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Liubov Popova Essay

Liubov Popova completed The Pianist in 1915. Through a combination of styles Popova created this painting using Cubo-Futurism, a synthetic style painting developed in Russia around 1910 (Boguslawski). She displays great poise by painting a large composition based on an abstract pattern of arched and straight planes.

This is a representational composition of a pianist, piano keys, and sheet music. This painting, with its modern essence, catches the collective application of art and technology to the study of music. As an abstract painting of a pianist, Popova changed the natural features in order to emphasize and reveal certain aspects of the performer.

The rhythm of visual elements in this painting gives continuity and flow that leads the eyes in a left-to-right direction. Fluid, curving lines cut through the angled shapes suggesting motion across the keyboard. The patterned, recurring alternations of contrasting organic and inorganic shapes create rhythm and time suggesting beat of the music the pianist is playing. The painting is composed to give a dynamic rhythm that gives it an uncharacteristic kind of unity. The space between the lines, forming shadows, gives three dimensional mass to the painting.

The arrangement of this painting gives an almost up beat feeling yet the cool colors create a calming effect and offer comfort. Further, drama arises from the relationship of black and white tones and the textually rich surface she creates. One problem that arises while trying to study this paintings emotional power is that the emotional content of music is very subjective and the emotion created is dependent on the individual viewer.


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