Brilliant, original, and revolutionary, Pablo Picasso is widely considered one of the most influential artists of all time. Revered for his boundary-pushing and often surrealist artworks, the Spanish artist left an impression everywhere he visited. During a sabbatical in Rome in 1917, however, the tables turned as career and love became intertwined and his life was changed forever. As Hotel de Russie commemorates 100 years since Picasso’s visit with special anniversary celebrations, we look back at his time in the Eternal City and discover how art enthusiasts can experience Rome through his eyes.
In February 1917, Picasso travelled to Rome to design the costumes and sets of poet Jean Cocteau’s ‘Parade’, the first Cubist ballet, performed by the illustrious Ballets Russes. The project enabled the artist, renowned for his paintings, to bring his sketches to life on stage. During rehearsals, Picasso became infatuated with dancer Olga Khokhlova, whom he went on to marry. While the ballet moved to Paris for its premiere, Picasso remained inspired by Italy and Italian classical art for many years.
During his three-month stint in the Eternal City, Picasso visited, and was inspired by, many sites, and numerous well-known attractions – such as Via Margutta, Piazza di Spagna, Trinità dei Monti, Villa Medici, and Piazza Barberini – can be seen in his work from this period. Visit these sites and walk in Picasso’s footsteps with a three-hour personalised tour of Rome, complimentary when booking Hotel de Russie’s special Picasso anniversary package.
While visiting Rome, Picasso stayed at Hotel de Russie, located just a few steps from his former art studio in Via Margutta. Poet Jean Cocteau also stayed at the hotel, in an adjoining room, and the pair were known to lean out of the windows to pick oranges from the garden. This visit inspired the hotel to create the Picasso Suite, designed by Olga Polizzi, Deputy Chairman and Director of Design of Rocco Forte Hotels, to reflect the artist’s signature style. The recently refurbished suite is modern and bright, with yellow and purple tones, and prints of Picasso’s work on the walls. Pay special attention to the handmade tapestry cushions, which are decorated with renderings of popular Picasso works such as Portrait De Dora Maar.
In February 2017 it will be 100 years since Picasso’s life-changing visit to Rome. To mark the occasion, Hotel de Russie is hosting a special anniversary exhibition. Hosted from 24th January to 25th February 2017, it will be dedicated to Picasso’s engraving work. For over a month, art enthusiasts will be able to view a collection of engravings called ‘La Célestine’, which features a number of drypoint works, etchings and aquatints illustrating 16th century satirical tragedies written by Spanish author Fernando de Rojas.
Experience Rome through the eyes of Pablo Picasso with Hotel de Russie’s special three-night anniversary package, which includes a host of Picasso-related activities.