Larlequin De Picasso Descriptive Essay

"Picasso" redirects here. For other uses, see Picasso (disambiguation).

This name uses Spanish naming customs: the first or paternal family name is Ruiz and the second or maternal family name is Picasso.

Pablo Picasso

Picasso in 1908

BornPablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Ruiz y Picasso[1]
(1881-10-25)25 October 1881
Málaga, Spain
Died8 April 1973(1973-04-08) (aged 91)
Mougins, France
Resting placeChâteau of Vauvenargues
43°33′15″N5°36′16″E / 43.554142°N 5.604438°E / 43.554142; 5.604438
NationalitySpanish
EducationJosé Ruiz y Blasco (father)
Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando
Known forPainting, drawing, sculpture, printmaking, ceramics, stage design, writing
Notable workLa Vie (1903)
Family of Saltimbanques (1905)
Les Demoiselles d'Avignon (1907)
Portrait of Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler (1910)
Girl before a Mirror (1932)
Le Rêve (1932)
Guernica (1937)
The Weeping Woman (1937)
MovementCubism, Surrealism
Spouse(s)Olga Khokhlova
(m. 1918; d. 1955)
Jacqueline Roque
(m. 1961)

Pablo Picasso (;[2]Spanish: [ˈpaβlo piˈkaso]; 25 October 1881 – 8 April 1973) was a Spanish painter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist, stage designer, poet and playwright who spent most of his adult life in France. Regarded as one of the most influential artists of the 20th century, he is known for co-founding the Cubist movement, the invention of constructed sculpture,[3][4] the co-invention of collage, and for the wide variety of styles that he helped develop and explore. Among his most famous works are the proto-CubistLes Demoiselles d'Avignon (1907), and Guernica (1937), a dramatic portrayal of the bombing of Guernica by the German and Italian airforces.

Picasso demonstrated extraordinary artistic talent in his early years, painting in a naturalistic manner through his childhood and adolescence. During the first decade of the 20th century, his style changed as he experimented with different theories, techniques, and ideas. After 1906, the Fauvist work of the slightly older artist Henri Matisse motivated Picasso to explore more radical styles, beginning a fruitful rivalry between the two artists, who subsequently were often paired by critics as the leaders of modern art.[5][6][7][8]

Picasso's work is often categorized into periods. While the names of many of his later periods are debated, the most commonly accepted periods in his work are the Blue Period (1901–1904), the Rose Period (1904–1906), the African-influenced Period (1907–1909), Analytic Cubism (1909–1912), and Synthetic Cubism (1912–1919), also referred to as the Crystal period. Much of Picasso's work of the late 1910s and early 1920s is in a neoclassical style, and his work in the mid-1920s often has characteristics of Surrealism. His later work often combines elements of his earlier styles.

Exceptionally prolific throughout the course of his long life, Picasso achieved universal renown and immense fortune for his revolutionary artistic accomplishments, and became one of the best-known figures in 20th-century art.

Early life

Picasso was baptized Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Ruiz y Picasso,[1] a series of names honouring various saints and relatives.[9]Ruiz y Picasso were included for his father and mother, respectively, as per Spanish law. Born in the city of Málaga in the Andalusian region of Spain, he was the first child of Don José Ruiz y Blasco (1838–1913) and María Picasso y López.[10] His mother was of one quarter Italian descent, from the territory of Genoa.[11] Though baptized a Catholic, Picasso would later on become an atheist.[12] Picasso's family was of middle-class background. His father was a painter who specialized in naturalistic depictions of birds and other game. For most of his life Ruiz was a professor of art at the School of Crafts and a curator of a local museum. Ruiz's ancestors were minor aristocrats.

Picasso showed a passion and a skill for drawing from an early age. According to his mother, his first words were "piz, piz", a shortening of lápiz, the Spanish word for "pencil".[13] From the age of seven, Picasso received formal artistic training from his father in figure drawing and oil painting. Ruiz was a traditional academic artist and instructor, who believed that proper training required disciplined copying of the masters, and drawing the human body from plaster casts and live models. His son became preoccupied with art to the detriment of his classwork.

The family moved to A Coruña in 1891, where his father became a professor at the School of Fine Arts. They stayed almost four years. On one occasion, the father found his son painting over his unfinished sketch of a pigeon. Observing the precision of his son's technique, an apocryphal story relates, Ruiz felt that the thirteen-year-old Picasso had surpassed him, and vowed to give up painting,[14] though paintings by him exist from later years.

In 1895, Picasso was traumatized when his seven-year-old sister, Conchita, died of diphtheria.[15] After her death, the family moved to Barcelona, where Ruiz took a position at its School of Fine Arts. Picasso thrived in the city, regarding it in times of sadness or nostalgia as his true home.[16] Ruiz persuaded the officials at the academy to allow his son to take an entrance exam for the advanced class. This process often took students a month, but Picasso completed it in a week, and the jury admitted him, at just 13. As a student, Picasso lacked discipline but made friendships that would affect him in later life. His father rented a small room for him close to home so he could work alone, yet he checked up on him numerous times a day, judging his drawings. The two argued frequently.

Picasso's father and uncle decided to send the young artist to Madrid's Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando, the country's foremost art school.[16] At age 16, Picasso set off for the first time on his own, but he disliked formal instruction and stopped attending classes soon after enrollment. Madrid held many other attractions. The Prado housed paintings by Diego Velázquez, Francisco Goya, and Francisco Zurbarán. Picasso especially admired the works of El Greco; elements such as his elongated limbs, arresting colours, and mystical visages are echoed in Picasso's later work.

Career

Before 1900

Picasso's training under his father began before 1890. His progress can be traced in the collection of early works now held by the Museu Picasso in Barcelona, which provides one of the most comprehensive records extant of any major artist's beginnings.[17] During 1893 the juvenile quality of his earliest work falls away, and by 1894 his career as a painter can be said to have begun.[18] The academic realism apparent in the works of the mid-1890s is well displayed in The First Communion (1896), a large composition that depicts his sister, Lola. In the same year, at the age of 14, he painted Portrait of Aunt Pepa, a vigorous and dramatic portrait that Juan-Eduardo Cirlot has called "without a doubt one of the greatest in the whole history of Spanish painting."[19]

In 1897, his realism began to show a Symbolist influence, for example, in a series of landscape paintings rendered in non-naturalistic violet and green tones. What some call his Modernist period (1899–1900) followed. His exposure to the work of Rossetti, Steinlen, Toulouse-Lautrec and Edvard Munch, combined with his admiration for favourite old masters such as El Greco, led Picasso to a personal version of modernism in his works of this period.[20]

Picasso made his first trip to Paris, then the art capital of Europe, in 1900. There, he met his first Parisian friend, journalist and poet Max Jacob, who helped Picasso learn the language and its literature. Soon they shared an apartment; Max slept at night while Picasso slept during the day and worked at night. These were times of severe poverty, cold, and desperation. Much of his work was burned to keep the small room warm. During the first five months of 1901, Picasso lived in Madrid, where he and his anarchist friend Francisco de Asís Soler founded the magazine Arte Joven (Young Art), which published five issues. Soler solicited articles and Picasso illustrated the journal, mostly contributing grim cartoons depicting and sympathizing with the state of the poor. The first issue was published on 31 March 1901, by which time the artist had started to sign his work Picasso; before he had signed Pablo Ruiz y Picasso.[21]

Blue Period: 1901–1904

Further information: Picasso's Blue Period

Picasso's Blue Period (1901–1904), characterized by sombre paintings rendered in shades of blue and blue-green, only occasionally warmed by other colours, began either in Spain in early 1901, or in Paris in the second half of the year.[22] Many paintings of gaunt mothers with children date from the Blue Period, during which Picasso divided his time between Barcelona and Paris. In his austere use of colour and sometimes doleful subject matter – prostitutes and beggars are frequent subjects – Picasso was influenced by a trip through Spain and by the suicide of his friend Carlos Casagemas. Starting in autumn of 1901 he painted several posthumous portraits of Casagemas, culminating in the gloomy allegorical painting La Vie (1903), now in the Cleveland Museum of Art.[23]

Rose Period: 1904–1906

Further information: Picasso's Rose Period

The same mood pervades the well-known etching The Frugal Repast (1904),[24] which depicts a blind man and a sighted woman, both emaciated, seated at a nearly bare table. Blindness is a recurrent theme in Picasso's works of this period, also represented in The Blindman's Meal (1903, the Metropolitan Museum of Art) and in the portrait of Celestina (1903). Other works include Portrait of Soler and Portrait of Suzanne Bloch.

The Rose Period (1904–1906)[25] is characterized by a lighter tone and style utilizing orange and pink colours, and featuring many circus people, acrobats and harlequins known in France as saltimbanques. The harlequin, a comedic character usually depicted in checkered patterned clothing, became a personal symbol for Picasso. Picasso met Fernande Olivier, a bohemian artist who became his mistress, in Paris in 1904.[15] Olivier appears in many of his Rose Period paintings, many of which are influenced by his warm relationship with her, in addition to his increased exposure to French painting. The generally upbeat and optimistic mood of paintings in this period is reminiscent of the 1899–1901 period (i.e. just prior to the Blue Period) and 1904 can be considered a transition year between the two periods.

By 1905, Picasso became a favourite of American art collectors Leo and Gertrude Stein. Their older brother Michael Stein and his wife Sarah also became collectors of his work. Picasso painted portraits of both Gertrude Stein and her nephew Allan Stein. Gertrude Stein became Picasso's principal patron, acquiring his drawings and paintings and exhibiting them in her informal Salon at her home in Paris.[27] At one of her gatherings in 1905, he met Henri Matisse, who was to become a lifelong friend and rival. The Steins introduced him to Claribel Cone and her sister Etta who were American art collectors; they also began to acquire Picasso and Matisse's paintings. Eventually Leo Stein moved to Italy. Michael and Sarah Stein became patrons of Matisse, while Gertrude Stein continued to collect Picasso.[28]

In 1907 Picasso joined an art gallery that had recently been opened in Paris by Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler. Kahnweiler was a German art historian and art collector who became one of the premier French art dealers of the 20th century. He was among the first champions of Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque and the Cubism that they jointly developed. Kahnweiler promoted burgeoning artists such as André Derain, Kees van Dongen, Fernand Léger, Juan Gris, Maurice de Vlaminck and several others who had come from all over the globe to live and work in Montparnasse at the time.[29]

African art and primitivism: 1907–1909

See also: Picasso's African Period and Proto-Cubism

Picasso's African-influenced Period (1907–1909) begins with his painting Les Demoiselles d'Avignon. Picasso painted this composition in a style inspired by Iberian sculpture, but repainted the faces of the two figures on the right after being powerfully impressed by African artefacts he saw in June 1907 in the ethnographic museum at Palais du Trocadéro.[30] When he displayed the painting to acquaintances in his studio later that year, the nearly universal reaction was shock and revulsion; Matisse angrily dismissed the work as a hoax.[31] Picasso did not exhibit Le Demoiselles publicly until 1916.

Other works from this period include Nude with Raised Arms (1907) and Three Women (1908). Formal ideas developed during this period lead directly into the Cubist period that follows.

Analytic cubism: 1909–1912

Analytic cubism (1909–1912) is a style of painting Picasso developed with Georges Braque using monochrome brownish and neutral colours. Both artists took apart objects and "analyzed" them in terms of their shapes. Picasso and Braque's paintings at this time share many similarities.

Synthetic cubism: 1912–1919

Main article: Crystal Cubism

Synthetic cubism (1912–1919) was a further development of the genre of cubism, in which cut paper fragments – often wallpaper or portions of newspaper pages – were pasted into compositions, marking the first use of collage in fine art. In Paris, Picasso entertained a distinguished coterie of friends in the Montmartre and Montparnasse quarters, including André Breton, poet Guillaume Apollinaire, writer Alfred Jarry, and Gertrude Stein. Apollinaire was arrested on suspicion of stealing the Mona Lisa from the Louvre in 1911. Apollinaire pointed to his friend Picasso, who was also brought in for questioning, but both were later exonerated.[32]

Between 1915 and 1917, Picasso began a series of paintings depicting highly geometric and minimalist Cubist objects, consisting of either a pipe, a guitar or a glass, with an occasional element of collage. "Hard-edged square-cut diamonds", notes art historian John Richardson, "these gems do not always have upside or downside".[33][34] "We need a new name to designate them," wrote Picasso to Gertrude Stein: Maurice Raynal suggested "Crystal Cubism".[33][35] These "little gems" may have been produced by Picasso in response to critics who had claimed his defection from the movement, through his experimentation with classicism within the so-called return to order following the war.[33][36]

After acquiring some fame and fortune, Picasso left Olivier for Marcelle Humbert, whom he called Eva Gouel. Picasso included declarations of his love for Eva in many Cubist works. Picasso was devastated by her premature death from illness at the age of 30 in 1915.[37]

At the outbreak of World War I in August 1914, Picasso was living in Avignon. Braque and Derain were mobilized and Apollinaire joined the French artillery, while the Spaniard Juan Gris remained from the Cubist circle. During the war, Picasso was able to continue painting uninterrupted, unlike his French comrades. His paintings became more sombre and his life changed with dramatic consequences. Kahnweiler’s contract had terminated on his exile from France. At this point Picasso’s work would be taken on by the art dealer Léonce Rosenberg. After the loss of Eva Gouel, Picasso had an affair with Gaby Lespinasse. During the spring of 1916, Apollinaire returned from the front wounded. They renewed their friendship, but Picasso began to frequent new social circles.[38]

Further information: Picasso and the Ballets Russes

Towards the end of World War I, Picasso became involved with Serge Diaghilev's Ballets Russes. Among his friends during this period were Jean Cocteau, Jean Hugo, Juan Gris, and others. In the summer of 1918, Picasso married Olga Khokhlova, a ballerina with Sergei Diaghilev's troupe, for whom Picasso was designing a ballet, Erik Satie's Parade, in Rome; they spent their honeymoon near Biarritz in the villa of glamorous Chilean art patron Eugenia Errázuriz.

After returning from his honeymoon and in need of money, Picasso started his exclusive relationship with the French-Jewish art dealer Paul Rosenberg. As part of his first duties, Rosenberg agreed to rent the couple an apartment in Paris at his own expense, which was located next to his own house. This was the start of a deep brother-like friendship between two very different men, that would last until the outbreak of World War II.

Khokhlova introduced Picasso to high society, formal dinner parties, and other dimensions of the life of the rich in 1920s Paris. The two had a son, Paulo Picasso,[39] who would grow up to be a motorcycle racer and chauffeur to his father. Khokhlova's insistence on social propriety clashed with Picasso's bohemian tendencies and the two lived in a state of constant conflict. During the same period that Picasso collaborated with Diaghilev's troupe, he and Igor Stravinsky collaborated on Pulcinella in 1920. Picasso took the opportunity to make several drawings of the composer.

In 1927 Picasso met 17-year-old Marie-Thérèse Walter and began a secret affair with her. Picasso's marriage to Khokhlova soon ended in separation rather than divorce, as French law required an even division of property in the case of divorce, and Picasso did not want Khokhlova to have half his wealth. The two remained legally married until Khokhlova's death in 1955. Picasso carried on a long-standing affair with Marie-Thérèse Walter and fathered a daughter with her, named Maya. Marie-Thérèse lived in the vain hope that Picasso would one day marry her, and hanged herself four years after Picasso's death.

  • 1909–10, Figure dans un Fauteuil (Seated Nude, Femme nue assise), oil on canvas, 92.1 × 73 cm, Tate Modern, London. This painting from the collection of Wilhelm Uhde was confiscated by the French state and sold at the Hôtel Drouot in 1921

  • 1910, Woman with Mustard Pot (La Femme au pot de moutarde), oil on canvas, 73 × 60 cm, Gemeentemuseum, The Hague. Exhibited at the Armory Show, New York, Chicago, Boston 1913

  • 1910, Girl with a Mandolin (Fanny Tellier), oil on canvas, 100.3 × 73.6 cm, Museum of Modern Art, New York

  • 1910–11, Guitariste, La mandoliniste (Woman playing guitar or mandolin), oil on canvas

  • 1911, The Poet (Le poète), oil on linen, 131.2 × 89.5 cm (51 5/8 × 35 1/4 in), The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice

  • 1911–12, Violon (Violin), oil on canvas, 100 × 73 cm (oval), Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo, Netherlands. This painting from the collection of Wilhelm Uhde was confiscated by the French state and sold at the Hôtel Drouot in 1921

  • 1913, Bouteille, clarinet, violon, journal, verre, 55 × 45 cm. This painting from the collection of Wilhelm Uhde was confiscated by the French state and sold at the Hôtel Drouot in 1921

  • 1913, Femme assise dans un fauteuil (Eva), Woman in a Chemise in an Armchair, oil on canvas, 149.9 × 99.4 cm, Leonard A. Lauder Cubist Collection, Metropolitan Museum of Art

  • 1913–14, L'Homme aux cartes (Card Player), oil on canvas, 108 × 89.5 cm, Museum of Modern Art, New York

  • 1914–15, Nature morte au compotier (Still Life with Compote and Glass), oil on canvas, 63.5 × 78.7 cm (25 × 31 in), Columbus Museum of Art, Ohio

Neoclassicism and surrealism: 1919–1929

In February 1917, Picasso made his first trip to Italy.[40] In the period following the upheaval of World War I, Picasso produced work in a neoclassical style. This "return to order" is evident in the work of many European artists in the 1920s, including André Derain, Giorgio de Chirico, Gino Severini, Jean Metzinger, the artists of the New Objectivity movement and of the Novecento Italiano movement. Picasso's paintings and drawings from this period frequently recall the work of Raphael and Ingres.

In 1925 the Surrealist writer and poet André Breton declared Picasso as 'one of ours' in his article Le Surréalisme et la peinture, published in Révolution surréaliste. Les Demoiselles was reproduced for the first time in Europe in the same issue. Yet Picasso exhibited Cubist works at the first Surrealist group exhibition in 1925; the concept of 'psychic automatism in its pure state' defined in the Manifeste du surréalisme never appealed to him entirely. He did at the time develop new imagery and formal syntax for expressing himself emotionally, "releasing the violence, the psychic fears and the eroticism that had been largely contained or sublimated since 1909", writes art historian Melissa McQuillan.[41] Although this transition in Picasso's work was informed by Cubism for its spatial relations, "the fusion of ritual and abandon in the imagery recalls the primitivism of the Demoiselles and the elusive psychological resonances of his Symbolist work", writes McQuillan.[41] Surrealism revived Picasso’s attraction to primitivism and eroticism.[41]

  • Pablo Picasso, 1919, Sleeping Peasants, gouache, watercolor and pencil on paper, 31.1 × 48.9 cm, Museum of Modern Art

  • Portrait d'Olga dans un fauteuil (Olga in an Armchair), 1918, Musée Picasso, Paris, France

The Great Depression to MoMA exhibition: 1930–1939

During the 1930s, the minotaur replaced the harlequin as a common motif in his work. His use of the minotaur came partly from his contact with the surrealists, who often used it as their symbol, and it appears in Picasso's Guernica. The minotaur and Picasso's mistress Marie-Thérèse Walter are heavily featured in his celebrated Vollard Suite of etchings.[42]

Arguably Picasso's most famous work is his depiction of the German bombing of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War – Guernica. This large canvas embodies for many the inhumanity, brutality and hopelessness of war. Asked to explain its symbolism, Picasso said, "It isn't up to the painter to define the symbols. Otherwise it would be better if he wrote them out in so many words! The public who look at the picture must interpret the symbols as they understand them."[43][44]Guernica was exhibited in July 1937 at the Spanish Pavilion at the Paris International Exposition, and then became the centerpiece of an exhibition of 118 works by Picasso, Matisse, Braque and Henri Laurens that toured Scandinavia and England. After the victory of Francisco Franco in Spain, the painting was sent to the United States to raise funds and support for Spanish refugees. Until 1981 it was entrusted to the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City, as it was Picasso's expressed desire that the painting should not be delivered to Spain until liberty and democracy had been established in the country.

In 1939–40 the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, under its director Alfred Barr, a Picasso enthusiast, held a major retrospective of Picasso's principal works until that time. This exhibition lionized the artist, brought into full public view in America the scope of his artistry, and resulted in a reinterpretation of his work by contemporary art historians and scholars.[45] According to Jonathan Weinberg, "Given the extraordinary quality of the show and Picasso's enormous prestige, generally heightened by the political impact of Guernica ... the critics were surprisingly ambivalent".[46] Picasso's "multiplicity of styles" was disturbing to one journalist, another described the artist as "wayward and even malicious"; Alfred Frankenstein's review in ARTnews concluded that Picasso was both charlatan and genius.[46]

World War II and late 1940s: 1939–1949

During the Second World War, Picasso remained in Paris while the Germans occupied the city. Picasso's artistic style did not fit the Nazi ideal of art, so he did not exhibit during this time. He was often harassed by the Gestapo. During one search of his apartment, an officer saw a photograph of the painting Guernica. "Did you do that?" the German asked Picasso. "No," he replied, "You did".[48]

Retreating to his studio, he continued to paint, producing works such as the Still Life with Guitar (1942) and The Charnel House (1944–48).[49] Although the Germans outlawed bronze casting in Paris, Picasso continued regardless, using bronze smuggled to him by the French Resistance.[50]

Around this time, Picasso wrote poetry as an alternative outlet. Between 1935 and 1959 he wrote over 300 poems. Largely untitled except for a date and sometimes the location of where it was written (for example "Paris 16 May 1936"), these works were gustatory, erotic and at times scatological, as were his two full-length plays Desire Caught by the Tail (1941) and The Four Little Girls (1949).[51][52]

In 1944, after the liberation of Paris, Picasso, then 63 years old, began a romantic relationship with a young art student named Françoise Gilot. She was 40 years younger than he was. Picasso grew tired of his mistress Dora Maar; Picasso and Gilot began to live together. Eventually they had two children: Claude Picasso, born in 1947 and Paloma Picasso, born in 1949. In her 1964 book Life with Picasso,[53] Gilot describes his abusive treatment and myriad infidelities which led her to leave him, taking the children with her. This was a severe blow to Picasso.

Picasso had affairs with women of an even greater age disparity than his and Gilot's. While still involved with Gilot, in 1951 Picasso had a six-week affair with Geneviève Laporte, who was four years younger than Gilot. By his 70s, many paintings, ink drawings and prints have as their theme an old, grotesque dwarf as the doting lover of a beautiful young model. Jacqueline Roque (1927–1986) worked at the Madoura Pottery in Vallauris on the French Riviera, where Picasso made and painted ceramics. She became his lover, and then his second wife in 1961. The two were together for the remainder of Picasso's life.

His marriage to Roque was also a means of revenge against Gilot; with Picasso's encouragement, Gilot had divorced her then husband, Luc Simon, with the plan to marry Picasso to secure the rights of her children as Picasso's legitimate heirs. Picasso had already secretly married Roque, after Gilot had filed for divorce. His strained relationship with Claude and Paloma was never healed.[54]

By this time, Picasso had constructed a huge Gothic home, and could afford large villas in the south of France, such as Mas Notre-Dame-de-Vie on the outskirts of Mougins, and in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur. He was an international celebrity, with often as much interest in his personal life as his art.[55]

Later works to final years: 1949–1973

Pablo Picasso with his sister Lola, 1889
Pablo Picasso, 1905, Au Lapin Agile (At the Lapin Agile) (Arlequin tenant un verre), oil on canvas, 99.1 × 100.3 cm, Metropolitan Museum of Art
Picasso in front of his painting The Aficionado (Kunstmuseum Basel) at Villa les Clochettes, summer 1912
Stanisław Lorentz guides Pablo Picasso through the National Museum in Warsaw in Poland during exhibition Contemporary French Painters and Pablo Picasso's Ceramics, 1948. Picasso gave Warsaw's museum over a dozen of his ceramics, drawings and colour prints.[47]

African Period (c. 1907)

Picasso's African-influenced Period (epoque negre), during which he was inspired by African tribal art, begins with the two figures on the right in his painting, Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, which were inspired by African artifacts.

Les Demoiselles d'Avignon was a landmark painting in the development of modern art which signalled a radical departure from the artistic ideas of the preceding ages and heralded the coming of a new artistic movement (Cubism) as well as the birth of modern abstraction. The influence of Paul Cezanne and African sculpture is visible in its fragmented forms and unprecedented distortions. For more, see: Primitivism/Primitive Art.

The painting depicts five prostitutes in a brothel in the Avignon Street of Barcelona, portraying them from several angles, which became one of the characteristic features of Cubism. The picture marked a fundamental break with the principles of traditional naturalistic art - in particular, it rejected the use of perspective - and was an entirely different way of painting. Picasso's predecessors - whether painting portraits or landscapes - remained focused on portraying nature as they saw it, whereas in Les Demoiselles d'Avignon Picasso sought to represent three dimensional objects on a flat two dimensional canvas.

The relative lack of roundedness in the forms and the jigsaw-like fragments indicate the abstract direction that his painting was now taking. Meanwhile, another painter was having similar thoughts: his name was Georges Braque. the two met in Paris in 1908 and collaborated closely for several years.

Birth of Cubism (c.1908-9)

In 1908, influenced by Paul Cezanne's geometric-style landscape paintings of Montagne Sainte-Victoire, as well as his masterpiece The Large Bathers (Les Grandes Baigneuses) Picasso and Braque executed a series of landscape paintings that were very similar to Cezanne's, both in their colours (dark greens, light browns) and simplified geometrical shapes. They painted houses in the form of 3-D cubes. It was these paintings that the French art critic Louis Vauxcelles was referring to in 1909, when he used the expression 'bizarreries cubiques', which led to the adoption of the word Cubism. This style was then further refined and duly evolved into Analytical Cubism.

It was about this time that Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler (1884-1979) became Picasso's art dealer and agent. Later he would be superceded by Leonce Rosenberg (1879-1947) and his younger but smarter brother Paul Rosenberg (1881-1959).

Analytical Cubism (c.1909-12)

Portrait of Ambroise Vollard (1910) was one of the first full-blown examples of the new austere Analytical Cubism. In this painting, Picasso disassembled a human figure into a series of flat transparent geometric plates that overlap and intersect at various angles. Now, suddenly all the 'cubes' of the earlier proto-type Cubist painting have disappeared.

Analytical Cubism - a most challenging form of art - is the most austere and intellectual stage of the Cubism movement. During this period, the forms of the objects portrayed are fragmented into a large number of small intricately hinged opaque and transparent planes that fuse with one another and with the surrounding space. Analytical Cubist paintings are typically executed in monochrome, with no bright colour.

Synthetic Cubism (c.1912-19)

During his Synthetic Cubism phase, Picasso's forms became larger and more representational, with flat, bright decorative patterns replacing the earlier, more austere compositions. New techniques adopted by Picasso in his art of this period included the pasting of cut paper fragments (eg. wallpaper or pieces of newspaper) into compositions, marking the first major use of collage and papier collé in fine art. Examples of his Cubist works at this time include: Still-Life with Chair-Caning, and The Guitar. By this period, the new style had caught on with a number of other talented Cubist painters.

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