Monday 27 October 2003 will go down in history in the city of Malaga, as the day when the long-awaited Picasso Museum finally opened to the public.
Pablo Picasso was born in Malaga, in the house in the Plaza de la Merced which is now run as a gallery and museum by the Foundation which bears his name.
Many of the paintings by this genius, who is considered the most influential artist of the 20th century, featured aspects of the city as he remembered it from his childhood, such as the pigeons in the square where he used to play, and the bullfights he watched with his father at La Malagueta.
The inauguration of the museum in the beautifully restored 16th-century Buenavista Palace in Calle San Agustín was a glittering occasion, as members of the artist's family and dignitaries from the local and regional authorities gathered to watch King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofía perform the opening ceremony.
The first temporary exhibition to be held at the MPM (Museo Picasso de Malaga) was called 'El Picasso de los Picassos', and comprised 87 oil paintings and sculptures which the artist had created between 1903 and 1971. It ran until the end of February 2004.
Most of the works on display had been donated by Picasso's daughter-in-law Christine, and grandson, Christine and Bernard Ruiz-Picasso, from their private collections; many had been left to them by Paul Ruiz-Picasso, the artist's elder son. Only three of the works were on loan from elsewhere: 'El retrato de la señora Canals' and 'Las Meninas' came from the Picasso Museum in Barcelona and 'La Celestina' from its counterpart in Paris.
The Picasso Museum of Malaga had been a long time coming to fruition. It was originally Picasso's own idea, which he first discussed with the provincial delegate for Fine Arts, Juan Temboury Álvarez, back in 1953. They even considered creating the museum in the Buenavista Palace, but the project was progressed no further.
During the 1990s, Christine Picasso helped the council to organise two major exhibitions, and it was in 1996 when the idea of a permanent museum was taken up again.
Nowadays, the MPM is the most popular museum in Andalucía, and it was visited by 558,033 people in 2016. In addition to the permanent collection and temporary exhibitions, it also organises educational activities and concerts regularly take place in its auditorium.