Picassos Les Desmoiselles DAvignon



Les Desmoiselles d\'Avignon

Though the backbone of art was formed by academies that graduated classical artists, some of the most influential artists broke away from such academies to change the rules. Impressionists, led by Claude Monet, formed a group of artists originally rejected from the academies to paint in their own "objective reality." They painted art as sifted through their senses; taking into account the environment\'s affect on an object or placing the focus on everyday activity, the impressionists helped redefine art. While they started the process of the transformation of art, Pablo Picasso advanced it many times over. Though classically trained, Picasso painted art by what views he saw in his head and imagination, not by how his eyes or other senses interpreted a scene. He shamelessly broke all the classical rules of three-dimensional space, colors, figures and subject matter. Distinguishing his work from that of a camera and of other artists, Picasso redefines art for the future in a method called "cubism." In Les Desmoiselles d\'Avignon, he paints his initial attempt at breaking all classical rules and distinguishing himself from every other artist in history.
One aspect of Pablo Picasso\'s art that distinguishes him from earlier artists is the lack of three-dimensional space displayed in his art. In Les Desmoiselles d\'Avignon, the five lady figures seem to be enveloped in what might be construed as the background. In contrast to earlier Raphael paintings for instance, where red drapery serves as a frame for Mary and baby Jesus, Picasso\'s figures appear to be actually wearing the drapery. The far woman on the left appears without clothes, except for the piece of red drapery strewn across the right side of her body. Each successive figure shows her full body with the exception of where the drapery covers her. By redefining the three-dimensional space and forcing the characters to take on the full focus of the viewer, Picasso forces the observer to take an undiluted look at the women without the comfort of a beautiful landscape on which to fall back.
While the women and the background mold into one, the only indication of any three-dimensional space is a small fruit basket in the foreground. Containing grapes and two apples, the fruit basket sits on either a little table or stool just in front of the ladies. The fruit give the observer a sense of intruision; it seems as if the observer has entered a private party of prostitutes and that we have interrupted their eating. While the bowl, coupled with the women\'s stares ,serves to engage the viewed in the work, Picasso also might mean for the still life to mock earlier artists. While it used to be considered a necessity for artists to prove their ability in the academies by perfectly capturing still lives, Picasso\'s sarcastic portrait of the fruits could be a message to classical artists that there is more to art than the ability to paint fruit. Similarly, Picasso adds few aspects of shading to keep his mostly two-dimensional space. However, the shading he does add points out that like all great artists, he can perfect shading, although he is content to create his own rules.
Pablo Picasso further distinguishes himself from other artists with his portrayal of the human figure by breaking up traditional forms of the body. In creating the figures of five naked women, Picasso rejects all classical teachings; he showed angular breasts without nipples, knees at sharp angles, a nose that resembles a triangle, off-center eyes, no navel, and no pubic hair on any of his models. In short, he seems to reject any mildly photograph-like portrayal of his women. For instance, the woman on the far right has a face of silver colored with green and the woman to our left of her is colored blue from her nose to her chin that reflect his interest in African art. Picasso paints his models how he feels they should look, not how they would really look if one saw them on the street. With the emergence of the camera, there was not a need to paint exact replicas of the women. Therefore, Picasso decides that instead of painting a classical from of reality, he paints the reality that exists only in his