During this essay I’m going to attempt to discuss and analyse the key issues and concepts associated with two of Picasso’s most famous works, Les Demoiselles d’Avignon and Guernica.
I’m going to discuss and explore the cultural, theoretical and conceptual connections between the two works.
I chose to look at works by Picasso, as I feel his work influenced a lot of 20th century and modern day artists, and it has helped shape the art world into what it is today, in every aspect and style of art, from sculpture to typography.
Picasso, who was born in 1881, was very influenced by the culture he surrounded himself with, both Spanish and French. One of the best known figures in 20th century ...view middle of the document...
All the figures are drawn to be slightly menacing, and are painting with disjointed and angular body shapes.
Two of the women in the painting are shown to have “African-mask” style faces, which critics feel was influenced by African tribal masks, and the art of Oceania, although Picasso strongly denies this connection.
The other three faces are painting with the Iberian style of Picasso’s native Spain, which shows Picasso was very influenced by the Spanish art and Iberian sculptures that he grew up with.
All of this gives Les Demoiselles d’Avignon a very savage aura.
Another factor in the creation of this painting is the Primitivism movement, and the abandonment of perspective. This gives the painting a two-dimensional plane, which is a departure from the more realistic Blue Period, and a radical change from the European style of painting Picasso was used to beforehand.
I think that Les Demoiselles d’Avignon became so popular because it was such a radical change from all artwork on the scene at the time, and Picasso uses colour and shape in such a bold fashion that it makes a statement not previously seen in any artwork. The combination of both Cubism and Primitivism give the painting something more than other works of art around at the time.
While Les Demoiselles is one of the most influential pieces of art now, it stayed in Picasso’s studio for many years, with Picasso repainting two of the heads in the painting after a split from long term lover Fernande Olivier, which critics feel is an indication of the split.
The work was not exhibited until 1916, and did not come into the public eye until the 1920s. When it came to light, however, it definitely became one of the most influential pieces of artwork created.
The second painting I’ve chosen to look at is Guernica.
Picasso painting Guernica in 1937 as a response to the bombing on Guernica by German and Italian warplanes at the request of the Spanish Nationalist forces on the 26th of April, 1937.
The Spanish Republican government commissioned Picasso to create the grey, black and white Mural for the Spanish desply at the Exposition Internationale des Arts et Techniques dans le Vie Moderne (1937) in Paris.
Guernica shows people, buildings and animals suffering due to chaos and violence.
There are many scenes of violence in the painting itself. Two of the most prominent and hard hitting being a woman grieving over her dead child, while a crazed bull stands over her, and the center image of the horse impaled by a spear.
The horse itself holds two “hidden” images, the first being a skull overlaying the horses body.
The second “hidden” image is a bull, appearing to gore the horse from underneath. The bull is formed by the horses’ front leg with its knee on the foreground. The knee cap forms the bulls nose. Its horn appears from the horses’ chest.
Lots of critics have tried to find different or hidden interpretations of the painting, especially of the bull and the horse...