The Queen And Picasso's Art

When the Queen was given a private view of a Picasso retrospective, no one actually expected her to say: "Why does he want to put two eyes on the same side of the face?" The Queen's puzzled response to the work of one of the most influential figures in 20th-century art was recorded by the exhibition's curator, Sir Roland Penrose. The Queen was baffled by Picasso's cubist technique in art such as Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, Guernica and the portrait of his mistress, Dora Maar. "Why does he use so many different styles?" she is said to have asked at one point. Prince Philip, however, was more forthright: "These are the ones that make me feel a bit drunk, I'm afraid." Sir Roland was pleasantly surprised by the Queen's reaction. "To my delight she went in with an enthusiasm that increased with each step," he wrote to Picasso. The Queen, he said, was particularly taken with a still-life sculpture depicting Gruyère cheese and a sausage. "Oh, how delightful," she said. "I wish I could make things like that myself." Prince Philip, meanwhile, appeared less animated. "Do realise, darling, there are 270 paintings to see and we have hardly begun." For the full story - click the title Irish Art