Classicism and surrealism
After the World War 1, neoclassical style of artwork was seen by Picasso. The paintings done by Picasso in this period were akin to the work done of Ingres and Raphael. It was in the 1930s when harlequin was substituted with minotaur. His utilization of minotaur was partially due to his connection with surrealists, who even now and then made use of it as their representation.
During the Spanish Civil War-Guernica the German bombing of Guernica was illustrated by Picasso and also was his most re-known work. In the New York's museum of Modern Art for quite a few years Guernica was put on display. In 1981, the painting had been sent back to Spain and in the Cason del Buen Retiro was exhibited. When the Madrid's Reina Sofia Museum was opened in 1992 the painting was moved to this museum to be seen.
In mid-1949 Picasso exhibited at the Philadelphia Museum of Art for the 3rd Sculpture International being one out of the other 250 sculptors who demonstrated their work. A year later, Picasso yet again had a change in his style of work. This time around he began to create reinterpretations of the great masters art; namely his painting Las Meninas. For Chicago, Picasso was asked to create a Marquette for a humungous public sculpture of 50 feet. That piece of art is named as Chicago Picasso and was revealed in 1967. He started off this project with a lot of enthusiasm and finished with a piece of art that is worth seeing as it is considered to be a landmark placed in downtown Chicago. For this piece of art, Picasso didn't take the $100,000 and rather donated it to the city's people.
The last works of Picasso demonstrated a blend of styles, during this phase he completely designated all his energy to the work he was finishing up. During his last pieces his work is seen to be more expressive and vibrant with lots of colors being used.
All through his life Picasso has produced outstanding and marvelous pieces of work which count to about 50,000.…… [Read More]
The following year, Picasso would wrap up the Blue Period with his Portrait of Suzanne Bloch.
The man and woman to the left of the painting appear to be very concerned about their fate. Theirs seems to be a tragic love, doomed to some inevitably bleak conclusion, and the lovers seem to be aware of this. One possible interpretation is that the clothed woman is not meant to represent fate at all. Perhaps, instead, she is the wife of the artist in the picture, and the young pregnant woman he is with is his mistress. In that case, then the second woman has exposed the infidelity of the two young lovers, hence the distressed expression on the man's face. Still, another interpretation has it that the clothed woman is the mother of the girl that the artist is having an affair with. He has impregnated her daughter, and she has arrived to confront him and bring her daughter home. The girl stands by her lover, however, and the artist, in a gesture of defiance, must stand his ground in asserting his moral right to protect the girl in the face of parental authority.
What makes the painting a quintessential Picasso work, however, are the accomplished formal qualities one finds when examining it up close. Picasso's rendering of the two nude figures reveals a classical painterly understanding of the human anatomical form. With a restricted palette, Picasso nevertheless manages to capture the paleness of both figures' skin, the contortions in the male's stressed figure as he extends a finger in warning the clothed female, and the woman's protruding belly - all details rendered realistically and true to life. Perhaps the only "awkward" detail on the bodies is the clumsy squarishness of the feet. It could also be argued, however, that this detail asserts the painterliness of the composition, thus reminding the viewer that what we are looking at is not real life, but a scene from the imagination of the artist.
The fact that…… [Read More]
Picasso and Braque
Pablo Picasso is often revered as the creative genius who initiated many of the trends, styles and movements in Twentieth Century art. His name is associated with experimentation and innovation in modern art which took painting and sculpture in new and exciting directions.
It should also be borne in mind that Picasso was one of many artists during the early and middle Twentieth Century who worked to produce new styles and artistic vision. In this sense, Picasso can be seen to have been aligned with many modernist schools of art -- particularly Cubism and Surrealism. Both these styles and movements in art were based on one essential premise; namely, the search for the new and the 'real' in the face of a general disillusionment with the past. There was a reaction from many artists during the early years of the Twentieth Century against the ideas and traditions of the past. Picasso formed part of this and was a cardinal innovator of this modernist movement.
In his search for new means of expression Picasso searched for subject matter which would excite and stimulate the imagination. One of the objects that he used in a number of his most famous works was the African mask. The mask was used for example in one of his groundbreaking and important paintings entitled Les Demoiselles D' Avignon.
Picasso was also one of the pioneers of Cubism and this painting, with its strange geometric lines and distorted human faces, is seen of an originating impulse for the Cubist movement. While one of the reasons he used the African mask was to shock, another was that he was interested in the simple lines and the formal and geometric shapes the masks offered him. This is evidenced in an interview in which Picasso was asked whether it was the magical quality of the African art that attracted him to which…… [Read More]
Pablo Picasso is noted by the majority of critics as the most important influence of twentieth century art (Picasso pp). Art critic Robert Hughes once stated, "To say that Pablo Picasso dominated Western art in the 20th century is, by now, the merest commonplace" (Picasso pp). Long before his fiftieth birthday, Picasso had become "the very prototype of the modern artist as public figure ... No painter before him had had a mass audience in his own lifetime" (Picasso pp). By the time of his death in 1973, he had created some 22,000 works of art in mediums that included sculpture, ceramics, mosaics, state design and graphic arts (Picasso pp). There is barely a movement during the twentieth century that Picasso did not inspire, contribute, or invent (Picasso pp).
Born Pablo Ruiz Picasso on October 25, 1881 in Malaga Spain, Picasso was a precocious draftsman and was admitted to the Royal Academy of Art in Barcelona at the age of fifteen to the academy's advanced classes (Picasso pp). Beginning in 1900, he spent most of his time in Paris and eventually moved there in 1904 where he remained until he moved to the South of France in 1947 (Picasso pp).
Picasso's creative production is often described as a series of overlapping periods (Picasso pp). During his "Blue Period," 1901-1904, he depicted the world of the poor and predominantly used tones of blue, creating a series of melancholy paintings, such as the 1903 "Old Guitarist," that are among the most popular art works of the twentieth century (Picasso pp). During his "Rose Period," 1905-1906, he used a "lighter palette and greater lyricism, with subject matter often drawn from circus life" (Picasso pp). The major avant-garde figures of this time, such as Matisse, Apollinaire, Braque, and Gertrude Stein, frequented Picasso's Parisian studio (Picasso pp). Having already produced numerous engravings of great power, it was during these years that he began his work in sculpture (Picasso pp).
Picasso's 1907 "Les Demoiselles d'Avignon," now in the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, is considered the most important piece in the evolution toward…… [Read More]
Biography of Pablo Picasso
Picasso is not just a man and his work. Picasso is always a legend, indeed almost a myth. In the public view he has long since been the personification of genius in modern art. Picasso is an idol, one of those rare creatures who act as crucibles in which the diverse and often chaotic phenomena of culture are focused, who seem to body forth the artistic life of their age in one person. The same thing happens in politics, science, sport. And it happens in art.
(Warncke, Picasso, 7)
Pablo Picasso was born in the final decades of the 19th century and his life spanned for approximately three quarters into the 20th century. He is one of the most famous contemporary artists. Picasso is most known for his paintings, but he also was an artist of a variety of arts including textiles, sculptures, and pottery. He was a Spaniard, born, raised, and educated in Barcelona. He showed signs of great artistic interest and prowess during his childhood. His father instructed him at fine arts school. After years of success in academia, he left what he felt to be a stuffy atmosphere and attitude regarding art, and began studying art on his own. He spent much of his life in Spain and in Paris. He was a prolific artist who drew upon his life and the realities of those around him for inspiration and material/content. Picasso saw many achievements in his lifetime, one of which was achieving great fame as an artist during his own lifetime. It is a challenge to be a publically known figure, especially to be a globally known artist. His fame achieved great heights even while he was alive, and certainly after his death in the 1970s. Artists, historians, and even just fans of his work continue to study his approach, his process, his perspective,…… [Read More]
classic view of the Matisse/Picasso rivalry is that these two artists were the equivalent of the odd couple of TV fame (Milroy). A staff writer for New York Newsday, Ariella Budick, describes the typical opinion of these men as "a pair of complementary opposites." Textbooks tend to bolster this point-of-view. Modern Art (Hunter and Jacobus) places its discussion of Matisse in a chapter entitled "Expressionism in France" and puts Picasso in the chapter "The Cubist Revolution." Moreover, neither of these chapters makes any substantive mention of the other artist - which further supports the opinion that their approaches to art are fundamentally different. The same holds true of the Artist in Profile series of books put out by Heinemann Library. Matisse is categorized as a Post-Impressionist (Bolton, 34) while Picasso is segregated into the Cubist school of art (Wallis, 48).
The current exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art challenges this conventional wisdom. In the words of Sarah Milroy of the GlobeandMail.com:
such binary oppositions seem hasty and incomplete. It now looks like Matisse was more of a renegade than we thought, often provoking Picasso's most daring feats, while Picasso clearly provided Matisse with the impetus for some of his most assured creations. They took turns, it seems, in leading the dance.
And a recent book entitled Matisse and Picasso: The Story of their Rivalry and Friendship by Jack Flam also reflects this point-of-view. Rebecca Tuhus-Dubrow explains in a review she did for this book that the reason why both of the artists were great was that they had each other. She describes their relationship and interaction like those one would find between two players in a game of Scrabble: "each artist built off his own work and the other's, playing not just to win but for the highest possible score."
But whether either of the above approaches more closely reflects the true nature of the relationship between these two men, one thing is certainly clear. Each had a unique personality which he revealed through the medium of his respective artwork. This paper will attempt to draw forth and elucidate the characteristics of these two personalities by both analyzing general commentary by art critics as well as by referring to specific paintings these men completed following their meeting in 1906. The end result will hopefully be an accurate description…… [Read More]
Pablo Picasso's "Guitar, Sheet Music and Wine Glass" is a paper collage with ink. The 1912 work is from his Cubist period, but is far less formal than many of his Cubist paintings. Rather, than pure geometric patterns there is some definition of shape, but also incorporations of curves and circles. This informality is echoed in the background of the artwork which is a pattern of diamond-shaped tiles with flowers in the center. The effect is of some wallpaper in someone's living room as opposed to cutting-edge, modern art. The guitar is only represented in the painting by figures but is the emphasis of the piece. There are two curved segments with a heavy-grain wood pattern which indicate the left side of the guitar. In addition there is a blue rectangular shape at the top of this segment which functions as the fret bar of the instrument. A central white circle and a black semi-half circle at the bottom are the last pieces of the guitar. Interestingly, a blank space showing the background wallpaper imagery comprises nearly half of the guitar, yet the stringed instrument is still highly prevalent. In front of the guitar, yet still not as important it seems is a square piece of paper which is clearly sheet music. In the bottom left-hand side of the work is a scrap of yellow paper in French. It appears to be from a newspaper, but it is difficult to tell and therefore it is hard to understand exactly what its purpose is in the context of the artwork. The final part of the work is a white rectangular with an ink drawing. What this drawing is intended to depict is clear only because of the title of the work. If not for the word "glass" it would be unclear as it is highly abstract, but the curves and lines…… [Read More]
From 1936 to 1939 a civil war was fought in Spain between the Republican government and a group of rebels under the command of General Francisco Franco: the Nationalists. During the war many outside groups allied themselves with the two sides with many communists and democrats siding with the Republican forces and a cadre of fascists from Germany and Italy who fought with the Nationalists. In 1937 Nationalist air forces, primarily Germans and Italians, undertook the bombing of the city of Guernica; the first major aerial bombing of a city in history. The destruction and deaths caused by the attack became the inspiration for one of the century's most famous artists, Pablo Picasso, who used the bombing of Guernica as the subject of an anti-war painting. Picasso's work of art, called Guernica, has become a symbol of the destruction and pain caused by war and must be interpreted through the prism of war and suffering.
The painting itself is done in black and white and contains a number of symbolic figures which represent the horrors of war. The main figure, which occupies the central spot in the painting, is a horse which seems to have a spear running through its body. The horse, which appears to be in anguish and possibly dying, is a symbol of the pain and suffering caused by war. The horse, along with several other figures, has a dagger for a tongue and symbolizes the terrible pain and suffering inflicted upon the common people.
To the far left in the painting is another major figure, a quiet and dispassionate bull. While Picasso used the symbolism of the bull in many different ways, it seems that the bull in this painting represents the uncaring General Franco and his "bullish" attack and seizure of power. Bulls are a symbol of unadulterated power and Franco was…… [Read More]
Pablo Picasso once said: "Every child is an artist, the problem is staying an artist when you grow up." The truth in this statement is evident with even a rudimentary examination of any school program, curriculum, or system. From childhood, human beings learn to conform to "leadership" values and expectations, not only in terms of work, but also more generally in terms of what is important to each individual. In school, the role of enforcing conformity falls to teachers and parents. When students leave school, their lecturers, bosses, or team leaders take over. In general life, the government imposes its values and concerns on society. The lack of emphasis on creativity and its importance is also evident in the traditional "starving artist" image. Few parents who wish for their children to work for security and independence in life would encourage their children to choose any type of creative direction as their main profession. Creativity, however, is not only about art. It is vitally important to human beings, because it stimulates happiness, provides for lifelong work satisfaction and fulfillment, and stimulates effective and caring leadership for a bright future.
While there is much joy to be had in creativity as artistic expression, this happiness is certainly not limited to art. The joy of creativity lies in how it stimulates human beings to express themselves in a world that tends to overlook the importance of such expression. Self-expression can occur on many levels. Fashion is one of them. The clothing people wear are often a creative expression of what lies inside them. It is a type of communication. Verbal and written communication is perhaps the most common outlet for creative self-expression. Again, artistic communication does not refer only to poetry, novels, or lectures, although these are certainly included. Communication between loved ones or friends can be artistic as well. Finding a way to say "I love you" in a unique way, for example, is highly creative. In terms of written communication, the way people express themselves in the social media such as Twitter or Facebook can also be highly creative. Whether using…… [Read More]
Gertrude Stein's Personal Vision Of Pablo Picasso
Gertrude Stein's novel Picasso shows the engagement of a great literary artist with that of a great artist of the canvas. It melds Stein's forceful, direct, and spare prose with the images of Picasso and images of the artists that inspired his work. Stein hoped to create images with her words, of childlike sparseness and clarity, a similar aim, she states, of Picasso's art. Thus, her book is both illustrative, in the sense that it shows a titanic author of letters grappling with the similar implications of the 'plastic' arts in the modern world, though also rather biased, given that Stein's ego as an author occasionally causes her to see her own artistic aims in the artistic works of Picasso.
Stein states that Picasso rendered himself through the bodies of other individuals, creating not a visual exhibition of prostitutes in his first foray into cubism, Les Demoiselles d'Avignon of 1907, but rather a text of his inner self and life. But Stein's tendency to look into a mirror rather into Picasso's own work can be seen in her stress upon repetition in this and other parts of Picasso's collective works. Stein's own use of the literary technique of repetition was extremely effective. It is true that Picasso did make use of similar shapes and images in this first cubist work. He also used reoccurring motifs of color, as evidenced in the paintings of the blue and rose periods that form the focus of a number of Stein's works upon the artist, as well as the browns and grays of Les Demoiselles d'Avignon. Picasso also was fond of looking at repeatedly returning to subjects whom he had relationships with, such as his later series of "Dora" portraits, a commonality of Stein, whose most famous work is her Autobiography of her lover Alice B. Toklas, a woman who made a frequent 'appearance' in Stein's literary works.
But repetition as an artistic technique is really only evidenced in Les Demoiselles d'Avignon in shapes used to portray the women. No singular individual comes to…… [Read More]
prolific artists in modern history, Pablo Picasso continues to satisfy viewers and critics alike. Picasso's early training as a classical artist prepared him for the revolutionary turns in his career. As co-developer of cubism with Georges Braque, Picasso astounded audiences and encouraged artists to rethink their perceptions of the world. He drew upon the techniques mastered by the Impressionists to forge his own identity and style, an artistic vision that remains inspirational and salient in the art world.
Picasso's early works often appear so classically rendered as to astound the student of modern art. His version of "Moulin de la Galette" (1900) depicts virtually the same scene as Renoir's masterpiece of the same name. Picasso's palette is darker than Renoir's, his mood more intense. In "Young Girl Wearing a Large Hat" (1901) we see a decisively impressionist piece; the colors are bright and lively, even as the girl's intense stare haunts the viewer. The elongated brush strokes in this painting are reminiscent of Van Gogh. However, Picasso's solid blocks of rich jewel tones in "Spanish Couple Before An Inn" (1900) evoke Matisse or Gaugin. His versatility already apparent, Picasso's early training helped him develop the technical skills required to master his profession. But soon the artist yearned to break free of the confines of traditional techniques, even the newer Impressionistic ones. As personal, unique expression became increasingly in vogue by the turn of the century, Picasso was able to dive into new visual territory.
During his stay in Paris, Picasso's work evolved into what art historians call his "blue period." With a palette comprised almost entirely of shades of blue, Picasso portrayed his subjects with melancholy simplicity. The "Blue Nude" (1902) utilizes an economy of line to convey the actual subject, but the canvass is splashed, almost sponge-like, with violet and blue hues. His 1901 "Self-Portrait" contains a stark contrast of his pale face against black robes; the background is a…… [Read More]
(Pablo Picasso: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia) Also he was very a possessive individual who had a love-hate relation with his old friends. (Pablo Picasso: A Passion to Create)
Even though Picasso was not a mathematician or a philosopher, the works he and Braque delivered between the years 1911 and 1918 was greatly bound to the perceptions of thinkers including Einstein and Alfred North Whitehead. Even before any Pop artists were born, Picasso held on to the magnetic influence of mass culture and how high art could refresh itself through particular vernaculars. Picasso then climed to the other end of the classical past, with his paintings of 'huge dropsical women dreaming Mediterranean dreams in homage to Corot and Ingres' showing that he as if he wanted to distance himself from those who imitated him. His 'classical' touch, which he would revert to for decades to come, could also be considered as a sign of independence. He was not attached to modern art, even though many considered him as the archetypal modernist. The thinking that art had its evolution or had any kind of historical process, was considered by him as ridiculous. He was also against the Expressionist thinking that the work of art attains its value by revealing the truth, the inner being. (Artists and Entertainers: Pablo Picasso)
Picasso's depiction of the German bombing of Guernica, spain is being considered as most his most famous work. This huge canvas depicted for several people- the inhuman, brutal and hopelessness pictures of war. (Pablo Picasso: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia) Several of Picasso's later pictures were on works of Diego Velazquez, Gustave Courbet, Eugene Delacroix, and Edouard Manet- who were great masters of the past. Other than painting, Picasso had worked in various other media, making several hundreds of lithographs in Atelier Mourlot - the famous Paris graphics workshop. Ceramics also caught his attention and in the year 1947, in Vallauris, he created around 2000 pieces. (Pablo Picasso: Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society) Pablo was greatly productive that he created almost 3 paintings in a day which made some of his critics to think that his work was superficial. (Artists and Entertainers: Pablo Picasso)
In spite of criticism, Picasso painted things the way he witnessed them and what he felt about them. However the way…… [Read More]
Pablo Picasso: Guernica
"Guernica": How it Is Meant to Be Seen"
"Guernica": How it Is Meant to Be Seen"
Picasso's influences and culture, and artistic movements
Before discussing Picasso's Guernica and, we must first understand the historical and political atmosphere of the time period in relation to Picasso's life and work. Pablo Ruiz Picasso was born in Malaga, near the southern tip of Spain, on October 25, 1881.
As a child, he displayed great artistic gifts, which his father, an instructor in the fine arts, encouraged. At the age of fourteen, he was given an exam, at his father's request, which would place young Picasso in an advanced standing at the School of Fine Arts where his father taught in Barcelona. Picasso had one month to complete the exam, but he completed it -- effortlessly and impeccably -- in one single day (Penrose 32).
The Spanish Civil War arguably inspired some of the greatest art and literature of the twentieth century. As a precursor to the Second World War, it set the stage for modern warfare, and the creative genius of the period responded in kind. "It was not for nothing that the Civil War inspired the greatest writers of its day in a manner not repeated in any subsequent war," claims Penrose (1973). These writers -- and artists alike -- added to the discourse of their time period by producing works that responded to events affecting their world like never before. Picasso's genius is not an exception. Picasso created some of his most well-known art during and shortly after the Spanish Civil War, and from these pieces come the ones we will analyze here for their rhetorical force. The piece I will analyze here is, Guernica.
Before the bombing of Guernica by the German Condor Legion, Picasso had created only one piece of art that made a direct statement on the Spanish Civil War. Dream and Lie of Franco was originally created as a piece of anti-Franco propaganda to…… [Read More]
3. The paintings
In the light of the above discussion, the paintings that Picasso created with Marie-Therese Walter as his model during the period of their relationship must be understood and analysed against the background of two issues. The first, which has been briefly referred to, is the influence that relationships with women in Picasso's life had on his paintings. The second is that influence of other artistic styles and ideas.
Picasso could not escape the influence of the Surrealistic movement which emphasized the play of imagination and the distortion of the real. Another influence was the " rivalry" with Matisse. During the 1930's there was a change in Picasso's style form his neoclassical period. As referred to previously, the painting The Three Dancers was indicative of this change in mood and style. Alfred Barr calls this painting"... 'a turning point in Picasso's art almost as radical as the proto-cubist Demoiselles d'Avignon'. Following this he became concerned with the mythological image of the Minotaur and images of the Dying Horse and the Weeping Woman. The period culminated in his most famous work, Guernica..." (Chilvers 476)
Surrealism is also an important element in understanding the paintings of this period. Picasso uses surrealist ideas and methods and applied them to his own unique style. In order to understand the paintings one has to view the shift in tone and style in Picasso's works toward the influence of surrealism. This can be seen for example in the 1933 painting entitled "An Anatomy." The painting depicts a series of drawings which are a combination of organic and non-organic components.
The above aspects can be applied to a large extent to the paintings of Marie-Therese Walter during this period. In the 1932 portrait entitled "Woman with a Flower" surrealistic elements can be seen in the distortion of features and the sense of the importance of the imagination over representation in this painting.
Picasso wrote at the time, "I keep doing my best…… [Read More]
We can appreciate the emotional sentiment of the Picasso work, which only superficial research reveals was inspired by a brothel in Barcelona. To an extent, Picasso offers us a dark perspective on either the subject or, as one might suggest based on the confrontational stance of the painting's subjects, the experience of visiting these women. Indeed, as these women look out from the canvas, presenting themselves with stoic expressionless faces, they invoke a sense for the viewer as being one in the brothel presented with a set of distinct but equally repugnant choices.
The Matisse painting, by sharp contrast, is deeply inviting but never directly confronts the viewer. The entire scene is framed by a canopy of trees that suggests the viewer to be peering into a clearing from a distance. The voyeuristic sentiment is only further reinforced by the tendency of those who appear to be facing forward not to engage the viewer directly. A woman who is shown sunning herself toward the viewer, shows no sense of awareness that she is being seen, or at least establishes no connection with the viewer's gaze. Two figures to the left also appear to be facing forward, but their features are absent, suggesting the Matisse intended to impose some shadowy distance on these figures. This reinforces the sense that we are on the outside looking in. Naturally, we may draw any number of emotional abstractions from the idea that we have been excluded from a subject called the Joy of Life and yet invited into so disturbing a subject as Les Demoiselles D'Avignon.
Most essentially, we can see that the radical departures which were occurring during this period of modernist sentiment would allow not just for a growing number of expressive forms, but would also promote an expanding palette for the conveyance of…… [Read More]
The objectification of the female form in The
Studio illustrates how as a mode of this period his increasing openness to
more traditional curvature and anatomy would merge with cubism to produce
an utterly unique but decipherable perspective on human sexuality.
Accordingly, "these appearances in works such as Woman in an Armchair
and its related studies are mere snippets of anatomy within a Cubist
framework, yet they signal Picasso's uneasiness with Cubism." (Fitzgerald,
49) The uneasiness would not eliminate its presence but show cubism in the
light of surrealist themes. Its garish and unsettling proportions become
ultimately more organic and shocking in this way. To Picasso, this was not
a goal, but an acceptable end to art conducted appropriately. So he would
indicate "when, one day, someone said apropos of nothing in particular that
there can be no sense of shame in art, he answered that painting could
paint anything, provided that it was really painting. 'Only when painting
isn't really painting can there be an affront to modesty,' said he."
(Picasso & Ashton, 15)
One must imagine that in this respect, Picasso admonished the need
for honesty in process and presentation. Certainly, it was neither form
nor the philosophical abstention from form which governed this ideology.
Instead, Picasso allowed himself to evolve in both form and the
confrontation of his subject matter as a way of invoking greater insight
into the artistic process and the merits of its outcome. In The Studio, we
find the artist reaching the relative heights of his internal exploration,
revealing a soul and psyche wiling to engage itself with frankness and yet
preoccupied with something akin to psychic demons. Though he would never
fully exorcise these from a personal life of unsettled romantic and sexual
affairs, such works would appear to function as an outlet for an
unflinching self awareness.
Works… [Read More]
Picasso: The Image of Modern Man
Picasso came to Paris from Malaga, Spain, a town known for its bull-fighters. Picasso in his less experimental days he depicted these bull fights in a number of pencil sketches that captured the flare, dynamism and thrill of the arena. However, he never content to simply reflect in a realistic way the world around him. Society was changing the very first years of the 20th century: the modern world had lived through the Reformation, the Revolution and Industrialization. Now it was becoming a world where new socialistic and atheistic ideologies were competing with old world beliefs still being clung to by certain leaders (like Franco in Spain, for instance). Picasso saw the importance of fashion and trends in this new age of modern art. In the first years of the 20th century, he painted in blues -- then in pinks (the Rose Period) -- then in cubes (starting with Georges Braque the movement known as Cubism). Gertrude Stein became his patron and in 1907 he painted Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, "usually regarded as his most important painting" (Johnson 658). Thirty years later he painted Guernica for the Communist-supported Republicans in Spain. This paper will analyze these two works, examining their differences as well as the social/political statements that underlie each one.
Picasso came to maturity at a time when the world was, in a sense, rejecting maturity. The old world principles of art, morality, philosophy and government that had brought Europe through the middle ages had been swept away by a series of revolutions all across Europe. The revolution was young and new. In France, it had promoted liberty, equality and fraternity. Rousseau promoted self-fulfillment without restraint. Picasso came from Spain, which under Franco would try to retain its Catholic roots (and would be labeled Fascist for doing so). Picasso, like the Communists, whom he would publicly join in 1944, rejected the old world mentality that Franco and the old world Spaniards embodied. He was for the new -- the…… [Read More]
Figures are created mostly by the contrast of colors. The use of drawing line is almost nonexistent, however the contours being very clearly defined. The colors contradict each other alternating bright cold shades of blue with warm ochre and pink. The vibration created by blue and white together brings cold atmosphere to the entire palette.
The structure breaks the laws of perspective. On the left side the composition brings a succession of straight figures, with tense rhythm. On the right the arrangement spreads, with characters in open position that draw attention to their caricature masks.
The figures are set in the world of unrealistic: there are no lights or shadows to display their volume. The bodies and background are flat and seem to melt with each other. There is no diversity of levels or third dimension suggested. The blue tones, contoured by white, accentuate the flatness of the piece.
The use of logic in the drawing is annulated by the way the figures contradict their own position: the portraits show front eyes, but profile noses. Perspective became an element used with complete freedom, without respecting the classical rules of logic. The artists uses different perspectives on the same figure.
The use of colors is also free from reality rules. The ochre of the bodies refers to earth color and has a violent contrast with the light blue of the background. The contours are reduced to basic configurations, "V" shapes in the arms and legs of the women. Sharp edges on knees, elbows and breasts contradict the classical vision of female nudes as curvy figures. Straight lines and sharp edges also configure the background images. Space is no longer the common factor that will harmonize the elements of the painting, but an independent component, real and concrete, that can be deformed and decomposed like all the figures.
The two figures in the centre of the composition stand up in a forced body posture, as if they were lying down, but vertical. The sitting figure, the last one painted, breaks all the rules of the lineal and thirdimensional perspective. It presents a posture that would be anatomically impossible and perhaps was a first step toward a surreal representation of reality. Her face and her back are visible from the same point-of-view.…… [Read More]
Like Picasso, Van Gogh (though with an old world soul) would find fullest expression once landing in Paris. After a year of being in the company of other Impressionists like Paul Signac -- and being in a city that itself so filled with history, Catholicity, and romance -- Van Gogh's soul brightened from its gloomier days in search of a Protestant mission: his 1886 painted bulbs are the reflection of a spirit that has found something fresh and intense. The orange-red bulbs are off-set by the pointillist backdrop of blue. The copper vase brilliantly brings the whole work to life, reflecting a seemingly new light in Van Gogh's life and style. Here in Paris he was at home. One need not wonder at the new light that is reflected here: according to "the painter Emile Bernard…Vincent was courting "La Segatori," the Italian owner of the Tambourin cafe on the boulevard de Clichy, and used to give her paintings of flowers, "which would last forever" (Fritillaries, Musee d'Orsay, 2006).
Whether Van Gogh was painting Fritillaries for a love interest or for his own does not take away from the fact that Van Gogh's spirit was now alive with an intensity that was as bright and fervent as his religious soul had been a decade earlier. However, his heart was not content to stay in the city: thus he traveled to Arles to study and paint the scenes and images that had inspired early works like the Potato Eaters -- only now the same scenes and settings would be bright, alive, soulful -- and overwhelming.
In conclusion, both Picasso and Van Gogh found inspiration in Paris; but Picasso used that inspiration to depict a 20th culture that was becoming fragmented and divorced from its old world spirit. Van Gogh, on the other hand, embraced the old world spirit, and left Paris to paint the bright world that was full of grace and life. Van Gogh's lines represented a wholeness that Picasso rarely represented: for Picasso, the world was broken up and shattered.
Works… [Read More]
Modernism in art triumphed from the 19th century onward and in the early 20th century virtually changed the way art came to be perceived. From the Abstractionists to the Cubists to the Surrealists to the followers of Dada, the modernists continually reinvented themselves with newer and wilder movements, firmly rejecting tradition and all its preoccupations. It was only fitting, however, that modern artists should break so completely with the past: modern society had split from the old world with the Protestant Reformation, the Age of Enlightenment, the Scientific Revolution, and the Romantic Era, all of which followed one on the heels of the other. This paper will trace the history of the final era -- the modernist -- by examining five works of five different painters of the modernist era: Franz Marc's "Fate of the Animals," Pablo Picasso's "Guitar and Violin," Marcel Duchamp's "found" artwork "Fountain," Salvador Dali's Surrealist masterpiece "The Persistence of Memory," and Piet Mondrian's "Composition with Red, Blue, and Yellow."
As European society sought to understand itself according to new Romantic/Enlightenment ideals (like the ideals of the French Revolution -- liberty, fraternity, equality), many artists sought to reflect the societal revolution around them by initiating artistic revolution. Just as the old world societal structure went away, so too did the old world art forms. The Classical, the Baroque, the Realistic and the Romantic all fell away. The Impressionists delivered the first blow -- but their works still reflected an objective vision. The modern world emphasized subjectivity. Thus, the modernists would create art that would reflect nothing objective but rather something abstract, subjective or (in the case of Duchamp) downright absurd.
Each of these five artists basically came into their own in the early 20th century. Each of them worked through the latest artistic novelty that had come before them. Each of their famous and…… [Read More]