Braque's "Bottle and Fishes"

The period between 1907 and 1973 saw a shift from the old style painting favored by the old fashioned painters of the 19th century to another form of artistic values heavily underlying cubism and surrealism. Although many artists painted extremely unique and creative works, George Braque's "Bottle and Fishes" caught my attention the most. Braque was among one of the artists who received international acclamation for his contribution to the art. Almost gauged to be on the same level as Picasso, Braques’s art is the manifestation of his creativity. Braque had initially worked with Picasso as an equal partner but in 1914 they stopped their cooperation and Braque joined the army. A few years later when he was wounded and sent to convalescence at home in Sorgue and after being honorably discharged from the military, he decided to go back to painting. And he remained an active painter until his death in 1963 (Moffat,  page number).

“Bottle and Fishes”                           

The painting “Bottles and fishes” was one of Braque’s works done in the second phase of cubism, the synthetic cubism period which was characterized by flattered and variegated color, bright splashes and decorative passageways.

The first thing that catches my eyes in this painting (see appendix I) is the liberal use of color to depict shapes and shades. There is also an illusion of stairways brought forth by this same color use and brush strokes. However upon further scrutiny I noticed the presence of bottles, drawn in lines heightened by the weight of brush strokes and the fish lying on the ground with the air of sadness around them.

The painting expresses melancholy surrounding. The use of dark shadows, coupled with a gloomy combination of yellow, dull and rusty silver evokes the sense of sadness.

The symbolism in the”Bottle and fishes”

During this period artists painted works to depict the suffering people were going through. After the war artists started divulging other areas. The increased and enhanced concept of democracy in many countries all over the world inspired many artists to paint and to deliver big political messages.These messages were mostly hidden or twisted in the paintings by these artists. Picasso also represented one of them.

In my own opinion the painting “Bottle and fishes” by George Braque has a hidden message. The fish lying on the ground at the bottom of the stairways could depict people and their suffering from the lack of water. The bottle standing majestically at the stairways could be a symbol of bad leadership. The leaders are shown to use their powerful positions to make people suffer.

The period between 1907- 1973 went through many events in different spheres such as social, political and even economical. After the world war countries embarked on rebuilding. The artists were not left behind. They found a way to touch people by sending messages that concerned their life in paintings. George Braque’s “Bottle and fishes” is a graphic example of it.

Although George Braque created many other works, the ”Bottle and fishes” remains one of his greatest works. .

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