"They say that I can draw better than Raphael," Gertrude Stein recorded Picasso as saying. "And they're probably right. Perhaps I even draw better." Picasso made this boast in claiming his right to creative freedom. The truth, however, is that Picasso not only did not draw better than Raphael, he may well have had a very limited understanding of how Raphael drew.
So Picasso's legacy is considerably more complicated than that flawed Hegelian formulation would have us believe. And his achievement is more likely to be gauged in the light of personal sensibility rather than objective achievement. For many educated people, Picasso and his decidedly eclectic, often humorous art are emblematic of an idea of modernity and its ambiguous relationship to the past — and that is all the justification he needs.
Fair enough. But that hardly entitles him to a pedestal in the Old Masters' pantheon.