`Les Demoiselles d`Avignon` by Picasso

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  1. When Picasso painted `Les Demoiselles d`Avignon` he didn`t show the work immediately. What was so controversial and different about this painting? Discuss painting disrupt prevailing aesthetics of the time?

            Pablo Picasso, one of the most outstanding and influential artists of art history created the icon of the Modernism era in art. Modernism in arts is now 100 years old and this is attributed with the release of one of Picasso’s painting, Les Demoiselles d’ Avignon. In 1907, the Titanic has yet to sick, San Francisco in the United States was still shattered with the devastation of an earthquake, but in the Parisian Hill of Montmartre, which is home to anarchy and cabaret, a Spanish immigrant named Pablo Picasso is creating the first and greatest masterpiece of modern art.

Picasso at the age of 25 drew Les Demoiselles d’ Avignon in the winter of 1906-1907. His ideas of his subject were created with conscious planning and a resemblance of some of his influences, Leonardo and Géricault.

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The 8 feet square canvass described with the nature of reality was to be discovered as profound as other advancement of the field of knowledge contributed by Picasso’s contemporary, Albert Einstein, in the field of Physics. It cannot be said that 100 years of painting has occurred with the masterpiece of Picasso, but rightfully stated is that modernism had initiated with his masterpiece.

            Les Demoiselles d’ Avignon shows five women entangled in silver and blue draperies and two of them stand with arms raised to flaunt their breast.

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The other three women wore masks; one was in brown wooden simulacrum of a face, the two in African masks. One of the two women wearing African masks is intruding behind a jagged cloth while the other squats among fabric of diamonds. There in the canvass is also a plate of fruits. And the painting shows the first emergence of cubism, with nude women where scarce curves could be seen, sharp elbows, geometrical silhouettes of hips and waists and triangle breast.

The painting attends to symmetry and space. To many art historians and critics, the work of Picasso in particular with this painting is incomparable. As an artist, he somehow knew that he was doing something of grave importance in the art world, even revolutionary but cannot seem to discern it. To look intently of the Les Demoiselles d’ Avignon does not bring its full content and meaning, in order to interpret it, one must look at it from afar, and with an unfocused eye. This painting exemplifies the art of looking into the painting. What Picasso is conveying is the furious return of look with contempt from the painting spectator.

            The African masks worn by the three women are essential in describing the disguise of the characters intent. Picasso picked his subjects intently because it had a sense of being a cliché, and what Picasso was trying to do was show the originality of art being not bounded by morality, or formality but in being innovative. What Picasso did with this painting is to introduce what Modernism is, that arts triumphs from over content. There is also a sense of earthiness of Les Demoiselles d’ Avignon as it showcase sexuality at the same time anticipates the discoveries explicit in Cubist art. It can be described as a rebellion from the western tradition styles.

Picasso liberates eroticism because the painting lacks any meaning or narration. Today painting is on its re-emergence period, with several British artists going back to using the medium of paint and canvass. But for over 100 years, Les Demoiselles d’ Avignon is still so new as a form and style employed in painting. It has transcended into greater respect for the art community because Picasso’s work showed the trend of modernism and even started it. For it to be called a masterpiece is an insult because Les Demoiselles d’ Avignon can still be regarded as the most recent face of Modernism art.

  1. Discuss Matisse`s painting `Blue Nude,` in particular the formal dynamics of the painting, the style and subject matter. Also, compare with his earlier works `The Joy of life,` and `Luxe, Calme et Volupte.`

            Henri Matisse is considered the most important painter of the 20th century. He was the leader of the fauvist movement which emerged in the 1900. His works are described with expressive colors and subjects who are domestic or figurative treated in a distinct Mediterranean style. Pablo Picasso is one of his contemporaries and is characterized as more methodical in terms of temperament compared to Picasso. Matisse if often times compared to Raphael, who taught and encourage other painters. His works employs different styles, from Impressionism to near abstraction. His paintings are more exciting with its colors.

            Blue Nude is Matisse showcase of his fondness in the use of colors. Released in 1907, the Blue Nude exemplifies Matisses’ employment of abstract expressionism. Blue Nude or Souvenir de Biskara is a painting of journey. The artist experimented with contraposto or the undulating S-curve pose. He uses this method also in his later sculptures. The painting was done after Matisse’s trip to North Africa in which he became inspired form the African culture and society; this evidently is carried in his works. The painting is a reclining nude, a dynamic variation of the classic Venus pose and abstracts his painting with African influences. The Blue Nude: memory of Biskra has increased abstraction, extreme contraposto, vigorous application of blue as its color, and mask- like character of the woman’s face.

            Le Bonhour de vivre or the Joy of Life measures 8 feet wide and is characterized with lines, spaces and colors influenced by the Art Nouveau style. There are the arrangement of trees and people. The different groups in the painting exhibit the independence and arrangement of their distinctions. The dancers at the center of the painting became frequent as subject of Matisse in later works; they were inspired by fishermen dancing in the village. There is also the reclining image motif.

This painting was believed to have started the inspiration for Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon painting which was a breakthrough. Luxe, Calme et Volupte of 1904 is often thought of as the first Fauve painting which emerged in art history. It is painted primarily in tones of red and yellow and had languid nudes at water’s edge that is part of depicting a landscape. There is countless of sunlight rays and images and the objects usually Matisse employs; beach promenades, nestled fishing boats sinous trees and inviting houses that reveals a sense of serenity.

  1. Discuss the use of language and found objects in Analytical Cubism and Cubist Collage.

Analytical cubism is characterized with fragments and intersecting planes that have argued that the underlying intention of cubism artists is to depict object or human forms from multiple perspectives. The analytical cubism invented a new visual language that has its own internal logic and consistency that does not attempt to depict accurately or directly nature. Shown by the works of Picasso and Braque, they limited the use of color scheme to dark browns and grays that radically departed from the form of nature.

Cubist collage on the other hand or synthetic cubism began with Picasso alone in the early 1914 or late 1913. It is the point in which Picasso gained and led the Cubist innovation among his contemporary, Braque. The language is to escape the flatness and constricting form of collage and divert the process into forming literal three dimensional objects and paintings. Cubist collage aims to push forward into literal space in front of the picture plane.



Luxe, Calme Et Volupte. (2004).   Retrieved March 2, 2007, from http://www.henry-matisse.com/luxe.html

Anonymous. Les Demoiselles d'Avignon by Pablo Picasso.   Retrieved March 2, 2007, from http://www.geocities.com/picasso0408/demoizav.html

Anonymous. (2007). Cubism: Analytical Cubism.   Retrieved March 2, 2007, from http://www.lycos.com/info/cubism--analytical-cubism.html

Greenberg, C. (2003). Collage.   Retrieved March 2, 2007, from http://www.sharecom.ca/greenberg/collage.html

Harden, M.   Retrieved March 2, 2007, from http://www.artchive.com/artchive/M/matisse/bonheur.jpg.html

Updated: Feb 23, 2021
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`Les Demoiselles d`Avignon` by Picasso. (2017, Apr 04). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/les-demoiselles-davignon-by-picasso-essay

`Les Demoiselles d`Avignon` by Picasso essay
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