By: Pablo Picasso
Pablo Picasso was born in Malaga in 1881. Pablo was the son of a respected art teacher, and due to his father’s influence, young Pablo entered the Academy at Barcelona at age 14. This was where he painted his first great work, “Girl with Bare Feet”. After two years of schooling, Picasso transferred for even for advanced tutelage. This did not hold Picasso’s interest, so instead he spent much of his time in cafes and in brothels. Three years later, Picasso won a gold medal for his work, “Customs of Argon”. This work was displayed on exhibit in Picasso’s hometown. In 1901, Picasso set up a studio in the northern section of Paris known as Montmartre. Picasso had mastered traditional forms of art by now. However, the works of such artists as Toulouse-Lautrec, Degas, Vuillard, which can be noticed affected him, in his works at the time. “Longchamp” and “The Blue Room” are good examples of this change in Picasso’s style. Soon after this, Picasso began to develop his own methods. Illness struck Picasso in 1898 and he temporarily retired from the city and rested in the country.
Upon his return, Picasso was distressed with modern art and proceeded to use mother’s maiden name. Picasso underwent a distressing part of his life for the next 4 years (1901-1904) and demonstrated the life of the poor. The next two years following those last four were rather bright and vigorous. Perhaps this was because he realized how his life differed so much
from the poor on the streets. This was also a point in Picasso’s life when sculpture and black art intrigued him. His work, “Two Nudes” reflects this attitude. Cubism soon followed after this. Picasso began experimenting with the many facets of Cubism. Cubism was developed in stages: analytic, synthetic, hermetic, and rococo. These techniques were not only useful in painting but in collages as well.
Picasso initiated Cubism at the age of twenty-six after he already had established himself as a successful painter. Picasso led the evolution towards cubism in order to “escape the oppression of the laws of the tangible world, to fly beyond all the degradations of the lie, the stupidity of criticism, towards that total freedom which inspired his youth.” Cubism was an art that concentrated on forms, and an artist’s job was to give life to that form. Until this goal is accomplished, the Cubist painter has not fully realized his purpose.
First one must consider the climate of early 20th century Europe. This was a time when many artists were turning away from conventional painting and were striving to produce more innovative and unique works. This trend towards innovation, was important to the beginning of cubism for two reasons: first, unlike prior periods in art history, new and different styles were appreciated, at least to a greater extent, and were potentially emulated- this helped to make innovation a goal for some artists; and second, the trend helped to produce a wide variety of movements, such as Fauvism in France and Futurism in Italy. From these movements particular elements or ideas could be taken, or used as springboards for new ideas.
Analytical cubism is generally considered the early phase of cubism. During this time, about 1908 to 1911, the cubist quality of fragmentation-overlapping planes- was heightened, and an object depiction moved even further away from physical reality. Unconventional shading also added to the distorted appearance of an object. By the end of the analytical phase even an objects outlines were beginning to fade, making objects even less identifiable. One of the examples of the analytical phase is the Nude Figure. The fading away of the figure’s outline and the introduction of unconventional shading and of bland color are also aspects of analytic cubism that are evident in the work. It is also worth noting that while many of the traditions set forth by the Renaissance period are left behind, the Renaissance idea of a painting being a window into another world that is receding is maintained.
The pose of a standing female nude with upraised arm bent over her head is familiar in Greek art as well as 19th century. This figure appears with surprising frequency for a brief period in Picasso’s work beginning about 1905. The pose in particularly marked in several early studies. For the celebrated prostitutes of the Demoiselles d’ Evignon of 1907 and continues through the gallery of nude figures. Providing a useful touchstone for the gradual articulation of his fully formulated cubist style. This work appears to drive from a 1904 oil Bather. A nude with drapery is placed in a barely suggested landscape with the horizon line cutting the composition at the level of the empethaically rounded buttocks and echo of this line is preserved in the mark horizontal at the same line in the painting.
Although the painting is not dated, it is possible on stylistic grounds to place it chronologically in the winter of 1909-10. Two drawings of nudes with upraised arms and twisted torsos must be considered preparatory work, if not actual studied for the final painting. The sober brown and green characteristics of the proceeding “Horta period” (May to September 1909) are preserved along the left margin and in the lower right corner. The splintering of form is not nearly as advanced as in later 1910 portraits at figure studies; it is still possible, in fact to decipher a number of anatomical details.
A full bodied sculptural quality is retained particularly in the jutting wedge like torso and some degree of facial recession is suggested by the lightened vertical rectangle to the left yet the transparency of bleeding of planes a technique derived from Czanne, begins to create a flatten and ambiguous. The lack of resolution at the head suggests that the painting is a transition work as Picasso moved away from rounded and expressive forms of the years 1907-1909. When the influence of African sculpture is often felt towards the more abstract and intellectual statement of his fully realized analytical Cubist style.
This painting is mostly the transition between Picasso’s Rose Period and Cubism as we can see some form of a body in this picture but at the same time unable to completely decipher it so it leaves with a kind of mystery. If someone is looking at this painting he can have entirely different opinions then anyone else because this painting unlike other paintings compels us to contemplate, to think about the picture and to go with it and to let our imagination fly and to go on with our own experience. This painting is also rendered beautifully in gray, brown and blue unlike his previous painting, which mostly showed the human flesh (Les Demoiselles D’Avignon) in pink color, so I think this painting is more mature in sense of Cubism and after this painting Picasso was totally involved in Cubism.
Cubism made a radical break from the idea of art as the imitation of nature that had dominated European painting and sculpture since the Renaissance, for Picasso and Braque aimed to depict objects as they are knows rather than as they appear at a particular moment and place. To this end they broke down the subjects they represented into a multiplicity of facets, rather than showing them from a single fixed viewpoint, so that many different aspects of the same object could be seen simultaneously. Analytical Cubism, concentrating on geometrical forms and generally used restrained colors or worked in monochrome.
We can see the painting from different perspectives and still we would not understand that from which way the painting was meant to see. Actually the painting was meant to see from every angle it shows that how unconventional this painting is. The right leg of the painting suggests as if we are looking at it from the front, because it looks like a frontal view, but the left leg and left buttock tells us that we are looking at it from left side. So its all up to the viewer that where he wants to see the painting from, this also gives the viewer a freedom and tells us that we can look at it from any angle and still could relate to it.
Now we come to the torso, the torso is very irregularly shaped unlike we have seen before. The right buttock is also a problem because it looks like as we are seeing the painting from back and gives us a back view of her buttocks a typical Picasso style to keep the viewer in constant thinking and to contemplate. When we are looking at her hands we are in shock because there is no right arm only left arm, which is at the back of her head. The background above the torso suggests that the figure is in front of a window as if posing for someone outside. The painting as a whole is a good mixture of matching of colors and combination of colors is effectively used. While still in his twenties, but finally over his self-pitying Blue and Rose periods, Picasso fundamentally changed cognitive reality.
The initial viewers recoiled from their advances with horror. This is the one inevitable image with which a discussion of 20th-century art must be concerned. With the painting’s infinite subtleties of gray and brown. It is almost impossible to overestimate the importance of this picture and the profound effect it had on art subsequently, but it is what he does with the head — the wild, almost reckless freedom. Which he incorporates it into his own personal vision and frees it to serve his psychic needs, which gives the picture its awesome force.
Whether he did this consciously or not we do not know, since he was a supremely macho man: Nude Figure and his early painting Les Demoiselles makes visible his intense fear of women, his need to dominate and distort them. Even today when we are confronted with these ferocious and threatening viragoes, it is hard to restrain compassionate fear.
Picasso’s 90th birthday was celebrated with an exhibition of eight of his works in the Louve Museum of Paris. Pablo Picasso created over 50,000 works in his lifetime. These were not all paintings either. Included in Picasso’s works are: 347 untitled engravings, stage sets, illustrations of classical texts, sculptures, ceramics, lithography, a play, and two collections of poetry. Picasso died in Mougins, France at age 92. No one could say that Pablo Picasso was not a creative individual. He progressed through various periods – including a Blue period from 1900 to 1904 and a Rose period in 1904 – before creating the Cubist movement that lasted until the beginning of the First World War. One look at the life he lived and it is easily seen what a genius he was and perhaps the most renowned artist of all time.