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Genius: Picasso is the second season of National Geographic's Genius. It aired between April 24, and June 19, 2018.


Season two of GENIUS explores how the passionate nature and relentless creative drive of Pablo Picasso—a Spanish-born painter, sculptor, poet and playwright—were inextricably linked to his personal life, which included tumultuous marriages, numerous affairs and constantly shifting political and personal alliances.

Cast and Characters[]


  • Antonio Banderas as Pablo Picasso
    • Alex Rich as Young Picasso
    • Alessio Scalzotto as 14-year-old Picasso
    • Timothy Lyons as 9-year-old Picasso
  • Clémence Poésy as Françoise Gilot
    • Beau Gadsdon as Young Françoise
  • Samantha Colley as Dora Maar



Title Director Writer Air Date Number
Picasso: Chapter One Ken Biller Ken Biller April 24, 2018 2x01
While going to art school in Madrid, young Pablo Ruiz rejects the traditional rules of painting in search of his own unique style, and soon changes his last name to Picasso. He moves to Paris and befriends art student Carlos Casagemas, and together they share a studio and sell their art until a terrible tragedy happens. In 1938, Pablo contends with the rising threat of Franco's fascism in his home country of Spain.
Picasso: Chapter Two Ken Biller Ken Biller April 24, 2018 2x02
After Pablo learns of Guernica, an ancient town in the Basque Country which was destroyed by the Nazis, he paints a mural of the same name depicting the carnage. It is shown in the Spanish Pavilion at the Universal Exposition. It is critiqued by inspiring French painter, Françoise Gilot who catches Pablo's eye, especially when his current muse, Dora Maar doesn't inspire him to pick up a paintbrush anymore.
Picasso: Chapter Three Kevin Hooks Brian Peterson & Kelly Souders May 1, 2018 2x03
After the suicide of his heartbroken friend, Pablo struggles with life. He meets poet Max Jacob who helps him through his pain, using it in his art. While he paints, Pablo only sees bleak colors, thus beginning his Blue Period. While back in Barcelona in 1903, to honor Carlos, he creates La Vie. In 1943, Pablo grows closer to Françoise and he shows her how to feel the passion through her work.
Picasso: Chapter Four Kevin Hooks Raf Green May 8, 2018 2x04
Back in Paris, Pablo reunites with Max and through him meets French poet Guillaume Apollinaire who inspires him to create Family of Saltimbanques, the masterpiece of his Rose Period. But after seeing rival Henri Matisse's work at the Autumn Salon, Pablo pulls his painting from the show. In 1944, Pablo loses Max to the Nazis, and he soon struggles with two love affairs between Dora and Françoise.
Picasso: Chapter Five Laura Belsey Noah Pink May 15, 2018 2x05
After the French critics denounce all the artists who submitted their work at the Autumn Salon as Matisse imitators, Pablo meets the man himself and is challenged by his radical genius. For years, the two artists try to outdo each other, urged on by brother and sister art collecting duo Leo and Gertrude Stein. When attempts with his first love, Fernande Olivier fail, Pablo seeks inspiration from the primitive African masks at Trocadero Museum and creates Les Demoiselles d'Avignon. In 1947, Pablo convinces Françoise to move in with him.
Picasso: Chapter Six Laura Belsey Matthew Newman May 22, 2018 2x06
Pablo is inspired by Henri Rousseau, a customs clerk who paints in a distorted style, and starts cubism with Matisse's protegé George Braque. The two go on to change the way people see art and they sell many paintings in their new style. After the Mona Lisa is stolen from the Louvre in 1911, Apollinare's secretary Géry Pieret who stole statues from the museum, confesses he knows who did it. Since Pieret sold them the artifacts, Pablo and Apollinare are accused of stealing the beloved DaVinci painting. Pablo takes Françoise on a getaway to Midi, but she is not impressed, he asks her to have a baby with him.
Picasso: Chapter Seven Greg Yaitanes Wendy Riss May 29, 2018 2x07
In 1912, Pablo and fellow artist Georges Braque expand their art movement with radical collages called Crystal Cubism. Pablo's Family of Saltimbanques becomes the most expensive painting in history, selling for 12,650 francs. When World War I begins, Pablo doesn't believe in fighting and remains a pacifist at home while his friends fight in the trenches. But he has his own battles with Fernande having an affair with Italian painter Ubaldo Oppi. Pablo falls in love with her conventional friend, Eva Gouel, wanting to marry her. However, she's diagnosed with lung cancer and dies soon after. After the loss of his father, Pablo has a fling with cabaret singer Gaby Lespinasse, but she is engaged. In 1949, with two kids with Françoise, Pablo, a member of the Communist Party attends the World Peace Council in Paris and creates a symbol of peace.
Picasso: Chapter Eight Greg Yaitanes Stephanie K. Smith June 5, 2018 2x08
After befriending playwright Jean Cocteau, Pablo designs his ballet, Parade in 1917, and meets his first wife, Olga Khokhlova, a Russian ballerina. He must choose starting a family with his new wife or being around for his old friends. Max decides to stay at a monastery and make his vows to God, while Apollinaire contracts Spanish influenza. As an older man in the early 1950s, Pablo struggles with Françoise who attempts to bring his complex family back into his life. It is a distraction when he tries to continue his legacy with a retrospective of his works.
Picasso: Chapter Nine Mathias Herndl Raf Green & Ali Gordon-Goldstein June 12, 2018 2x09
Surrealist writer André Breton includes Pablo in the surrealism movement, but he doesn't want to be labeled. When Pablo feels stuck in his marriage with Olga and her snobbish ways, he seeks out someone new. He sees Marie-Thérèse Walter on the streets of Paris and she agrees to let him paint her, thus starting a love affair. In 1935, Pablo needs an outlet and begins writing poetry. His friend, poet Paul Éluard introduces him to Dora, a photographer. After finding out Pablo has been sneaking off to St. Tropez with his young mistress Geneviève Laporte, Françoise leaves him to pursue her artistic goals by designing a ballet for choreographer Janine Charrat, and becomes more than friends with philosopher Kostas Axelos in 1953.
Picasso: Chapter Ten Mathias Herndl Matthew Newman & Noah Pink June 19, 2018 2x10
After leaving Pablo, Françoise struggles to escape his shadow even when she marries, then divorces art teacher Luc Simon, and later moves to New York City to showcase her art. Not wanting to only be known as Picasso's former mistress, she fights back by writing a tell-all book about their abusive relationship and gets into a healthy one with doctor Jonas Salk. Meanwhile, Pablo meets Jacqueline Roque and she becomes his last muse and second wife after Olga dies in 1955. An aging Pablo withdraws from the public eye to create a neo-expressionist self-portrait.