Women in Picasso's Works

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Women in Picasso’s Works
Pablo Picasso was born in 1881 in Spain and is considered one of the best artists in the 20th century. His father discovered Pablo’s great talent and supported all his moves aimed at developing his gift. He studied in Spain and later in Paris where the city’s atmosphere was not left without impact on his art. He experienced poverty and that had an influence on the first period of his works, namely Blue Period, where he portrayed the poor. There was also Rose period, associated with his love affairs, and the most important Cubism. Picasso’s life had a huge effect on his paintings. Especially his intimate life and thus women. As Deborah Wye states: “The women in Picasso’s life constituted another important factor in his developing art. Each time he entered into a serious new relationship, there were bursts of creative activity and changes of direction, not only in subject matter but also often in pictorial approach”. It is said that Picasso’s all mistresses were used as his models, they were his driving force.

Taking history into consideration one is able to admit that woman is a common motif in art and literature. Taking Bible into account, mythology and then all epochs in literature and trends in the arts one can notice that representation of a woman is crucial and influential throughout times. In fact, the female character is so timeless that it will never become an embarrassing and outmoded faux pas, especially in a man’s craft. Considering the Bible worth mentioning is the figure of Eva as in many painting she is always illustrated as the next to Adam. Although not only in Michael Angelo’s point of view Eva is just a compliment of Adam (the creation of Eva in his painting is very simple and modest in comparison to Adam’s) she still appears as his partner. Therefore, she is inseparable an important, if not the main component of the total. Throughout times the representation of a woman evolved from the patriarchal character, where she was just a subordinate creature, to the very individual portrait of fame fatale.

Just as in literature but also in art more attention to the figure of a woman is paid by a man. Reason for that fact might be simply gender and the natural attraction of the opposite sex. However, worth mentioning here is a piece of history. In the past women did not have any rights, they had only obligations instead. Woman was perceived as a mother, housewife and a worker while harvesting time. Her duty was to take care of her husband, children and a household. Women were also often presented as prostitutes. Probably the most popular and known by masses is Picasso’s painting les Demoiselles d’Avignon of which the original name was Le Bordel d’Avignon. However, the erotic and immoral undertone of the work shocked and ,in a way, offended even author’s friends so the title was changed in order not to evoke too much controversy at least around its name. It presents five nude women, prostitutes, in relatively open body positions presenting their full quality. Nevertheless, that is the issue many critics fight about as women here are dehumanized and deprived of feminine look. Their shapes are very angular, their faces hideous and two of them wear African masks. Questionable then, yet still not clear, seems the fact of the erotic and immoral character of the painting since as Wayne Andersen states: “While looking through a wider-angled lens and less speculative air I will say that with the Brothel Picasso made the final separation of art from sex, leaving sex to be what it is and art what it is. And he drove them both into the open-art no longer seductive, sex not artful.”

Many models on Picasso’s paintings are either looking the same or have distorted faces. Many followers of his works claim that this is an artistic method used by Pablo to keep the figures’ identity secret. Not without importance is the fact that the author was obsessed with sexuality and his models had to be...
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