Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Duchamp "Nude Descending A Staircase No. 2" (1912)


scott said...

If it weren't for the caption, I believe that few viewers would be able to guess the subject of this painting. Although, such is the nature of the abstract. What is curious, however, is that when I gaze at the picture I feel as though beneath the multitude of shapes and lines there is a coherent, almost soothing logic. I feel that this connects to the ladder Gertrude Stein excerpt which discusses the possibility of something exisiting without its shape. There is almost an innate or even mystical connection that we share with the painting; it sends its message through an abstract veil, yet is confident in the notion that the viewer will feel the expression and emotion that the painter put into it.


Carol said...

I was intrigued by this painting because Duchamp was able to convey motion better with only two dimensions than most realist artists can with three dimensions. The curved lines and overlapping figures create an almost old-fashioned movie type of motion. Even the content is similar to old movies. This painting is reminiscent of the almost scientific films of nudes that we watched in class.
Also, the figure is very indefinite, clearly not representative of a certain person or traditional historical character. The face has no typical facial features. In fact, it is very difficult to even distinguish one part of the body from another. Perhaps this suggests that people are not unique and distinguishable, but merely a part of humankind; the individual does not matter. This idea sharply contradicts the idea of individuality expressed in Whitman’s poetry. This ties in nicely with the rebellious nature of cubism in its rejection of traditional artistic styles as well as traditional beliefs.
-Carol McBirney