the artist's academic training, as exemplified by the ochres that filled his palette at the Llotja art school, although we also come across anti-academic methods that betray a strong personality. This initiation process is characterised by the need for self-assertion and a great command of draughtsmanship. Most of the self-portraits of his youth were produced in Barcelona, where he arrived at the age of thirteen, and this early period was the only one during which self-portraiture formed a substantial part of his oeuvre.