Pablo Picasso is one of the most widely known and influential artists of the twentieth century. A Spanish painter, Picasso experimented with his art, his style ever changing and evolving. Some of his very early works look nothing like what you would expect of Picasso, looking much more traditional in form and function than anything he completed in his later years. Picasso is most famous for being the co-founder of Cubism. However, it is some of his earlier works that are most recognizable as his.
One of these is the painting Les Demoiselles d’Avignon. The five figures depicted are prostitutes from a brothel. However, they look nothing like the sweet, beautiful women that were so often shown during the late 1800s hundreds and for centuries before that. These women are disproportioned, their limbs with odd points and angles that are not typically seen on the human form. Even their faces look somewhat inhuman, a few looking more like masks than the features of an actual human face.
Les Demoiselles d’Avignon was painted in a proto-cubist style. Picasso hadn’t yet developed Cubism in its full nature when he painted this in 1907. But certain elements foretell its coming. There are many angles in the painting, lines made by color, the lack of color and the outlines of objects and limbs. The bodies of the five women whose likeness would normally be soft and curving are harsh and angular; not at all what the viewer would expect to see. But yet they are easily recognizable for what they are.
A later work by Picasso titled Man with a Violin does not have the same clarity of form of his early works. By this time Picasso has completed the shift from proto-cubism to Cubism. The man and his violin are broken and disjointed. Features and forms are broken down into their most base components of lines, squares, rectangles and the necessary curve or two. The colors are light earthy tones with just a bit of light blue. This style is what Picasso has become most famous for.Picasso was a man of great talent, able to paint wonderful, memorable scenes in many different artistic styles. Early works are just as remembered as his later works, though the two differ in greatly in artistic approach. Picasso co-founded a great art movement of the twentieth century – Cubism – something that would go on to effect and change the world of modern art.