It starts with a book, projected and leafed through, on the walls of the first room: Honoré de Balzac, Le Chef-d’oeuvre inconnu (The Unknown Masterpiece). Ambroise Vollard used thirteen etchings and sixty-six original drawings by Picasso to illustrate Balzac’s work, published a hundred years earlier: the tale of an artist, Maestro Frenhofer, of his attempt to create an absolute masterpiece, of his disenchantment at people’s failure to understand his work, of his suicide. The book was published in 1931. Picasso always denied that he had explicitly produced illustrations for it. Regardless of what he claimed, in these prints and drawings, Picasso speaks for the first time about the artist’s studio, the psychological and symbolic relationship between the artist and his model, and the significance of creation divorced from the modern desire for transformation or the historic memory of art. Here we also find references to the relationship between the bull and the horse, which would later inspire the content of Guernica. Thus begins the long-awaited new exhibition at Palazzo Strozzi, this time dedicated to one of the greatest and most beloved artists of all time: Pablo Picasso! PICASSO AND SPANISH MODERNITY: ninety works by Picasso and other artists, ranging from painting to sculpture, drawing, engraving and film. An outstanding collaboration between the Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi and the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid, that has brought to Florence some celebrated masterpieces such as Woman's Head, Portrait of Dora Maar and The Painter and the Model by Picasso, Siurana, The Path and Figure and Bird in the Night by Miró and Dalí's Arlequin, along with Picasso's drawings, engravings and preparatory paintings for his huge masterpiece Guernica (1937), none of which have been displayed outside Spain in such vast numbers before. The focus of the exhibition is the reflection on Picasso’s influence on Spanish art and his interaction with Spanish artists such as Joan Miró, Salvador Dalí, Juan Gris, Maria Blanchard and Julio González. So, in a way, it’s art reflecting on art, through a selection of works by some of the great masters of modern art. Room after room, the exhibition analyzes the relationships between reality and super-reality in Spanish art, the different approaches and the styles that formed the crucial contribution made by Picasso and by other Spanish artists to the development of modern art, the most original and significant new developments that Picasso and the Spanish masters contributed to the international art scene as a whole. Get ready to be blown away by the room dedicated to the drawings, engravings and preparatory paintings for Guernica, divided in two chapters: “Towards Guernica: the Monster” and “Towards Guernica: the Tragedy”. There’s excitement in the air for those who already know the story behind this incredible masterpiece, and for those who have yet to discover it. With the third version of The Painter and the Model, painted by an octogenarian Picasso, the exhibition ends back where it started – the exploration of the artist figure and the relationship between the artist and his model - symbolically closing the circle. INFORMATION Picasso and Spanish Modernity September 20, 2014 – January 25, 2015 Palazzo Strozzi Florence Opening times Every day 10am-8pm, Thursdays 10am-11pm Tickets 10€, reduced 8.50€ (under 26 and over 65 years old), free for children under 6 Take a look also at the wide range of activities for families, for youth and adults. And the events, inside and outside the Palace.