Les Demoiselles d’Avignon by Pablo Picasso

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Les Demoiselles d'Avignon by Pablo Picasso

Painting NameLes Demoiselles d'Avignon
Painter NamePablo Picasso
Completion Date1907
Place of CreationFrance, Paris
Size243.9 cm × 233.7 cm (96 in × 92 in)
Current LocationMuseum of Modern Art New York City

Popular painters don’t always make paintings which are admired by everyone.

The current piece is by Pablo Picasso and it wasn’t enthusiastically admired by critics or general people. Or even Picasso’s closest friends. It was considered to very raw and premature. The depicted essence of the picture was too real and the subject was also somewhat shunned in the real life.

Title’s literal meaning is The Young Ladies of Avignon. Though, the name given by Picasso was The Brothel of Avignon. He portrayed five prostitutes from a brothel.

Due to the ill reception Picasso got, the painting rested in his possession for years. It was too radical for the time. Though, after some time it was sold.

Les Demoiselles d’Avignon Analysis

As mentioned above, the surrounding in the painting is of a brothel and the figures are the five nude prostitutes, posing in different manners.

Two figures on the right, one sitting and one closing the curtains, are wearing the African masks. It is said that Picasso, right before painting this piece, went to a city museum and got inspired by the African art showcased there. Though, there has been no confirmations for that argue, but critics agree that he got the inspiration unconsciously which got transferred into the current piece.

Two figures in the middle looks fair women posing with towels while figure on the far left is posing her right side towards us. Her one hand is raised on the wall behind. A fruit dish is lying in front of them at the foreground.

The whole composition is a blend of the contemporary art movements. We can see some elements of fauvism (depicting scenes with bright colors regardless to the nature of light and shadows). On the other hand, the plate of fruits and some angular depiction of body parts resembles to the proto-cubism.

As Picasso had different periods of painting (Blue period, Rose Period, Cubism), this painting falls into his African Period during which he produced paintings heavily influenced by African culture. His other works falling into this period are Head of a Woman (1909), Bust de Femme, Harlequin (1909), etc.

This big, 8 x 8 feet, painting was made with oil on canvas in 1907 and rests in the Museum of Modern Art, New York City, where, almost every day, school buses arrive to give the little kids a tour of museum.


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