In 1907, Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) created Les Demoiselles d’Avignon as a large painting in modernism. The picture is a portrayal of five young women prostitutes from a brothel in Barcelona. The Pablo Picasso’s painting is a good illustration of how geometric forms resulted in a rise of cubism and abstract art. The artists present women’s beauty through nude photos as a symbol of natural purity. The distortion of Picasso about the face of women makes the painting famous as a good illustration of primitivism in the modern art. In its first exhibition in the year 1916, most individuals deemed the painting to be immoral because prostitution was not an acceptable practice. The painting, Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, is a revolutionary piece of work in modernism that stands out in the break from the traditional ways.
Modernism is a movement in the western art that was formed in the 1850’s with an emphasis on experimentation to create artworks that reflect on the practice in the modern society. The artists are able to make use of different colors, shapes, and lines to make up their work. In the year 1907, Picasso and Braque introduced different perceptions of subjects resulting in images that appear fragmented. On the other hand, cubism opened up a possibility to a treatment of visual reality as a starting point of late abstract styles (Witcombe et.al, 2017). Through modernism, artists were able to find new forms of expressions in the years after the World War 1.
In Les Demoiselles d’Avignon painting, Picasso makes use of Baroque and Renaissance practices. The two practices have the selective illumination of figures that emerge from deep shallow. In the painting, Picasso portrays the women emerging from a dark background with a unique illumination (Muniz et.al, 2014). The use of Baroque style presents models in lower classes, unlike the styles that were used to represent religious idols. The period of Baroque placed an emphasis on daily life to coincide with the portrayal of Picasso in the painting. During the time, prostitution was a common profession for females although a significant number of people perceived the practice as immoral. However, Picasso depicted nude women as a representation of beauty in the artistic work.
In the Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, Picasso makes use of African art in the flatness of the models and the mask-like faces of the women (Witcombe et.al, 2017). It is possible that Picasso felt that the use of masks was appropriate when women take on the role of sexual objects rather than the role that they play in the domestic settings such as cooking and washing. A large number of art historians refer to the period as “Negro Period”. Therefore, the painting shows Picasso dabbling with cubism, which becomes a famous style in the later years. The strategy of Picasso to sticking to the rules at that time and making a style on his own makes him a special artist for the Les Demoiselles d’Avignon. In the painting, the viewers are able to see the use of Baroque style and the contribution of French Imperialism in Africa.
Picasso Painted the Les Demoiselles d’Avignon after an increase in the practices of prostitution. The artistic style used in the image is cubism, while an emphasis of flatness is an attribute of Lberian art. Through the artistic style, Picasso had lost all his interests in naturalistic curves and chose on creating planes. It is evident that the painting was one of the most crucial paintings that were developed by Picasso (Elleh, 2014). In his spatial experiments, Picasso went further to abandon the illusion of Renaissance and presented a flattened picture with geometric shards.
In arts, modernism is about 100 years and the painting Les Demoiselles d’Avignon is a good example of an artwork in modernism. According to Voorhies, (2004), Picasso drew the design of the painting during the winter in 1906 and 1907. He developed ideas through a program of conscious strategies to resemble the projects of Leonardo. The painting altered the nature of reality to reflect the contemporary of Picasso. In this context, Picasso portrays five women who are entangled in silver and blue color. Two of the ladies are raising their arms because they want to flaunt their breasts. In addition, the other three models are wearing masks. Picasso shows some fruits placed in a plate such as testicular grapes, a pear, an apple and a blade of melon. It is a painting of nudes to depict the practices of prostitution that were prevalent during the modernism period.
It is clear that Picasso had a chance to work on Les Demoiselles in better way more than he ever worked in the previous paintings. The artist knew that he was doing something important in artwork and many individuals still visit museums to view the work in arts. The distortion strategy used by Picasso makes the painting a good example of primitivism modernism artworks (Weisberg, 2004). In addition, Picasso through cubism has managed to bring out different perceptions in the same painting to open up a possibility of visual reality. Even in a setting that does not promote paintings, Picasso stands out in modernism.
In conclusion, Picasso in the painting, Les Demoiselles d’Avignon portrays five women looking at the viewer in sexual anxiety. His painting has a unique illumination through the use of Baroque style. The models in the painting are wearing masks showing that African arts had influenced Picasso in his artwork. It is clear that modernism is now more than 100 years and the Pablo Picasso painting has been part of modernism in arts. It is clear that Picasso portrayed that the originality in art lies in the modern invention in painting. Although people no longer embrace artworks, the Les Demoiselles d’Avignon still stands out in modernism.
- Elleh, N. (2014). Architecture of the Underprivileged Classes and Cubism. Reading the Architecture of the Underprivileged Classes, 63.
- M. Muñiz Jr, A., Norris, T., & Alan Fine, G. (2014). Marketing artistic careers: Pablo Picasso as Brand Manager. European Journal of Marketing, 48(1/2), 68-88.
- Voorhies, James. New York, Metropolitan museum, 2004. Metropolitan museum of art. Academic index.net, www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/pica/hd_pica.htm. Accessed 22 Mar. 2017.
- Weisberg, Robert W. Empirical Studies of the Arts. Sage journals, 2004. Temple university. Google scholar, Journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.2190/EH48-K59C-DFRB-LXE7. Accessed 22 Mar. 2017.
- Witcombe, Dr.christopher L., Eleanor Barton, and Aileen ‘Ninie’ Laing. Modernism and politics. art history resources, pp. 1-5. Ph.D. in art history, Bryn Mawr College M.A. in art history, University of Massachusetts, Amherst B.A. in art history, University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Google scholar, arthistoryresources.net/modernism/politics.html. Accessed 22 Mar. 2017.