Pablo Picasso is not exactly remembered for his commitment to custom, nor his adherence to one artistic medium. It might seem strange, then, that the National Portrait Gallery has chosen portraiture—the most traditional of forms—as the basis for its upcoming exhibition of the artist’s work, opening today.
The result is pleasantly surprising. Arranging 75 of Picasso’s portraits in chronological order, the show—emphasizing the dazzling breadth of Picasso’s work—offers a sweeping visual journey through his career, during which he dabbled in symbolism, pioneered the Cubist movement, worked in collage, and experimented with surrealism.
In testament to Picasso’s insatiable desire to innovate, the Gallery has commissioned Spanish jeweller Patricia Nicolás to create some pieces to accompany the exhibition. Known for her conceptual style that playfully treads the boundary between fashion and art, she recently designed a range to mark Vogue’s 100th birthday, featuring lip-shaped bracelets and earrings, all crafted out of blood-red plastic. For this show, Nicolás has produced a similarly abstract collection, the stand-out of which is a pair of oversized earrings, which combine the aforementioned lips with a glaringly green evil eye, and dangling recreation of a nose.