Art Blog

February 2016

  • Phillyvoice

    What to expect from the Barnes new Picasso exhibit - by Brandon baker for Phillyvoice.com

    Picasso first 'violated' traditional space in Les Demoiselle d'Avignon, depicting 5 prostitutes from a brothel on Carrer d'Avinyo (Street) in Barcelona, in an angular and disjointed manner. None are conventionally feminine, and the two figures on the right present with African mask-like features. Paris flea markets at the turn of the center were a source of these masks, but it is the disjointed angularity of the figures, that reflect a modernity inspired by early cinema that led to the dimensional shift in Picasso's and Braque's art known as Cubism. We are seeing the abandonment of perspective drawing in the five figures, the single painterly devise binding classical art since it evolved in the Italian Renaissance. Earliest painting and drawing typically sized the objects/figures depicted in according to their spiritual or thematic importance, not their distance from the viewer. The use of perspective gave a sense of realism to the work of art. Perspective appears in Indian and Chinese art before being used in European art. Perspective is generally considered to have come to Europe in the early 15th century in the works of Filippo Brunelleschi. Soon after nearly every artist in Florence and in Italy adopted geometric perspective in their paintings. Many systems broke down in the face of WWI, 'The Great War', however I propose that Picasso was responding to the newest invention in photography, CINEMA. John Richardson, Picasso's biographer, recounts that Picasso saw his first film in Barcelona, probably in 1896, when he was 15. Friends like Salmon and the early film writer and critic Maurice Raynal wrote of their frequent trips with 'la bande a Picasso,' which included the poet Guillaume Apollinaire, to the movie screens scattered through Montmartre and other neighborhoods beginning in the first decade of the 20th century in Paris. The earliest films were nothing liked 'polished' cinema of today. They were wildly diverse, short, disjointed, sprocketed visions of pratfalls, bawdy dancers, airplane stunts and hallucinatory special-effects experiments. Picasso, and Braque (and James Joyce) were crazy about the movies. - Photography and the Roots of Modernism by Janet Lehr

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