Renzo Giovanni Battista Picasso was born on November 11, 1880 in Genoa, Italy. While he had a great love of Genoa, Picasso was truly a “world citizen.” He spent much of his time traveling and exploring the great cities of Europe and America. Upon visiting New York City in 1911, he was deeply impressed by the urbanism and technical innovation of modern American architecture. Deviating from the more conservative styles of his father and grandfather, he produced a large number of visionary drawings and plans depicting the most striking aspects of what he saw, such as skyscrapers, elevators, public transports, and urban plans. His affinity for the vertical nature of cities like NYC, as well as the complex transit systems, inspired him to conceive of similar plans for his birthplace, Genoa. His collection contains a multitude of inventive ideas for the port city, including a seaside tower and an underground metro to alleviate traffic issues.
He also had a keen interest in the similarities between major cities. He drew several architectural comparisons of various urban elements between cities like Chicago, New York, London, and many more. Most of his comparisons also included Genoa because Picasso saw the port city as a growing, urban center that served as a connecting place for people from all over the world, similar to New York. The Renzo Picasso Archive is currently working to gather and restore Picasso’s works from various locations across Genoa, Milan, and parts of France. To learn more about the founding of the archive, visit our About The Archive section.