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Les Demoiselles d’Avignon – Most influential work of art?

A 2007 newsweek article, ‘Which Is the Most Influential Work of Art Of the Last 100 Years?‘ describes Picasso’s, Les Demoiselles d’Avignon as the most influential work in the past century.

Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, Paris, June-July 1907

Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, one of Picasso’s most famous works, was painted in France and completed in the summer of 1907. The theme of the painting is very simple – five prostitutes in a brothel. But to make this starting composition, Picasso created over one hundred sketches and drew inspiration from diverse sources like Iberian sculpture, African tribal masks, El Greco’s Opening of the Fifth Seal and Cezanne’s Les Grandes Baigneuses.

Still, so many art critiques of the time considered this painting ugly and nasty.  So what makes this painting so eye-catching? so influential that it revolutionized the art world? Well… started a new art movement called Cubism. Even to an art novice, cubist paintings are easily recognizable due to the geometric angles, lines and shapes included in them.

Personally, whenever I look at one of these creations, I think of Lego blocks. It is almost like the artist demystified a real-life object into these little blocks by looking at them from different vantage points and then he arranged and rearranged them just like you would with the Lego blocks until you ended up getting that perfect piece of art – abstract yet letting you see things differently, like never before!

Since Picasso (along with Georges Braque) introduced cubism, over the next several years, he took this art movement to a whole new level, breaking up his objects and figures into little cubes and re-assembling them in every possible way. Here’s a few more of Picasso’s exemplary cubist paintings….

My inspiration to publish this blog on Cubism is a Russian artist I met in Skagit Valley, WA. A remarkable artist, I’ll write about him and his paintings in my next blog.

Until next time….

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