This paper will present an examination of Picasso`s painting `Les Demoiselles d`Avignon` (1907). It is considered by many critics to be the first real Cubist, or part-Cubist work in Picasso`s huge body of art works. The paper will examine different critical views and provide a descriptive, close response to its visual impact. The paper will explore why this is such a powerful work, still, as it was when it was painted, and look at the number of influences believed to be contained in it; showing how Picasso`s incredible knowledge of art enabled him to push beyond the boundaries of realism into the flat abstract representations of the contemporary, 20th century world, a new kind of realism and one of the most influential transformations that impacted art in the 20th century.
[...] What the Critics Say In an excerpt from his work, `The Rise of Cubism` Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler, who was both a writer and a leading art dealer who championed Cubism, argued that Picasso`s large painting ``Les Demoiselles d`Avignon`` contains elements within it that make it the first full expression of the artistic movement of Cubism. The two elements he cites are the ``crouching figure and a bowl of fruit drawn angularly, not roundly modeled in chiaroscuro. The colors are luscious blue, strident yellow, next to pure black and white. [...]
[...] What is amazing is that it is still able to shock and create controversy a century after it was painted, which tells us that the amount of time Picasso spent thinking and working on individual pieces like Les Demoiselles d`Avignon reveal how much he put into his work, and the incredible degree of layers that are the result of such concentrated deep thought and skilled, radical, formal and content-driven artistic innovation that also led to the explosion of Cubism as a new way of seeing. [...]
[...] One of the men in the early prototypes is ``carrying first a skull and then a book.`` (Seckel: 213) She asks, `Why were these figures eliminated from the final painting.`` (Seckel, 212) Hal Foster, in a radical reading of the Picasso painting, reveals how not every critic is enamoured of this painting. His reading can be called critical and accusatory. He maintains that the haunting feeling which is detected when one views this work is Picasso`s expression of his own fear of women and of non-white people. [...]
[...] Her legs are spread wide, again sexually suggestive, but we see the curve of the buttocks and thighs, not her front. Her face is frightening. There is an almost sarcastic mocking expression. The eyes are blue and white with small penetrating black pupils. The nose looks gouged out and blackened the mouth is to the side and tiny. While both her arms are at her sides, elbows out creating V shapes, she seems to be stroking her face with an odd shaped scythe like fleshy protrusion in the shape of a bevel of some kind. [...]
[...] Exploring what is in effect a mystical notion, Kahnweiler writes, in the whole history of art, there were not already sufficient proof that the appearance of the aesthetic product is conditioned in its particularity by the spirit of the time, that even the most powerful artists unconsciously execute its will, then this would be proof.`(Kahnweiler: 210) Les Demoiselles d`Avignon (1907) shows that Picasso was not only working towards Cubism, but also shows other influences that had played a role in his painting up to that time. [...]
Online readingwith our online reader
Content validatedby our reading committee