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Pablo Picasso and Willem de Kooning are artists who perfected the art of painting. Their paintings Les Demoiselles d' Avignon, Standing Nude, Woman 1, and Two Women depict their prowess in the industry. The paintings discussed here tend to be associated with the art in which traditions of the past were put aside. They seem to be experimenting with the new ways of seeing and using fresh ideas just like modernists. They also seem to borrow techniques gained from abstract expressionism. The four paintings by Picasso and De Kooning therefore depict a step towards the modernism.
Les Demoiselles d' Avignon
The painting Les Demoiselles d' Avignon is oil on canvas depiction of five women in still form but with disjointed bodies. The parts are perfectly complemented to give different features of the women in the left and right of the painting. The women have masks-like expressions on their faces and are naked compared to the choice of color used by Picasso. The woman in the center is created as both her front and back body part is shown simultaneously without disrupting the impression she creates on the observer. Picasso in the painting has perfectly made the background mix with the main subjects naturally to create the impression that it is more important outlook as the objects painted. Despite picking on dull colors, he has made the theme of his work come out perfectly. The artist has used his colors well to make a strong and appealing work of art. He has used colors to enhance elements that easily give meaning to the painting. The painting Picasso's Les Demoiselles d' Avignon, highlights different angles of hospitality men experience from women. The women in the painting have their gaze fixed out at the viewer. The women have terrible traits but with bold and solicitous faces.
Picasso’s painting is able to develop some strong undercurrent sexual anxiety. The brushstrokes in the painting are hacking, violent and impetuous and from the shades of used colors, there is a beautiful blend of the background and the foreground. Conspicuously, two ladies on the right are shown with African mask-like faces that give them a savage aura. Picasso’s art shows a departure from traditional European painting to a more modern and cubism art.
Standing Nude is a watercolor and charcoal on paper painting done by Picasso. It is a form of charcoal sketch on paper that most artists use. This art depicts a more modern form of art. It is a form of simplified image of a woman who is nude. The body parts of the female object drawn have been fragmented into geometric shapes almost beyond recognition. It is a form of analytical cubism where as an artist he organized the female body from broken basic shapes. The lines he used are able to put emphasis on two dimensional planes. The paint has monochromatic hue under a background of blue. It therefore resulted in a completely new form of a nude female figure. The brushstrokes present slanting movements with circular patterns. The watercolor and charcoal painting does not portray three dimensional human images but is a display of the basic form of art that makes a picture. This work represents the turning point in art history where painting of the body became an important style.
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Woman I, 1950-52 is oil on canvas painting by Willem de Kooning. It is among the series of women paintings by Willem and it includes all the techniques gained from abstract expressionism. The painting depicts a human form and its flattering form is seen as ugly and vulgar three quarter length female figure. The female figure has wide eyes, smiles, prominent breasts, tapering arms, and grinning mouth. The grinning mouth is as a result of Willem’s habit of cutting out mouths from magazine pin-ups. He often attached the cut out mouths in his work since according to him, they either looked sexual or pun. Willem in his writing states that “I used to cut out a lot of mouths and then I painted those figures and then I put the mouth more or less in the place where it was supposed to be”. He felt that the cut out mouths enabled him to have the real thing and make his work beautiful. The figure of the woman is in a standing pose on what looks like water. A transparent blue-green shed surrounds and covers the woman’s brown legs.
The hands of the woman drawn are clasped together at the waist as she stands in water. Willem suggests this in his explanation that at the time of his painting Woman I, he was in Holland, near all water. The paintings look as if a glass has been shattered or the body drawn is fragmented and rendered useless. The explosive nature of the painting Woman I indicates an art of struggle with its source experiencing some painful and personal feelings. The artist is able to spew poison, beauty and poetry on the same piece of art. Evidence of the conflict in the painting is shown in Willem’s unremitted violence upon the woman painted on the canvas. The woman drawn has taken a terrible fall from purity to degradation to be shattered in the process. In the painting, she is depicted as voluptuous and being depraved, disappointed, alluring and dangerous from the fall.
The painting raises the idea that women, who in myths have been associated with fertility, beauty, life and abundance, should be destroyed and desecrated since they are helpless and have turned into violent avengers in the century devoted to the destruction of human life through war and chemical poisoning. The artist offers emotional alternative to time bent on destroying human capacity in order to sense the need to aspire. Woman I shows existent loneliness. The appearance of Kooning aggressive brushwork is eminent all over the painting. He has used high key colors in combination to show a woman who is all too congruent. The women possess some modern man’s most feared features. The drawing exposes toothy snarls, vacuous eyes, overripe breasts and blasted extremities. The painting is depicted as having a graffiti-like style.
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Two Women, 1953, is oil, enamel and charcoal on paper painting by Willem de Kooning. The painting is of two women with one having massive breasts with clawed hands posed against colorful layers of paint. Brushstrokes are evident in the portrayal of the essential yellow and black to white elements. The painting is in such a way that the background figures are overlapping causing them to appear in the foreground. He painted overlapping dripping lines of paint to position the area the woman is standing on in the background.
Two Women is a representation of the female figures following the procedures of abstraction. De Kooning emphatically used gestural marks and apparent exchangeability of the body parts to intensify the image of a woman. He did not give emphasis on the head of the two women but put emphasis on their seemingly seated bodies. His art is a depiction of two women seated side by side. This is evident from their seemingly curved knees and spread legs. The Two Women drawing portrays the movements of the artists’ wrist, the varied pressure of his medium application, and his friability of charcoal paint. De Kooning employed smudges and erasure to develop a relation between the two women and the ground. This registers contrasting forms, to a more fragment dense medium. In addition, the artist makes typical jump offs and ellipses from one spatial painting pattern to another.
The painting is able to epitomize Willem’s preeminent split of mind and feelings affecting the society. He epitomizes what the society ails through the Two Women painting. In his time, ailment and fragmentation were more treasured than health since the former is widespread. We are able to observe the broad brushstrokes of raw paint that have created thick texture from which the women’s images are suggested. Despite the fragmentations, the chaos momentarily gives the women form.
Kooning and Picasso’s handling of women goes beyond one sided approach and stands. The women they have painted have appeared considerably more differentiated and radical. The women have gained extraordinary significance on their own and have mirrored the upheavals and problems people face through history. Picasso and De Kooning embraced different art movements by demonstrating unique styles based on demand of their periods. Their women are not only objects of male fantasies and passion, but are catalysts, self oriented, autonomous in their own right and independent in force.
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Their painting are about looking, Picasso looks through at the observer in the central figure. The woman has bold gaze of huge symmetrical eyes that has authority of a self portrait. He is able to paint an image that looks back at you with furious contempt. They have both used modernism as an art to mask their intentions. They have thus used modernism not as a window but as a wall. Picasso in his painting compressed the shape of his canvas and replaced sensual eroticism with an aggressive pornography. He has used claustrophobic, interior and almost closed space. Like Kooning, woman one fills the entire space and seems trapped within it.
In Les Demoiselles d' Avignon, Picasso perfectly portrays a still form of human art with disjointed body parts that are complemented to give different features of the women. The five pink women are entrapped in blue and silver drapes. Two of them are in a standing position with arms raised to display their breasts as they stare with huge black eyes. The other three have masks on. One of the three has a brown wooden simulacrum face as she stands at the left of the painting. Before them is a plate with a collection of fruits. There is an apple, a pear, a scathing blade of melon and testicular grapes. The nude painting exposes the curve, triangle breasts, and elbows as sharp as knives, hips and waists as geometrical silhouettes.
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The images painted by De Kooning appears to be living by their own energy, they are neither lay figures nor propped in limbo, they seem to have unlimited independence. He portrays explosive nature of the woman in the painting Woman I. Here he indicates an art of struggle depicting his painful and personal feelings. In the Two Women, there is a representation of the female figures following the procedures of abstraction. De Kooning emphatically used gestural marks and apparent exchangeability of the body parts to intensify the image of a woman. He did not give emphasis on the head of the two women but put emphasis on their seemingly seated bodies. His art is a depiction of two women seated side by side. This is evident from their seemingly curved knees and spread legs. The Two Women drawing portrays the movements of the artists’ wrist, the varied pressure of his medium application, and his friability of charcoal paint. On the other hand, Picasso’s women are painted with masks-like expressions on their faces.
Picasso’s painting depicts an early 20th century painting where the subject matter is depicted by geometric forms. He uses geometric forms without realistic details and thus stresses on abstract form rather than other pictorial elements. The geometric form in the painting gives impression of texture and the darker color exaggerates the outline of the women. The painting is square to the eyes and thus disposes an observer to space and symmetry. Picasso chose African mask because they are able to disguise the wearer. The mask has however turned the women into demon, animals or gods. In Standing Nude, Picasso used a form of charcoal sketch on paper to depict a more modern form of art. It is a form of simplified image of a woman who is nude. The body parts of the female object drawn have been fragmented into geometric shapes almost beyond recognition. It is a form of analytical cubism where as an artist he organized the female body from broken basic shapes. The paintings by Kooning uses all the techniques gained from abstract expressionism. The painting depicts human form and its flattering form is seen as ugly and vulgar three quarter length female figure. The female figure is portrayed to have wide eyes, smiles, prominent breasts, tapering arms and grinning mouth. The grinning mouth is as a result of Willem’s habit of cutting out mouths from magazine pinups. He often attached the cut out mouths in his work since according to him, they either looked sexual or pun. The figure of the woman is in a standing pose on what looks like water. A transparent blue-green shed surrounds and covers the woman’s legs.
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Picasso and De Kooning’s paintings described above may be different but were painted using techniques that resembled modernism. The paintings depict geometric forms without realistic details. This technique stresses on abstract form of art other than pictorial elements. The geometric form in the paintings gave impression of texture. We are able to observe the brushstrokes that are present with different movements. The artists have both used colors well to make appealing work of art full of message. The paintings depict a modern form of art with the main theme being “woman”