Les Demoiselle Contrast with Marcel Duchamp

Topics: Marcel Duchamp, Art, Cubism Pages: 5 (1414 words) Published: August 19, 2013
Throughout history, there has been a controversy, a simple question that few have attempted to answer, that question is what is art? Les Demoiselle D Avignon, painted 1907 by Pablo Picaso and Fountain, by Marcel Duchamp, displayed April 1917, have twisted the way we think today, these two works recreated the way the people thought in the 20th century, I will compare and contrast these two artworks and discuss the key reasons for a radical shift to a more conceptual art form.

Les Demoiselle D Avignon
Created Paris June-July 1907, painted by the great Pablo Picaso, is an oil on canvas painting a very large and striking image, it is indescribable, confusing, and powerful, an crude incoherent jumble of color and shapes, which resulted in becoming one of the most renowned pieces of art in history, the two figures on the right are wearing masks, and everyone of them are deformed, the two in the middle look as if they are studying you, engaging the viewer. This piece is most renowned for destroying a 200 year old convention, a default plane for creating art, the linear perspective, he done this by making the two prostitutes on the right look as if they are in between movement, and in doing so, created the minds perspective theory, like life, we do not see the world as a snapshot, we see it forever moving and Picaso has shown us this in this horribly original and larger than life painting.

The Fountain, by Marcel Duchamp, completed April 1917, 10 years after Les Demoiselle D Avignon, is a porcelain urinal; with a fake signature “R. MUTT” this was one of Duchamp’s series of ready-mades, what makes this piece significant, is that it is a mass produced item, being displayed as someone else’s work, personalized and signed by Duchamp with a fake signature, placed on a plinth, and told society of the 20th century this was art, back then this was considered a practical joke, however this piece had not broken any of the conventions of art, and so this porcelain tub that men urinate in, is now a valued piece of art today.

Formal analysis
Throughout comparing and contrasting the painting Les Demoiselle D Avignon and The fountain, I have discovered they do not share any elements and principals of art, one work does not share the others and can be seen through further study of these great pieces, furthermore, due to Les Demoiselle D Avignon never being completed and The fountain being a mass produced un-unique urinal aside from a fake signature and date, some elements and principles of art are inexistent, in spite of this, through further study, neither of these pieces have broken the conventions of art.

In Les Demoiselle D Avignon, by Pablo Picaso, the elements and principles clear to me in this painting are, shape, colour, line, balance, movement and contrast with a complete absence of unity due to it being incomplete.

Shape in this piece is unnatural and vivid, it is organic and geometric at the same time, moving the bodies to impossible angles, colour in this painting are hot and cold and this creates an unnatural clash and contrast between the women and the setting. Line helps manipulate shape, it is vivid and crude, and the lines are sharp and angular, or smooth. Balance can be seen throughout the painting due to the placing of the women, balancing the painting, movement is seen through the distorted forms of the prostitutes, created from Picaso attempting to capture movement of the bodies, contrast is prominent from the cold colours of the curtains and the warm flesh of the women, unity cannot be seen because the painting is unfinished.

Fountain by Marcel Duchamp, is a mass produced urinal, signed with a fake signature, “T. MUTT 1917” the urinals elements and principles are, form, space, value and emphasis.

Form can be seen because it is a three dimensional sculpture, space can be seen as there is nothing inside the urinal and outside is just empty space, value can be seen...

Bibliography: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/cultureshock/flashpoints/visualarts/picasso.html
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