Brief Summary of the Time Period and Painter
Pablo Picasso is a Spanish painter from 1881-1973, who is widely accredited as the most deep-seated artist in the 20th century. Arguably, Picasso is a long-standing and greatly prolific artist who has experimented with a expansive assortment of themes and styles all through his career. Some of the contributions by Picasso to the history of art and his most imperative include pioneering the modern art movement referred to as Cubism, developing assemblage in sculpture and inventing collage as one of the artistic techniques. Les Demoiselles d’Avignon has arguably been the most contentious painting that even some of Picasso's artist friends were unconvinced by the painting. When this painting was first displayed in 1916 by Andre salmon at an exhibition, nine years after its completion, its name was changed. Picasso had named the painting Le Bordel d'Avignon but Salmon considered that title to be too controversial and too shocking for the audience at the exhibition. He then changed its name to Les Demoiselles d'Avignon. During it first exhibition display, the painting did not get full appreciation as a master piece like it has today. Consequently, the painting remained in Picasso's studio until the time Andre Breton convinced him to publish it. People began to appreciate the genius and revolutionary qualities of the painting
Thesis: Pablo Picasso’s painting, “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon”reshaped views/themes/ depictions of sexuality and modesty in art.
Les Demoiselles d’Avignon can be defined as one of the significant canvases of the 20th century (Finger 42). His impressively infiltrating painting Les Demoiselles d’Avignon was done in response to various considerable sources. One of them was his confrontation with Cezanne's most remarkable accomplishments at the posthumous retrospective that was mounted in paris one year after the death of the artist in 1907. Months before the commencement, Pablo Picasso struggled with the subject on the painting – five women in a brothel. He creates in excess of a hundred sketches and groundwork paintings, working hard to crack the problem of presenting a three dimension space in a two dimension picture plane. Pablo Picasso's original composition comprised of two men – a medical student holding a skull and a patron being surrounded by women maybe symbolizing his theme – wages of sin is death.
In Depth Description of the Painting
Picasso's inclination for experimentation and obtaining motivation from beyond the conventional artistic sources resulted to this far-reaching and revolutionary painting of 1907(Green 31). The theme of the painting – the female nude – was extraordinarily conventional though Picasso treated I t as a revolutionary. Arguably, Picasso took even greater freedom with human anatomy compared to his earlier Self portrait of 1906. Notably the figure left on the painting look flat as if they lack skeletal or muscular frame. The faces observed from the front have noses in profile. The eyes in the paint are unbalanced and radically simplified. Les Demoiselles d’Avignon has contour lines that are incomplete and its color juxtapositions lie between orange and blue, for example-are purposefully discordant and unharmonious. Clearly, the representation of space is disjointed and discontinuous.
The left side of the Les Demoiselles d’Avignon canvas is basically Iberian-influenced, while the right side is enthused by typical African masks, more so, in it’s oval forms and striped patterns. Notably, such borrowings, have led to visual incongruities, distortion, and great simplification that were considered exceptionally audacious in 1907. Additionally, the head of the figure observable at the bottom right turns in an anatomically impracticable manner. Such discrepancies were exceedingly shocking to Picasso’s fellow painter to a point that they reacted awkwardly to Les Demoiselles d’Avignon. Allegedly, Matisse a French painter told Picasso that he was ridiculing the new movement of art (Andersen 17).
Picasso work is autographical for example the exposure of Les Demoiselles d’Avignon painting assisted to bring to World’s awareness prostitution and the grieve accompanied the this business. The Les Demoiselles d’Avignon art can be recapitulated by its personage components. This art can be described as an extraordinary memorial in the history of modern art.
Motivation (Personal and Social Issues that Motivated the Painting)
Picasso in Les Demoiselles d’Avignon turns away from the middle-class in the society as well as the values and traditions of the time and opts for the sexual freedom that is portrayed in a brothel. Picasso also rejects prevailing movement in painting when he chooses the stripped drawing instead of the color and light that define forms of Fauves and impressionism. He refers to Les Demoiselles d’Avignon as his exorcism painting. Picasso likens this act of painting to that of crafting weapons or fetishes. The inventiveness of Picasso's implementation and vision in this artwork in the basis of cubism, which is widely applauded and innovative art movement they Picasso and Georges Braque would develop later on (Green 128).
Notably, Les Demoiselles d’Avignon is a disturbing piece of art. This is demonstrated on the faces of women in the art that are portrayed in a ghastly and violent manner. In reference to Georges Blaque, Picasso drunk turpentine and spit fire while doing Les Demoiselles d’Avignon artwork. However, these women appear as they are for specific reasons (Finger 56). The women in Les Demoiselles d’Avignon are cold prostitutes, calculating businesswomen who experiment in sex for money and who are in a savage profession. The three women in Les Demoiselles d’Avignon's left appear to have been made from rock and observably the onlooker is a sexual voyeur experiencing sexual nervousness. Notably, there is nothing inviting about all of them.
Another, image in the Les Demoiselles d’Avignon that is observable beside the nude women is the fruit that is at the bottom center of the artwork. The pre-iconographic reading about the Les Demoiselles d’Avignon depicts grapes, a pear, an apple and a melon in the same place as the women. In Les Demoiselles d’Avignon the fruit is very prominently/boldy displayed in the painting. It is a very strong symbol of both sexuality (earthly pleasures) and fertility (Judith 22). The next level of understand of the fruit is food belonging to the women. Something to eat in between the line of their job and the last level is the intrinsic meaning of the fruit as arranged purposely to symbolize male genitalia. There is a compilation of palpably evocative fruit; a scything sharp edge of melon which has a pear, an apple and testicular grapes.
The women in the art, Les Demoiselles d’Avignon are prostitutes in a brothel; a place where Picasso visited often. In this artwork, Picasso does not recognize the middle class nor does he put into consideration the values. He opts for focus on sexual freedom portrayed in a brothel.
The vulgar nature of the sexual poses
In this artwork, the prostitutes have posed as vulgar and sexual as oppose to the nudes on the time. Arguably, we might insinuate that the women focused their interest in the preceding composition. That is if men were in the vicinity, this prostitutes would attend to them. By scrapping of the men from the preceding artwork the artwork no longer appear to be self contained. Women in the image appear outward and beyond the confines of the picture plane this typically shields the observer anonymity. In this artwork, Picasso attempts a vulgar directness.
Before production of this painting, nude was depicted to be portraits of elegant and beautiful women who just happened to be unclothed and they seemed modest in a sense. Conspicuously, the painting opposes the idea of modesty in several ways such as; the offensive sexual poses; the two women who are portrayed in the painting are illustrated to be staring at the viewer in a suggestive and confrontational manner. According to Judith (17) the faces of these two naked women on the right side of the painting overwhelmingly express persuasion from a primitive ethnic mask. In the Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, contours of on the nose are forthrightly related to the work of Shic of Milan that also seems to generate upward moving columns of such forms. Picasso's work has varied shades of pink that exceedingly shatter the nudes into constituent parts. The Five Nudes of 1906 by Picasso are redolent of Gauguin's South Seas primitive figures; they are cubistic paradigm of his primitive phase.
Influence on Modern Art
Arguably, can be defined as a structure of expression that is different from any other; it is a present for the eyes that only words can express. He is a critical figure in the modern art. From Picasso’s notorious paints to his invention of cubism, his accomplishments have certainly made great impact on not only the history itself but also the contemporary world. Pablo was a rare talent in the history and a bona fide as whose craft not only for him and other people who embraced artistry. The works of Alex Waterhouse are evidently influenced by the famous works of Picasso. In his work, Alex Waterhouse compiled serious photographs that are inspired by the work of Picasso (Green 11). The works of Waterhouse, in the nude class have some of the most fantastic models, and depicts advancement in how the nude has been observed in the photography as well as in painting. One of the compilation of Waterhouse that depicts inspiration from Picasso's works in the rosemary. In his work, Waterhouse illustrates that by the time he had chosen rosemary he wanted to get a downbeat of an attractive black male he had photographed for the straight who had introduced the concept of black primitivism to his choreography.
In “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon” which in English stands for “young ladies of Avignon” (Green 9). The five ladies portrayed in the painting were very ugly and distorted and looked as if they would fall into pieces. The painting caused controversy amid many observers because they thought it would have looked more realistic and professional rather than mockery to art. Picasso in this picture broke all the rules while creating this painting, however, Picasso’s main objective in mind was to try and paint women from many angles at a time, with the hope that the viewer observed saw several than what met the eye.
Though the painting was heavily criticized throughout history, in the contemporary day this work has been referred as the first modern 20th century painting. As such Picasso broke away from the convention art and he set his own guide for what he considered to art. Similar to the work by Picasso, Waterhouse has compiled pictures with most primitive pose that resembles Picassos, Les Demoiselles d’Avignon painting. One of such picture is that of eve biting an apple of September 2001 issue.
Waterhouse in his nude photography lessons seem to borrow the art of expressing his emotions from Picasso. He has accommodated that aspect of realism in his work and seems to have a precise emphasis of natural beauty from his work. His new work, serendipity of failure is one of the most appealing ways of attaining results with picturesque process. According to Waterhouse development of negative or print in Spanish can be done using verb "revelar" which in a different way means expose or make observable that which is veiled. This aspect of exposure has definitely been used in the works of Pablo Picasso to bring about similar interpretations to the audience as to Waterhouse.
Picasso's obsession with primitive art is highly influenced by African art that he probably observed in the works of Matisse- mask that had been bought from Delain. Picasso's painting Les Demoiselles d’Avignon had completed what it is attributed to. The title of his work can be little bit misleading because its original title was d'Avignon; a famous brothel in the streets of Barcelona.The painting is about Picasso's desire and expression of his fear. In this essay we have established the he visited brothels and so his desire is not questionable. The artwork Les Demoiselles d’Avignon also illustrates Picasso's fear i.e. his dread to prostitutes and the diseases he feared would be transmitted to him. In such an era when antibiotics had not been discovered, contracting a dreadful disease like syphilis brought intense anxiety. Nonetheless, the plight of the women in the painting seems not to get into Picasso's work.
Andersen, Wayne . Picasso's Brothel Les Demoiselles d'Avignon. New York, New
York Other Press , 2002.
This book by Wayne Andersen is a thorough analysis of every aspect of “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon.” One of the primary discussions of the book is the theme of sexuality and prostitution in the painting by Picasso. Andersen looks at a great deal of works that deal with the same theme and relates them to the famous painting. His obsession with the painting and the history of how he became so interested in it is also widely discussed adding to the great deal of detail about the techniques used by Picasso to create such an influential work of art.
Judith, William Rubin , and Helene Seckel . Studies in Modern Art 3 "Les Demosielles
d'Avignon". 3 . New York, New York : Museum of Modern Art , 1994.
Studies in Modern Art 3, Les Demoiselles d’Avignonis a book created by the Museum of Modern Art’s Research and Scholarly Publications Program. This edition is the first to be dedicated to any singly work of art, emphasizing the importance of the painting on modern art. This book discusses why the piece is “arguably the most renowned painting in the museum’s collection.” This book goes into great detail the techniques used by Picasso and the themes portrayed in “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon”, including modesty and sexuality.
Finger, Brad. Modern Art, The Groundbreaking Moments . Munich, Germany:
This book mainly discusses Modern Art as a whole. While Les Demoiselles d’Avignon is discussed in the book the primary topic is modern art and how it evolved i.e. its relation to new technology and an evolving world culture. Little is discussed about the actual theme of sexuality in the painting by Picasso but the change that this work caused in the art world and its influence on other works is described in detail.
Green, Christopher. Picasso's Les Demoiselles d'Avignon. Cambridge, United Kingdom:
Cambridge University Press, 2001.
This book is a collection of essays discussing the famous painting from a number of points of views. The significance of the piece is discussed in detail. The essays vary from the detailed history of “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon” to“an exploration of the presence of trauma and opens the way to a psychoanalytical exploration.” The essay by Patricia Leighten and David Lomas is specifically helpful because it focuses on the themes of prostitution, sexuality, and African primitism. Other contributors to the book ask if the painting is still meaningful and is “linked to the grand narrative of modernist history.”
Waterhouse, Alex. http://blog.alexwaterhousehayward.com/2009_11_12_archive.html
This website is a blog created by the photographer Alex Waterhouse to discuss his work and the work of other artist that inspired him. This site will used only to view and analyze the photographs Waterhouse said were inspired by the famous painting by Picasso.