Pablo Ruiz Picasso was born in Malaga, and the Mediterranean city is still proud of that. The father of cubism lived the first 10 years of his life in the capital of the Costa del Sol. When traveling to Málaga, don’t settle for seeing the typical places that honor the artist; delve further into the city that was the artist’s birthplace, it will be worth it.
Picasso was born in Plaza de la Merced. His birthplace takes you back to the end of the nineteenth century, to his childhood. A documentation center, art collections and the ‘birth museum’ are now located on this site. An excellent starting point for a search for the artist’s origins.
Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Ruiz y Picasso: a mouthful – this is the name by which the artist was baptized in 1881 in the Iglesia de Santiago.
This is the first Christian church built in the city after the Reconquista. There used to be a mosque on this site, some Islamic elements are still visible in the now Catholic church.
Picasso’s father, Josã Ruiz Blasco, was an art professor at the School of Fine Arts in Málaga called San Telmo. The building currently houses a cultural center. This was undoubtedly Pablo Picasso’s first contact with classical studies that his father taught him from childhood. Although he never made any progress in this place, the influence of this school was always present in his evolution as an artist.
Old Municipal Museum
The Old Municipal Museum in Málaga was another space where Picasso learned the noble craft of painting from his father. José Ruiz was curator of the museum and had his workshop there. The museum space was located in the Convento de San Agustín de Málaga in the historic center next to the palace that today houses the Picasso Museum.
Port of Malaga and the historic city center
Although Picasso had to leave the city at the age of ten, the influence of Málaga has remained in the artist’s work. When you delve into Malaga’s historic city center and feast your eyes, you may better understand the “Málaga spirit” that permeated the artist throughout his life and is reflected in Cubist works featuring traditional Andalusian still lifes and paintings of flamenco dancers. In town you can still buy bottles of Málaga wine (shown in several paintings) and pass the gardens of the Plaza de la Marina to see the sculpture of El Cenachero, a fisherman holding fresh fish in his cenacho (basket) carried through the city to sell it and who Picasso also depicted in his work. Breathe in the air of this beautiful city and take a break in the Plaza de la Merced to watch the fluttering of the pigeons, animals that the painter saw every day from his bedroom window and which are also depicted in his paintings and drawings.
Picasso has dedicated streets, squares and monuments to him throughout Málaga. One of the highlights of the capital of the Costa del Sol, which bears the name of this world-famous artist, are the Picasso Gardens, on the site of the old textile factory La Aurora. There is more than 16,000 square meters of greenery where you can quietly walk and enjoy the surroundings. Here you will also find different types of ficus that are among the largest in Europe.
The Museo Picasso Málaga (MPM) is located in the Palacio de Buenavista on Calle San Augustin. With this place, Pablo Picasso’s wish for his work to be and remain in his hometown has been fulfilled. The more than 250 works in the MPM collection are the result of their transfer by his heirs. This museum encompasses Picasso’s revolutionary innovations, as well as the wide variety of styles, materials and techniques he mastered. They extend from the first academic studies to his vision of classicism, through the overlapping strokes of Cubism, ceramics, his interpretations of the earlier masters and his paintings from the 1970s. An essential place to visit for Picasso fans and art lovers in general.