Compare the practices of Picasso and Pollock Essay

Compare the practices of Picasso and Pollock Essay.

Compare the practices of Picasso and Pollock and evaluate how their views, choices and actions have been affected by particular circumstances within their world. The distinctive practices of Picasso and Pollock highlight how their views, choices and actions have been affected by their relative contexts within their world. Cubism was the advancement in art during the early 20th century, a time when the world was experiencing modernization in technology and medicine; and societies were rapidly growing and developing as well.

Art historian John Golding stated that Cubism “was the greatest artistic revolution since the Italian Renaissance”.

During this period Fascism was also on the rise. A second world war seemed the inevitable culmination of tense divisions within Europe between opposing Fascist and anti-Fascist camps. In this atmosphere of political strife, Pablo Picasso began to look for ways to instil the heretofore private symbols in his art with new, public meanings, to look for a way in which his work could contribute to the cause of the Left.

In this context, Picasso’s work took on a political significance, and this significance energized his work.

Picasso’s art making practices reflected his dynamic personality and artistic genius. Picasso’s ability to draw on a number of diverse disciplines and sources for inspiration provided him with the impetus he needed to continually take his art to the next level. Paul Jackson Pollock, famous for his drip paintings, worked 30 years after Picasso and was vividly aware of Picasso and his work. Pollock was an influential American painter and a major figure in the abstract expressionist movement, who was largely affected by world war two.

Although the war did not directly affect him, what did was the shift of the ‘art centre’ of the world moving at this time from Paris to New York. Evidently it is clear that the individual practices of Picasso and Pollock show how their views, choices and actions have been affected by their world. In 1937, the Spanish Republican government asked Picasso to paint a mural for the Spanish pavilion at the Universal Exposition that year in Paris. Inspiration came in April, in the form of the horrific aerial bombing by the Fascists of the town of Guernica.

The monumental canvas that resulted depicted a massacre of the innocents in the black-and-white tones of newspapers and newsreels, and filled with historical and political allusions and expressive force, Guernica became an icon and the last real history painting. Guernica shows the tragedies of war and the suffering it inflicts upon individuals, particularly innocent civilians. This work has gained a monumental status, becoming a perpetual reminder of the tragedies of war, an anti-war symbol, and an embodiment of peace. When considering an originator of Cubism, there were nonetheless several recurrent themes in Picasso’s work.

Instead of using traditional battle imagery as visual inspiration for Guernica, Picasso turned to the familiar arena of the Spanish bullring. According to art historian Patricia Failing “The bull and the horse are important characters in Spanish culture. ” The central figure in Guernica is a horse run through with a javelin, wrenched in agony which is interpreted as the horse of Franco’s Nationalism, with Picasso predicting its downfall. Evidently it is apparent that Picasso was highly influenced the circumstances in his world that affected his views, choices and actions in creating ‘Guernica’.

In his artwork ‘Guernica’, Picasso’s was highly influenced by cubism. Picasso’s practice required that people look at the world with new eyes, showing how his views, choices and actions were affected by particular circumstances within his context. While Cubism represents the most famous example of this, other techniques that he used also showed his mastery of this. The artist’s Blue Period is Picasso’s first real foray into his own style and voice as an artist. People call this the Blue Period, because most of the canvases that he painted were in palettes of blue.

The blue in his paintings during this period demonstrated a period of melancholy, but his use of colour meant more than this in the social context of the times. Not only did the colour blue represent a sad mood, but also during the 19th century, it carried a spiritual meaning with it as well, which is apparent in Picasso’s work Guernica. This work is seen as an amalgamation of pastoral and epic styles. The discarding of colour intensifies the drama, producing a reportage quality as in a photographic record. Guernica is blue, black and white, 3. 5 metre tall and 7. metre wide, a mural-size canvas painted in oil. The significance of the size of this artwork is that is draws the audience into the canvas, allowing them to feel part of the chaos and commotion, evoking a sense of sympathy and understanding of the horrors of the bombing in Guernica. Subsequently it is evident that his views, choices and actions were highly influenced by his world in accordance with his context. At the beginning of 1907, Picasso began a painting, ‘Les Demoiselles d’Avignon’ that would become arguably the most important of the century.

The painting began as a narrative brothel scene, with five prostitutes and two men–a medical student and a sailor. But the painting metamorphosed as he worked on it; Picasso painted over the clients, leaving the five women to gaze out at the viewer, their faces terrifyingly bold and solicitous. There is a strong undercurrent of sexual anxiety. The features of the three women to the left were inspired by the prehistoric sculpture that had interested him in the summer; those of the two to the right were based on the masks that Picasso saw in the African and Oceanic collections in the Musee d’Ethnographie du Trocadero in Paris.

While no specific African or Pacific sources have been identified, Picasso was deeply impressed by what he saw in these collections, and they were to be one of his primary influences for the next several years. Art historians once classified this phase of Picasso’s work as his “Negro Period. ” French imperialism in Africa and the Pacific was at its high point, and gunboats and trading steamers brought back ritual carvings and masks as curiosities. While the African carvings, which Picasso owned, had a kind of dignified aloofness, he, like other Europeans of his time, viewed Africa as the symbol of savagery.

Unlike most Europeans, however, Picasso saw this savagery as a source of vitality and renewal that he wanted to incorporate for himself and for European painting. His interpretation of African art, in these mask-like faces, was based on this idea of African savagery; his brush-strokes are hacking, impetuous, and violent. Like Manet’s Olympia, Picasso portrayed the prostitutes in erotic poses with their arms recognizable positioned above their heads in order to show off their feminine, but grotesquely distorted female anatomy.

Picasso’s choice to use five figures in his work multiplied the penetration of the bitter gaze created in by Olympia. Manifestly it is apparent that Picasso was highly influenced by the context of his time which affected his views, choices and actions in creating ‘Les Demoiselles d’Avignon’. Picasso’s work, Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, truly introduced Cubism as a modern art movement by shockingly rejecting any and all established criteria from pre-existing art and therefore has been noted as the twentieth century’s most significant painting.

Picasso’s fascination with primitive art had been influenced by African art which he probably saw in Matisse’s studio, masks that had been purchased from Delain. In Demoiselles, the furious jutting angles of the torsos and limbs in violent, unpredictable patterns further emphasize the energy that animates the figures. Even the planes of the curtains in the background echo the harsh angularity of the forms. Here, the inorganic relates to the organic, in that except for the difference in colour tones used in the nude forms, and the background, the planes and angles would not be as distinguishable from one another on a pictorial syntax.

These aspects of abstract relationships between contours of kind of space and volume by means of light and dark become one of the characteristics of Analytical Cubism. The faces of the two nudes on the right of the painting profoundly express influence from primitive tribal masks. The contours of the nose are directly related to the Shic of Milan, which seems to generate the upward moving columns of the forms. The varied shades of pink further shatter the nudes into their component parts.

It is this means of exploring lines and planes, mass and volume, colour and texture that makes Demoiselles so important to the more radical liberties taken in the later years of Cubism. Highlighting how Picasso’s views, choices and actions were influenced by his world. Pollock’s was highly influenced by 1940’s America, and therefore a different culture entirely, highlighting how his views, choices and actions in his artmaking were subjective to his context. World War 2 left Europe fractured and became a particularly difficult time for artists, whose world became very apolitical.

This was a significant historical and political circumstance which affected Abstract Expressionism. Pollock’s work, entitled ‘The Moon Woman Cuts the Circle’ like Picasso’s work, holds symbolic elements, Pollock was concerned with American Indians and their mythology and the other indigenous, primitive cultures of America. Picasso’s attention in other cultures related to structural elements while Pollock’s interest was the cultural elements and in fact a very considerable influence on Pollock and his work was his interest in these cultures.

In the same way as Picasso he is looking outside his own culture in terms of seeking new art forms, however Picasso did so in a structural view. His interest was how these cultures responded to the metaphysical world, the world of mythologies, fantasies, dreams and the unconscious, subjective and intangible things. The ‘Moon Woman’ is making reference to a figure, and it has a goddess-like association, and is all about female energy and the symbolism of the moon. Subsequently it is clear ow Pollock was highly influenced by his context in creating his artwork. Within his artwork Pollock was trying to explore how to communicate the metaphysical and spiritual aspects of the world and his practice was characterised as avant-garde, showing how his views, choices and actions influenced his practice. In this complex painting ‘The Moon Woman Cuts the Circle’ everything is painted in mess and grotesque. Pollock is known as the abstract painter which is the modern trained of painting reflecting the reality in the mysterious and complex way.

The background blue is dominated by dominating red colour which symbolically suggests the idea of the modern world to be pictured: it is the suggestion of over shadow of peace but the domination of violence and bloodshed which are the common features of the modern world. The weapons suggest the domination of that power which is violent power with the help of weapons. Moreover the painting has so many contrasting elements such as the violence and peace, mystery and uncertainty, sky and sea weapons and boats.

In a festival the American Indians celebrate it by changing themselves into mysterious disguise, the women use different types of masks on their faces and they use the crown of feathers by painting different colours. They even bring different types of weapons and suppose to attack the moon considering it as the symbol of ideal feminine beauty. The moon image, the weapons, as well as the mysterious female figure in the painting suggest the attempt of the painter to reflect the cultural festival of the Americans.

Subsequently we can see how Pollock’s views, choices and actions were highly influenced by his world within his artist practice and how they are reflected within his painting. The context of Pollock, highly influenced his artworks through views, choices and actions. By 1950, when Pollock spoke about art, the artist, and the modern world, he used words which fit with a new, electrodynamics view of the unconscious: “The modern artist, it seems to me, is working and expressing an inner world-in other words-expressing the energy, the motion and other inner forces. Pollock spoke about “energy and motion made visible; memories arrested in space; human needs and motives; and acceptance. ” Relating to the social dynamics of the late 40s, the ambivalences, horrors, and ambiguities felt by most people about the devastations of WWII. Artists rejected the more traditional means of depicting narratives in painting and used painterly strategies of negation, of disjunction and of opacity. What they created were layered narratives of ambivalence and boundaries and frustrations, with plots that are enigmatic and chaotic and at times, incomprehensible.

Ultimately, Pollock’s paintings contain a shifting balance between negation and assertion, between a desire to signify and a desire to erase. In addition to the conflicted social context of the period, narratives and plots of negation and erasure may be another metaphor of the unconscious, showing how his world influenced his artist practice through his views, choices and actions. Within his artist practice, Pollock’s views, choices and actions were highly influenced by his context.

Pollock’s notorious brush drip technique is achieved by the tacking of the large canvas onto the floor while using the medium of alkyd enamels which are a synthetic type of paint. He would then proceed by even mixing common materials such as sand and glass among the paint in a devastating fashion, flinging it recklessly onto the canvas. His implements would range from brushes to sticks and even basting syringes to apply the thick stream of paint.

This technique allowed Pollock to apply paint from all angles and sides of the canvas and because of this he was able to explore revolutionary dimensions of painting; he would later become infamous for this style. In No. 1 (Lavender Mist) he manages to forge a landscape which is truly for the senses which delivers contrasting shades as well as differentiating colours which will in turn take your eyes across the whole painting. Pollock uses mainly green, white, black and in some cases brown to give the painting an earthy appearance, further demonstrating on the idea of textual layers which are clearly presented to the viewer.

The elements and principles Pollock uses here are colour, contrast, texture, emphasis and variety. The use of colour contributes to the overall effect of the painting which appears to be very earthy, atmospheric and relatively calm from the light of the whites to the intense streaks of striking black. Contrast is used here to balance the whole picture resulting in a flowing formation which Pollock was most prized and famed for. Pollock still remains one of the leading figures in Abstract Expressionism. His drip paint technique was revolutionary and the psyche he was able to get into when he applied paint to canvas.

Evidently it is clear how his artist practice reflects the revolutionary artists period at the time within his views, choices and actions. In conclusion, the practice of Pablo Picasso and Paul Jackson Pollock highlight how their views, choices and actions were highly influenced by cubism, abstractionism and the social and political states at the time. Evidently the two had different modern worlds, although both valued the avant-garde values of breaking boundaries and the notion of exploration of the new.

Compare the practices of Picasso and Pollock Essay

Truth in Picasso’s the Old Guitarist Essay

Truth in Picasso’s the Old Guitarist Essay.

Martin Heidegger regards language to be the ultimate reality, and holds poetry to be the highest and most authentic form. Language became a quasi-divinity, the ultimate reality or medium which explains the world to us. Heidegger takes this idea further to say all art is essentially poetry. He furthermore states the work of art, or in this case the painting is as dependent upon the painter as the painter is dependent upon the painting. This brings us to conclude that the origin of the work of art is art itself.

Art is a way in which truth happens. In art, truth is at work in the work; the establishment of truth is always active in the work.

“Art, says Heidegger, exhibits an impulse to realize itself in a work as an entity within the realm of entities” (Quigley 1). Art is one of the ways truth can establish itself in this realm. Like some before Heidegger, for example Hegel assigns to art a supreme role in the human experience.

It is through the deeper understanding of Picasso’s The Old Guitarist in terms of the struggle between earth and world that we gain access to Picasso’s true skill and talent in the success of this piece, we understand the role of creator in the dynamic emergence of truth.

Picasso’s The Old Guitarist is a haunting and pensive work, instilling a sense of mystery and intrigue. The old man, clad in tattered rags, is gazing towards the floor, both of his hand on the guitar even though the old man appears to be asleep. The essence of the old man is embodied in his posture and gesture, a distorted style noting that the upper torso of the guitarist seems to be reclining, while the bottom half appears to be sitting cross legged.

Knowing nothing about the old man, one can conclude that he has lived a long life, maybe even a depressed life considering the visible points in the painting is of fundamental importance to his mode of being. Adding to the mystery, a mysterious image is painted underneath The Old Guitarist. It is very likely that Picasso originally started painting a portrait of a woman who appears to possibly be seated and in an upset or worried mood. Not much of this image is visible except for her face and legs. The identity of the woman is also a mystery.

Picasso has achieved the revelatory effects in this portrait by revealing the truth of the old man through Heidegger’s principle of truth as “aletheia” (Textbook 196). Aletheia was the Greek goddess of truth, truthfulness, and sincerity. Aletheia in Heidegger’s terms is the unhiddenness or the experience of something hidden being brought to exposure. By not allowing the old man’s thoughts, ideas, and words to be heard and capturing him in a frozen moment of paint, Picasso allows a profound understanding of all that he has to say.

By concealing the experience of being in his presence and knowing him as a musician, Picasso reveals the very truth and nature of the old man’s serenity and existence. Picasso understands the old man’s world and the ways it would shape his material form. Heidegger describes art as the happening of truth in the struggle, “a fighting of the battle between world and earth” (Textbook 195). The truth of the old man in the painting emerges from the surface of Picasso’s work in earth. The suggestions given by the old man’s physical representation draw him out a man in a truly realistic earthly setting.

His figure and the language of his facial expressions and posture reveal him to be a man of sadness, on who is involved in the process of revealing truth and experience of duality in nature. Heidegger emphasizes that creativity in the great artist is an impulse whereby genius allows a work to become what it is. The old man in the painting is reportedly modeled after Senor Sebastian Mazzarella, the blind artist who mentored Picasso in his earlier days in Madrid. Not too much is known about Senor Sebastian, but it is thought that he died before the painting was created.

Picasso stepped away from the experience when he could no longer see Senor Sebastian for himself and Picasso was able to simply create his face and body as they were and as they became older. Picasso intuitively understood that it was not simply a task of capturing his accurate physical being, but an accomplishment of a higher level of portrait painting in capturing Senor Sebastian’s essence as a being. What is concealed both by the work and Heidegger’s inquiry, is Picasso. We cannot find his intent with this work or necessarily know how he expected it to be received, nor can we interpret its character through its creator.

Heidegger might argue that this is ideally as it should be, that the work stands on its own and that Picasso was so successful in his portrait that we don’t need to know him at all. However, without ever knowing Picasso, how do we know this portrait is really true? It could be that Picasso has let rise to something that is false or deceptive. “Heidegger understood language through its root logos, which stems from to speak which in turn derived from gather such that to speak is to gather meaning” (Quigley 4). Heidegger does not account for the gathering of false meaning and the speaking of untruths, such as Picasso may actually be doing. Picasso gathered the meaning of Senor Sebastian’s world, but is that at all the truth?

There is no room in this question to understand that, or to question the sentiments of the individuals involved in the portrait painting in their potentially corrupt roles as subject, creator, and preserver. Heidegger’s thought process overall is a fairly effective interpretative vehicle. Despite its sole understanding or beauty as revealed truth and negligence of the potential of falseness, it does bring forth the many subtle and complex happenings in Picasso’s work as well as many works of poetry and language.

While the painting is striking and engaging due to its visual characteristics and sad presence, Heidegger’s process of analysis reveals it in a much fuller complexity and richness which might otherwise be easy to overlook but which in fact holds the very keys to unlocking its deeper meaning and significance. The method of inquiry would not work for many works of art, such as a self conscious poem which has to do with familiarity with the author and his life. Heidegger would call this “bad” art for lack of a better term. His philosophy relies on the definite presence of truth in reality, such as revealed in this case through unconcealment.

Truth as unconcealment is the exposure of the being of what is. Turning to The Old Guitarist, we can conjure up the earth and world of Senor Sebastian’s life; we can see a much larger picture unfolded in the painting. The guitar is what it is, and is seen to be such, in the way in which the guitar functions in and embody his life and world. The truth that is revealed by this work is not a truth of a merely particular object, the guitar, but in revealing the whole of the earth and world of Senor Sebastian, the painting’s truth is a truth of all that is.

It is because the truth Heidegger has in mind is a truth of the being of all that is, that art can have the important function Heidegger gives to us. But what if there is no absolute truth? Works of art still affect its viewers, move and stir the souls of man whether they reveal great truth or not. How can we account for our metaphysical and deep emotional responses to music, photographs, drawings, or a scene in a play, if there is no deep profound truth being revealed?

The subjectivity of our worlds makes it that each observer or experience of art will have a unique response and understanding based on their sentiment, history, and psychology. Can a piece of art reveal universal truths, or simply touching subjective beliefs which we mistakenly put forth as true because they have been apparently revealed as such? Heidegger might state that a work of art that evokes false or incorrect truths, mistaken responses, and confused reactions is faulty in its lack of clarity in revelation of truth.

The quality of work, however, becomes a virtue rather than a flaw, as wider or more personal appeal, while less grounded in absolute truth, can make a work far more effective and immediate, encouraging personal soul level responses rather than a correct way of experiencing the truth. A less insistent analysis which does not rely on the happening of truth as something which can be perceived as well-done or unsuccessful may allow for greater levels of experience and understanding of art, while revealing far more profound truths in the process which could be otherwise hidden by a seemingly arbitrary system of judgment of what may be deemed true.

For paintings such as The Old Guitarist which attempt to convey truth, Heidegger’s “vehicle” of interpretation is ideal. We may understand the truth of the subject and the truth of the portrait as aletheia through the struggle between their earthly and worldly dimensions and further our experience of the work as we understand and articulate our preserving reactions to the relative success of the work based on how well we gain access to the truth it reveals.

The Old Guitarst by Pablo Picasso (1903) Sources T. R. Quigley, Summary of Heidegger’s ‘The Origin of the Work of Art, 1996. Rasmussen, David (Editor), Kearney, Richard (Editor). Continental Aesthetics: Classic and Contemporary Readings. Textbook. Blackwell Publishers. July 2001. The Old Guitarist. art. com. 2006.

Truth in Picasso’s the Old Guitarist Essay

Picasso’s Old Guitarist Essay

Picasso’s Old Guitarist Essay.

I visited the Art Institute of Chicago and many paintings and pieces of art caught my eye, but I almost lost my breath when I laid my eyes upon Picasso’s The Old Guitarist. I was a good thing that a bench is in front of the painting because I needed to sit down and admire the power that it exuded. The painting is one-dimensional, is flat, and doesn’t have a distinct background to it. It is done in a monochromatic color scheme and depicts a very thin, frail, blind man holding a guitar, which is brown and departs from the blue monochromatic color scheme, who is sitting cross legged and the upper half of his body is bent over.

This man holds the guitar very close to him as if he didn’t have anything else in the world, which by the looks of him he is poor and might not have any possessions. The painting is part of the Helen Birch Bartlett Memorial Collection and is located in Gallery 391A.

The Old Guitarist is an oil on canvas painting with the dimensions of 122. 9 x 82. 6 cm. Pablo Picasso is a Spanish painter and painted it in late 1903 to early 1904. The time period this painting was completed was of great importance because it marked the climax and the closing of Picasso’s blue period. Pablo Picasso was born on October 25, 1881 and passed away on April 8, 1973.

Not only was he a Spanish painter, but he was a sculptor and draughtsman as well. He is one of the most recognized figures in 20th century art. Picasso’s father was an art instructor, so he was trained as an artist as a very young man. He left Spain and went to live in Paris, France. In France he had to struggle to figure where he fit into the society of artists there. Because he identified with those struggling to survive, he began to paint pictures of the downtrodden, depicting them in all of their misery and using different shades of blue – the color of melancholy.

His personal sadness intensified due to the suicide death of his close friend, Casagemas. The period of 1901-1904 became known as the Blue Period. Les Miserables of the Blue Period gave way to the circus figures of the Rose Period which spanned from 1904-1906 and was much more cheerful then the Blue Period. Both the Blue and Rose Periods were precursors to Cubism, which defined much of Picasso’s career. Picasso became a power to be reckoned with in the world of modern art and continued to be an innovator of the highest order for the est of his life.

Picasso’s Blue Period coincided with his own restlessness. From the time period of October 1900 and April 1904, he made four trips from Barcelona to Paris. In Barcelona he lived with his parents, but he saw Paris as an artistic mecca. He began his blue paintings in 1901 while in Paris and his morose period reached an all time high with the suicide death of Carlos Casagemas. He never attended the funeral, but he was so preoccupied with his death that he painted a series of canvases portraying his death, burial, and apotheosis.

These paintings were sacred to him and he kept them in his own private collection. Many have said that Casagemas’s death brought out Picasso’s feelings over the loss of his younger sister Conception when he was fourteen years old. Picasso had immense feelings of guilt over her death and irrationally would blame himself for deaths of others close to him. His full-blown blue style developed at the end of 1901 and early 1902. He abandoned all other colors almost exclusively, no longer followed the brushwork techniques of Vincent van Gogh, and started painting in the technique of Paul Gauguin.

Most of Picasso’s Blue Period artwork featured destitute women, alcoholics, and outcasts of society. The underlying theme of the Blue Period was accusing that the prosperous individuals of society allowed the poverty of others to continue and not extending a hand for those in need. 1903 is when Picasso’s Blue Period reached its height when he painted mournful family groups. The Tragedy is thought of as being the most powerful. It depicts a mother, father, and son who are mourning the death of a loved one.

The setting of the painting looks like it is meant to be the city of Corunna where Picasso’s sister died. The largest of his Blue Period paintings, La Vie, depicts a confrontation between a young couple and an older woman holding a baby. The man in the painting is Casagemas’s, but it was later revealed that Casagemas’s image was painter over Picasso’s. The Old Guitarist represents the segment of the Blue Period that began to depict wretched destitute males in late 1903. These men were almost always shown as being blind or psychotic.

The physiques of these men where slender, ngular, and elongated, which style was similar to El Greco, who was considered somewhat of a hero in Picasso’s artistic circle in Barcelona. The Old Guitarist is unique in the Blue Period because the blind man is “spiritually transported by his creative effort, rather than mired in hopeless passivity. ”. The man seems to use his musical creativity as protection. He seems to be in another world created by his own music/song which may symbolize the joy that Picasso receives from his own work. The power of the old man and his feeling of having everything required are emphasized by Picasso.

Picasso has squeezed him into a frame that does not seem large enough to contain him. One could imagine that the old man would surpass the boundaries of the canvas if he were to raise his head or stretch out his legs. The Old Guitarist gives a sense of constricted power so not only is the old man limited by his blindness but also by the space he is allowed to move in, but it doesn’t seem to bother him. If one looks closely to The Old Guitarist it seems as though that there is another image behind the man. The image does not seem to have been intentionally placed to add any significance to the old man.

The Old Guitarist is one of several of Picasso’s Blue Period paintings were the canvas has been reused. The image in the background is that of a woman which is what Picasso intended to originally paint, but for some reason decided not to and decided to paint over it instead of throwing away a perfectly usable canvas. This is not the only painting in which Picasso decided to reuse the support. Picasso simply painted over the figure of the woman and did not try to add a base layer of paint to cover her up or turn the canvas.

This shows that Picasso had immense concentration when painting that the image of the woman did not distract him. La Vie is the only known Picasso work where it is evident that he turned the canvas 90 degrees. X-rays were taken of many of Picasso’s painting to see what the underlying image was. The Old Guitarist is unique because the complete form of the woman cannot be seen whereas in other paintings there is a complete composition underneath. The young woman’s head, shoulders and long hair are able to be seen without the use of an X-ray.

One could also make out the breasts without an X-ray, but they are less visible. The X-ray is extremely useful when deciphering that below her head, and to her left, a second, more ghost-like female image appears, her head seemingly bowed as though sunk into her chest. The X-rays also reveals an extended left arm, held palm upward, and two bare lower legs and feet. The lower legs and feet are located between the guitarist’s crossed legs. It is not clear from the fragmented evidence which female figure the limbs belong to, nor did which head Picasso draw first.

The layers of paint covering the remainder of the image proved to be resistant to other laboratory techniques that were executed. During late 1903, Picasso seemed quite preoccupied with portraying nudes who extended their arms in gestures similar to that of the woman beneath the guitarist. Several of these drawings appear to have been created as decorations for a fireplace. There are many hypothesized themes as to one could ascertain from this work of art and that is why it is able to speak to many people on different levels. After all the research I did on this painting, I see the guitarist being Picasso.

Some have said that the guitarist is Casagemas and that the guitar is the female form and psychology. When Casagemas committed suicide he did it in front of the women he loved. I see it as just as the guitarist was absorbed in his creativity, so was Picasso. Picasso dedicated his life for his craft. The painting also can be seen as a self fulfilling prophecy since Picasso lived a long life being an artist. In Picasso’s Self-Portrait of 1972 that was sketched with pencil and crayon, he draws himself resembling the guitarist. This piece is so powerful because Picasso identifies himself with the old guitarist.

Picasso’s Old Guitarist Essay

Les Demoiselles d’Avignon: Pablo Picasso Essay

Les Demoiselles d’Avignon: Pablo Picasso Essay.

Pablo Picasso was born in Malaga, Spain in the 19th century but he owned the world of 20th century art. He was the single most important figure in Modern Art and his name is synonymous with the style. He was a child prodigy, recognized as such and allowed wide latitude in both school and art. Admirers love him and he is also reviled and treated with contempt by those who see him as a charlatan, perpetuating the supreme practical joke on the world of art.

It is told of him that he passed the entrance exam for the Barcelona School of Fine Arts when he was but 14, and that he was recognized immediately as a genius.

It is said of Picasso that his father was so awed by his son’s brilliance in the field of art that upon seeing Pablo’s work he gave the boy his palette and brushes and swore an oath never to paint again. In fairness to the record, this myth has also been told of Leonardo and others in the field of fine arts.

Picasso went through different periods in his artistic career, characterized by an obsession with one particular color or style. Early on he entered his Blue Period, and though painting in a masterful style, he colored all of his work with various shades of blue.

The people he painted during this particular period are all grim and thin to the point of emaciation. Still, the work is recognized as being from the hand of a master artist and serves to dispel later criticisms that he wasn’t very talented in the area of anatomy and was not a great draftsman. This period lasted about four years, encompassing the years of 1900 to about 1904. During his Rose Period, which was of a shorter duration, lasting from 1905 to 1906, his canvases took on a pink tone which make his work of that period seem warm and friendlier to the eye of the art patron.

Many of his subjects from this period were circus performers and acrobats. Picasso relocated to Paris in 1904, believing the city to be the center of the art universe. It was there that he met such artists as Matisse, Miro and Braques and was inspired, it is said, by the works of Paul Cezanne. He was a prime mover and shaker, pioneering work in the field of Cubism, along with such masters as George Braques and Juan Gris. It was in the summer of 1906 that Picasso returned to his native Spain, visiting Gosol.

While there his work entered yet another phase, passing out of the short lived Rose Period but not fully into the world of cubism. The seminal work of this period, created upon his return to Paris in 1907, was his monumental Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, which is considered a virtual aubade to the dawn of Cubism. The painting, Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, translated to English as The Ladies of Avignon, is oil on canvas and measures roughly 8’ by 7’-8”. It turns one hundred this year and it shows some signs of wear and tear, but it is still stunning in its conception and execution.

MoMA , where the painting has hung since the early 20th century, has the responsibility of maintaining this world treasure. Their analysis has shown that the painting is stable at the present time after a 2004 restoration. This is one of several restorations that have been done over the course of the painting’s life. Naturally the exam did show that the natural accumulation of dust, coupled with the yellowing of waxes and varnishes that have been used over the past century have affected the colors dramatically. Progress reports, data, and photographs have been posted on this site (MoMA) to chart the restoration process [see: Conservator’s Update March 2004, June 2004,and January 20055]. MoMA is pleased to introduce visitors to this crucial aspect of museum work with clear explanations of the processes involved and definitions of the technology and materials used in conservation. The Avignon in this title is not a reference to the French town of Avignon. It rather refers to a well-known street in Barcelona’s brothel district.

The French writer and poet, Andre Breton, described the work as, “the core of Picasso’s laboratory. ” It was in his Montmartre studio, which was known as Bateau-Lavoir, that his work began to change dramatically. He was leaving the structural behind, those Cezanne-like pieces that made him one of the herd, breaking new ground with his ideas. His Two Nudes, of 1906 was exemplary of this earlier work. Picasso and George Braque were creating a new art form, in essence. It was a pictorial language by which the artist could communicate with the viewer.

A Picasso scholar, speaking of this painting, said that the work was a sign of his progression from, “outer presence to inner shape, from color to structure, and from modified romanticism to a deepening formalism. ” The general viewing public, those people who are not artists, scholars or critics, can readily see the influence of African tribal art on this work. The five life sized nude women are in a tight group around a foreground still life. The left half of the painting depicts three women in classical poses, though they are severely distorted. The remaining two figures are contorted and angular and virtually primitive.

Over the years of its existence it has been said that the table in foreground, which seems to project inward toward the women, is a phallic symbol and the half-moon shape of the melon in the still life is representative of a scimitar which symbolically is about to destroy the prostitutes. It seems more likely that these objects are simply a table and a slice of melon. Critics have said that this painting has the appearance of “a work in progress,” and it appears that Picasso cannot make up his mind exactly what he means to do on the canvas with his forms and composition.

The forms are distorted, apparently unfinished and the style of the work is inconsistent. Laymen complain that the painting looks raw, crude and even unfinished. This painting and its critiques are reminiscent of the Emperor’s new clothes, in that while it is considered a masterpiece by a master artist, the layman’s observations are valid. It has a barbaric quality to it. The painting is disturbing, the perspective, even for a cubist work is odd and singular, missing the dimensions of synthetic cubism which would emerge from this painting.

There is a definite influence of antique Iberian sculptures that can be seen in the heads of the central figures. The corner pieces are comprised of larger planes and are a totally different style from the others. The faces themselves show the influence of African art and have an distinctly animalistic quality. One is baboon-like. Picasso’s use of African art is seen in his departure from the traditionally accepted anatomy and physical depictions of the human body, allowing Picasso to depart even from the rudiments of cubism and show an object’s dimensions from more than one perspective.

Picasso’s genius showed the world a new and stylized way of looking at three-dimensional form. Post impressionistic works show a compression of space on the surface of the canvas but Picasso took this compression to the extreme. The energy of this work is caused in part by the disjointed planes, the sweeping curves and the angular lines. Leo Steinberg said in his essays on the work, “the beholder, instead of observing a roomful of lazing whores, is targeted from all sides. So far from suppressing the subject, the mode of organization heightens its flagrant eroticism.

Picasso valued the urgency he found in primitive art and sought a way to convey it to his canvas. In this work he succeeded admirably. Like most master artists, Picasso began his studies in the traditional manner and paid his dues by learning the techniques and compositions of the old masters. In Les Demoiselles his homage to tradition can clearly be seen. The subject, and even the composition of the work is steeped in traditions of formality. The composition of five female nudes grouped around a still life owes a debt to the artists of the Renaissance.

Botticelli’s Rite of Spring comes to mind. Still, the structure is much like that of Cezanne’s best work. His Bathers is a composition of bodies arranged in a tightly defined structure. It treats the form as a volume. Such did not originate with Cezanne, but rather goes back to cave drawings and man’s early attempts to record and communicate with other humans. It is rudimentary and crude in execution but it is effective as a method of communicating. Cezanne taught Picasso to outline landscapes and the form of the human body and then break them up.

Picasso learned that different facets of perspective objects can be pictured in this manner. The coloring of this painting is harsh though the figures themselves are primarily a buff color, relaxing to the eye, giving the viewer’s eye a place to rest. There are jagged black and white contours while one is a reddish hue, almost the color of the background. There is a patch of brilliant blue appearing to represent the sky behind one of the figures on the right side of the canvas.

The complementary colors an artist would normally place side by side are not seen in this painting, presumably to keep the color from competing with the actual design, which is the true subject of this work. Leo Steinberg believes that the painting has been misinterpreted for almost a century and should be taken at face value. In essence he says that critics and artists have been looking at the painting as a cubist decorative work of sterile colors and designs when in reality it is just what it appears to be. It is five nude prostitutes beckoning to the viewer, a potential customer, to come in and taste the wares, so to speak.

Before Steinberg dared to point out the obvious the entire art world had considered this work as the pivotal breakthrough, allowing form to be all and end all in modern art. After Steinberg the painting is seen as a new kind of engagement with human sexuality and “one whose immediacy was unprecedented in the history of painting. ” Picasso did not discover prostitution and is not the first artist to depict it. Still this work, with its raw power and immediacy is more compelling that works of other masters on this particular subject. As Freud said, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

It seems specious to attach Christian interpretation to all art and ridiculous to believe that one can know an artist’s motives by simply viewing his work. The debate rages on as to whether or not Picasso is depicting his loathing of women. He was blatantly heterosexual but that in itself would not preclude him from hating women, as he has been so often accused. He is certainly brutal in his depiction of them in this work. The Feminist Movement was underway in the Paris of Picasso’s early days, and one of his patrons was Gertrude Stein a champion of women’s rights and suffrage.

Picasso has demonstrated his propensity for slumming with his Blue Period and it appears that his desire to depict prostitutes in a brothel was another attempt to shock the world by saying that not only do prostitutes exist, but they are accepted members of society. From the poverty and depravation he painted in his Blue Period, irrespective of his brief swing into the pink glow of his Rose, Picasso took another detour in his attempt to show the art world his grand vision of society’s underbelly.

Les D’emoiselles d’Avignon, Leo Steinberg said, were ‘painted more brutally than any woman had been painted since the eleventh or twelfth century, since that time when woman was seen as a symbol of the flesh, of the physical purgatory in which man was condemned to suffer until he died. It was meant to shock. ” Picasso was not attacking sexual immorality. He was raging against life as he saw it. He was protesting the “waste, the disease, the ugliness and the ruthlessness of it. ” As to how this art work relates to my class studies there is more than one answer.

Though the techniques Picasso employed are not particularly revolutionary, even for the time in which he painted the work, his concept of colors are still relevant in the 21st century. I can see how Picasso has managed to subjugate the subject matter to the overall pattern upon which he wanted the viewer to focus. The theory of cubism and synthetic cubism is relevant to much of the artwork created in this decade. The idea that an object can be broken down into its basic planes and then rendered in two dimensions to give the illusion of there being three is germane to virtually all art.

Obviously computers can show the third dimension with photo reality but it is important for the human brain to know the mechanics of how it is done. I must admit this work speaks to me and inspires me to create. I look at this painting and feel the urge to apply medium to support. I want to be Pablo Picasso for a moment. And when that feeling passes I am left with the warm glow of confidence in my ability to do something creative. In short, this masterpiece is inspirational to me.

Les Demoiselles d’Avignon: Pablo Picasso Essay