“Nude Combing Her Hair”
Pablo Picasso. 1906
The piece I chose is Pablo Picasso’s “Nude combing her hair”. I first saw it at the Kimbell Art Museum and remember admiring it. It was finished in 1906 and is oil paint on canvas. The main (only) figure in this painting is a nude woman, standing, who appears to be combing through her hair with her fingers after bathing. Although abstract, Picasso creates a very elegant, raw, and naturalistic form using color, space, and his depiction of figure. The medium of this piece, as stated, is oil on canvas. Picasso takes no hesitation in using obvious and crude brush strokes to make a gesture against the idealism of classical art. This is a scene of every day life with a woman casually tooling through her hair, standing in a very natural relaxed pose, and almost dead center of the canvas. Through the use of x-radio-graphs we know that he originally painted her in a crouching pose, then later painted over the lower half to make her standing, the way we see her today. One would assume this change occurred because, while the crouching position would be more visually interesting, perhaps it distracts from the natural form and flow of the body and defeats the purpose in his efforts to portray the beauty of simplicity. The source of light is not consistent. It’s coming in from several directions, giving a feel of natural ambiance. The shading and shadows on the other hand are very unnatural. They seem to be more like patches of darkness on the body, rather than gradual change from light to dark. While all of these elements are contributors to the overall effect of the painting, the most significant are space, color, and depiction of the figure. First is space. The figure and her surrounding environment are both very flat. The figure, while slightly turned to the side giving a feel of depth, doesn’t quite look three-dimensional, like a figure we could walk around and examine from all angles. The space around the...
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