April 2, 2010  |  Tech
Prints and the Web—Introducing Picasso: Themes and Variations
Picasso Prints

Screenshot of the Picasso: Themes and Variations website

When you think about printmaking, the Web may not be the first thing that comes to mind. You may envision instead old etching presses, or heavy lithographic stones, or stacks of paper waiting to hit the press. But in fact, MoMA’s Prints Department has long been interested in using the Web as a way of sharing information: using animated, interactive multimedia components as a way to make the material come alive. Our online projects are all available on, from our earliest experiments all the way back in 1998 with Miró’s Black and Red Series

Joan Miró

Screenshot of the Joan Miró: Black and Red Series website

…to our go-to site: What Is a Print,

What Is a Print?

Screenshot of the What Is a Print? website

which has been used all over the world as a means of illustrating different printmaking techniques, to recent exhibition sites like Eye on Europe

Eye on Europe

Screenshot of the Eye on Europe website

Each one offers a great way to experience MoMA from the comfort of your own home!

Just this week, we’ve launched our latest (and possibly greatest) online project, Picasso: Themes and Variations, which expands on the eponymous exhibition in MoMA’s galleries. Picasso made over 2,400 prints over the course of his career, working in a variety of techniques. Each time he approached a new printmaking process, he found a renewed sense of energy that pushed his creativity to new places. The site presents about 250 prints from over 1,000 in the collection, providing a window into Picasso’s work overall and allowing you to delve into his printmaking in different ways, from looking at different subjects and themes in his work, to tracing his development through different styles and periods or examining his creative process through evolving states of different compositions.

Picasso Prints

Screenshot of the Picasso: Themes and Variations website

Like all our previous sites, Picasso: Themes and Variations represents a collaboration between the print department, MoMA’s Digital Media wizards, and a Web-design company—in this case the amazingly creative For Office Use Only. One of the fruits of this particular collaboration is a don’t-miss section on Comparing Techniques—it’s an interactive drag-and-drop interface that allows you to compare works in different techniques, and really zoom in to see the differences between, say, a fuzzy drypoint line and a grainy aquatint.

Picasso Prints

Screenshot of the Picasso: Themes and Variations website

Take a closer look, and be sure to let us know what you think!