Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Picasso, "Les Demoiselles d'Avignon" (1907)


m said...

In Picasso's, "Les Demoiselles d'Avignon," the abstraction of this painting is similar to poetry in the importance of individualism in society. In the Cubist style, Picasso paints 5 very abstract, geometrically shaped prostitutes with 2 women covered in African masks that could be respresentative of the primitive in it's very modernized setting of a brothel. Like Stephen Crane's poem, "Once there came a man," there is a loss of individuality created in these figures in the painting which may be why two women are covered with masks. This might be their way to conceal their identities and to protect what they still have left-their pride-while the other 3 women are exposed. Just as we wonder if a poet can speak for a crowd, we should question whether an artist can channel voices in a painting and if it is a reflection of society.

- Monica Chum

m said...

All of the sharp edges and geometric figures give this painting a chaotic and abstract look at first glance. It is obvious that this is a painting of five women by looking at the shapes of all their bodies; however when I looked at each of them carefully I was take aback by the depiction of the three women on the sides. The masks worn by three of them give the picture a very wild aspect. Not only because they are at a contrast with the rest of their bodies but also because the masks in themselves are asymmetrical, which is something usually abnormal in art. Another thing I noticed about the painting was the disproportions of the women and mismatch of the colors.

The use of the masks in this picture could be used to signify the primitive, since they are African masks and Africa could be said to be the primordial primitive society, in conjunction to the primitiveness of prostitution. The women in this picture do not have a happy expression on their faces which could be contrasted to their situation in life. In other words, they are posing for a painting but they do not show emotion just as they might be forced to resort to prostitution for a living. I think Picasso tries to embody the rawness of life and the primitiveness that people have to give in to in order to survive.

-Stephanie Uriarte