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Cubism And Picasso Essay, Research Paper

Picasso?s development toward cubism reached its climax with the monumental

justly celebrated Demoiselles d?Avignon (1906). This painting, named for a

brothel in Barcelona?s Avignon Street, depicts, in a highly stylized form,

five angular nude or partially draped women grouped around an arrangement of

fruit. This final, condensed version, developed through many preparatory works,

was attained by gradual simplifications and eliminations of an originally

conspicuous subject matter. 1. LINEAR (SHARP CONTOURS) VS PAINTERLY (LINES ARE

INDISTINCT Picasso shows a rethinking of the human body in Les Demoiselles. This

ranges from a simplified naturalism, (in the centre figures) to an increased

sense of fragmentation in to angular forms, each of which appears to have an

independent existence. Such disjunction of body parts challenged the standards

by which the human body had been constructed before. In synchronicity, the

background elements of draperies and wall were fragmented, aligned with the


RECESSION (UNIFIED BY DIAGONAL PLANES) It is quite difficult to determine

whether Les Demoiselles should be catogorized as the ?plane? or recession?

option for the following reasons: Picasso shifted the point of view at will

heads, noses and eyes are seen simultaneously in profile and full front. In

other words, the vision of the spectator is enlarged to include a number of

different views. As thought they were moving form point to point, looking up

then down. Modern studies of perception have shown that this is the way one

forms a visual image of an object. Not from one fixed all encompassing glance,

but from an infinite number of momentary glimpses, formulated and unified into a

whole by the spectator?s mind. Cubism introduced into painting not only a new

kind of space, but also another dimension, time. Therefore one may conclude that

Les Demoiselles is neither built up of semi-independent planes nor unified by


OBJECTS) It is also quite difficult to determine whether this painting depicts

?absolute clarity? or ?relative clarity.? One might suggest that Les

Demoiselles demonstrates ?absolute clarity? since all objects are in plane

sight, meaning none of the figures/objects are clouded by shadow. Yet,

?relative clarity? is also suggested. Although the figures/objects may

easily be viewed, it can, at times be hard to determine what exactly is being

observed, (ie. drapery) 4. COLOUR + LIGHT ADHERES TO FROM VS COLOUR + LIGHT IS

COLOUR REFRACTED/REFLECTED There is no suggestion of either light or shadow,

with the exception of the figure in the upper right corner who appears to be


Since Les Demoiselles depicts a brothel scene one would assume that a series a

lounging nude females would be common place, therefore depicting a potentially

limitless period of time.

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