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Les demoiselles d'Avignon

Painting, 1907, 243.9×233.7 cm

Description of the artwork «Les demoiselles d'Avignon»

There is hardly a lot of artists that radically changed the style at one point. Often there is a transition period during which the works combine different techniques and styles. Les demoiselles d'avignon Picasso belong, perhaps, to such paintings. On the one hand it is almost cubism in its purest form, but at the same time, the face characters of the leaf have a distinct resemblance to the masks, which was common in "African period" in the artist's work.

Work on "Avignon girls" took Picasso nine years. He made many sketches for this painting (1, 2, 3, 4), which initially in addition to naked women were also men – patrons of a public house. And the picture was called "a Brothel in Avignon". According to Picasso, he named her in memory of the time when he lived near the quarter "red light district" in Barcelona – Carrer d Avingo. "Ironically, - recalled the artist - there I found the only shop selling paper and watercolors at a low price".

A new, more respectable name for a canvas and came up with art critic andré salmon, who organized the exhibition Picasso in 1916, where "Les demoiselles d'avignon" was first presented to the public. And even nine years after the creation of a picture called the immoral. The audience was struck not only shameless nudity depicted in the painting of women, but also a failure of Picasso from the conventional picturesque canons. He distorts the faces and bodies of their heroines, breaking them into fragments using geometric shapes. The artist challenges the usual norms of idealised images of the female body as something exclusively beautiful. The women in the painting seem to be frozen in fear, as if they are trying to separate and move away from each other. Rather, they focused on the viewer, they look right at you, inquisitive and cautious, and they are written in different styles of the face and unbalanced eyes only intensify the magnetic force of the views and completely negates the eroticism of the scene.

According to critics, Picasso wrote "Les demoiselles d'avignon" under the influence of several works of colleagues: often mentioned here "Joy of life" Matisse, "Bathers" Cezanne, "Turkish bath" Ingres, "The opening of the fifth seal" El Greco and sculpture Gauguin "Oviri". In turn, Les demoiselles d'avignon incredibly impressed artist Georges Braque with whom Picasso met in the same 1907. This work marked the beginning of a long-term friendship of the two founders of cubism, but also the triumphant March of the highly controversial scenic areas in Europe.

Author: Eugene Sidelnikov
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About the artwork

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Art form: Painting

Subject and objects: Nude, Genre scene

Style of art: Cubism

Technique: Oil

Materials: Canvas

Date of creation: 1907

Size: 243.9×233.7 cm

Artwork in selections: 92 selections