The painting “Harbor in Normandy” was completed by Georges Braque in 1909. Braque used oil to paint the image of a harbor on an oil canvas (Kern 45). The subjects of the painting include boats approaching a harbor guided by the light houses from a distance. This is a landscape painting with a spatial sensation. Braque uses this technique to capture the element of expanse space in the large water body. Braque uses forms of lightly painted forms to fill out the landscape. He also uses light shading to complement the dark colors that represent the sky and the light houses. This shading bring the whole portrait to life.
The technique or the style used in this painting is cubism. This style was first developed by Braque. He creates solid individual images that are then laid down in planes that appear to be hanging on to one another (Kern 67). The small shifting planes integrate to give the portrait and bring out the image as one whole. They are also thickly painted as they get deeper. The painting’s texture is simulated. The painting uses art forms to bring out this texture.
Braque broke away from the rigid formalism which emphasized on the creation of art for art’s sake. This was with due disregard of the purpose of that art or the subjectivity of the painter. Braque painted this image from memory fully expressing himself on the portrait a break from the rigid formalism (Kern 40). This subjectivity brings out the alteration characteristic of this painting. The shifting planes seem to be changing. This is an indication that the painter employed diverse ideas in the course of his work.
The “Nude Descending A staircase” on the other hand was also completed in the cubism period. The painting was completed in 1912 by Marcel Duchamp (Masheck 134). The painting was although rejected by the cubist movement as it fails to really bring out the elements of cubism. Unlike the “Harbor in Normandy” which on closer scrutiny, cube like shapes can be pointed out, Duchamp’s painting does not portray the cube like shapes. It instead has cylindrical and cone like structures that portray a continuous movement. The painter’s intention was to bring out an image that appeared to be in a continuous motion. The painting is considered a modern classic.
The painting is richly colored. Duchamp used a yellow ocher which fades gradually but then is darkened by black on the back ground. This indicates the shadow of the image as it moves forward, and then repeats the same movement. The combination of the dark and fading colors brings out the theme of the painting which shows the image in a continuous motion repeating the same cycle. The painting’s perspective like Braque’s is graphical. It utilizes art techniques to bring out that appearance of motion as the human eye sees it. The painting is not affected by any alteration. It is regular in the manner in which it is painted emphasizing on its theme. Duchamp unlike Braque was very consistent in the manner in which he presented his portrait and the main theme of the painting.
Duchamp like Braque also breaks away from the rigid formalism. He does not only paint for the sake of art, but presents his thoughts and feelings in the theme and the subject of his painting a break from the formalism movement.
Kern Stephen. The culture of time and space 1880-1918. Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 2003. Print.
Masheck, Joseph. Marcel Duchamp in Perspective. Massachusetts: Da Campo Press, 2002. Print.