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Pablo Picasso’s journey from prodigy to 20th century icon revealed a genius whose singular vision captured and probed the deepest complexities of modern life. In this exciting new series from art historian Barbara Isherwood, we’ll examine his extraordinary legacy in relation to his artistic influences, the key events and ideas of his time, and the impact of his many muses and critics. Using vibrant slides and vivid illustrations, we’ll reexamine some of the world’s most breathtaking works of art and put their enduring impact into greater perspective.

Led by art critic and art historian, Barbara Isherwood, the host of ArtSync TV and a frequent lecturer at the School of Continuing Studies, University of Toronto. With an M.A. in Art History and decades of writing and teaching experience, Barbara is an energetic educator who brings infectious passion and clear-eyed analysis to history’s greatest artworks—no boring academic language or opaque artspeak allowed!

Course registration: $49 (Hot Docs Members: $33, $27, Free)

Curious Minds Speaker Series sponsored by

Hollywood Suite

The six lectures in this series are now available to stream. You can access each lecture at your leisure by clicking on links in your confirmation email, or by visiting your My Shows page.

Lecture 1: Picasso Begins!
Many of the signature elements of Picasso’s style have their roots in his early training and youthful experiences in Barcelona and Paris. We will examine how Picasso absorbed the lessons of Old Masters, as well those of his artistic colleagues and the leading lights of Parisian modernism.

Lecture 2: Blue, Red and Raw.
Picasso’s Blue Period, prompted by a friend’s sudden demise, is as resonant today as it was over 100 years ago. In the Rose Period, Picasso turned to the world of acrobats, and caught the eye of collector Gertrude Stein in the process. Then, encounters with archaic Iberian and African art opened the door to unprecedented innovation.

Lecture 3: Cubism.
The first truly radical art movement of the 20th century, Cubism changed the course of modern art. We begin with Picasso’s startling Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, then explore the artist’s partnership with Georges Braque in developing Cubism, the grounding style that was to spread like wildfire among the international avant-garde.

Lecture 4: Tradition and Innovation.
Not content to repeat himself, in the 1920s Picasso surprised his peers by turning “Neoclassical”, designing for the Ballet Russes, and marrying a social-climbing ballerina. Yet even as he hobnobbed with the glitterati Picasso used an innovative Cubist-based vocabulary to express conflicted feelings about his new jet set lifestyle.

Lecture 5: Love and War:
In the 1930s Picasso produced some of his most radical revisionings of the human figure, inspired both by the various women in his life, and the horrors of the Spanish Civil War and Second World War. Many of the strands of his style come together in Guernica, the 20th century’s most celebrated allegory of the tragedy of war.

Lecture 6: Swan Songs.
By the 1950s Picasso was an international celebrity. Although no long swimming in the main current of modern art, in his final decades Picasso was more productive than ever, producing hundreds of paintings, creating original ceramics, and experimenting with prints. Five decades after his death, Picasso is still a force to be reckoned with!

Streaming for all Curious Minds lectures is available worldwide. Need assistance? Visit our FAQ page or email us at [email protected].


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