There have been reviews of this series, ie, the NYTimes, which state the show is "melodrama, with all the clichés that entails". I have also read reviews by some IMDB members who say their kids can paint a picture like the "stick figure" that was painted by Picasso of Gilot at the end of Episode 5.
Regarding the stick figure comment and that anyone could paint like him, I thought much the same of Picasso when I was in my early 20's, until someone dragged me to the MOMA retrospective in 1981. I walked out of the exhibit with a complete shift, understanding what a genius he truly was and have been fascinated by him ever since. The person leaving that comment/review must also have a knowledge of art much like her child...non existant.
I have made two pilgramages to La Bateau Lavior while in Paris (not much to see but for me exciting), read the 3 John Ricardson biographical volumes about Picasso (the 4th will be the last when published), the Gilot book, plus many many more.
To encapsulize a prolific art changing artist such as Picasso , who lived until his 90s in 10 episodes would seem be difficult to do. To accomplish this while keeping an audience who understands very little about him or art in general, while educating and stimulating an interest in his art and art in general, while holding their attention, would seem even more diffuclt.
I feel the series accomplishes both beautifully. Yes, it is maudalin in parts, and it soap operish a bit, but it does reflect Picasso's soap opera life and how it influenced his art in a very effective manner. Perhaps it concentrates a bit much on the Nazis, making him out to be more political than he was in real life, but a 10 part episode would naturally require tension and conflict, otherwise the general audience will get bored and stop watching.
There are to be sure liberties taken on how he may have been influenced by events or others in his life, but even Richardson take liberties in his biography and interpretations of Picassos work and life.
But hey, Picasso would have loved this, as he often gave different meanings for works to different people, or said he wanted the viewer to attach their own meanings to his paintings.
The condensation of a number of different story threads and ideas about art and the history of art, at the end of episode 5, culminating in Picassos's fnest masterpiece and perhaps the greatest modern painting of all time is thrilling and moving, while placing the importance of the event in relation to his life and art history in a most dramatic way.
I know of no movie that doesn't take liberties with its subject matter. It's what the movies do. And while I know far more of his life than this show presents, it makes what I know more alive.
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