Picasso's Works

The works of many artists have evolved over time due to a series of happenings in the world. Happenings on the political, social and even economic platforms in countries all over the world had a formidable influence on the kinds of work that these artists painted.  An example would be the distinction between the works of these artists during the periods succeeding the world wars and the periods preceding the wars. In the period preceding these wars, the artists mainly painted their themes based on culture, loyalty and class stratification of the periods in which they lived.

After the wars, the style of painting had changed in respect to the change of themes. The paintings now depicted suffering of the people during the wars, the triumphs and victories of the battles in these wars and of the struggles the nations faced in their reconstruction periods. Many artists made contributions in that period. Picasso was one of these artists. 

Pablo Picasso- brief biography

Pablo Picasso was a Spanish born artist. Though painting was his major occupation that brought him much fortune and fame, Picasso was also a sculptor, a poet and writer. By the time of his death in 1973, Picasso is accredited to have produced more than 50,000 artistic works. Having lived most of his adult life in France, he made a great debut here.

His style of writing has evolved over time, based basically on the happenings in his own life as well as the society. For example, when he was living with a friend in a poor Paris neighborhood, he used to draw captions and paintings that depicted this abject poverty. His paintings in the earlier days reflected mainly beggars and prostitutes. Later on, ash gained fame and fortune, his style and themes painting also changed to align themselves with this new taste and class. Two of these paintings that were done by Picasso in two different periods will be discussed here. These are Les_Demoiselles d'Avignon done in Paris in 1907 and Guernica done in 1934.

Les_Demoiselles d'Avignon

This is one of the most controversial paintings that were ever done by Picasso. Initially, Picasso had named the painting The Brothel of Avignon and after much criticism from the public and even Picasso’s own friends he changed the name for the less offensive Les_Demoiselles d'Avignon. The painting portrays five female prostitutes, all of them nude from a brothel in Barcelona (Harris & Zucker, nd). Each of these prostitutes has been drawn in a certain unique way to depict some disconcerting manner. All of them appear menacing in their nudity and Picasso enhances this by use of disjointed and angular body shapes (see appendix I). Two of these women are given African- mask faces and the others are in the native Spanish styles.

The Guernica

This is another painting by Picasso that is full of hidden meaning and symbols. The painting was done as a reaction to the bombing of Guernica, a village in Picasso’s native land of Spain (see appendix II). Having been done in the post world war period, the painting depicts the tragedies caused by war and the major suffering that presented in this war. The main focus point of Picasso in this painting is the suffering of innocents, the civilian, women and children during the war (Harris, 1997).

Since the inception of the painting, it has received world acclamation and numerous exposure and it had come to be regarded a symbol of peace and anti-war.

Analysis of the two paintings

The two paintings by Picasso highlighted above have very distinct differences. The style of paintings is seen to have evolved considerably. In the painting Les_Demoiselles d'Avignon, Picasso’s use of nudity, embedded with African masks depicts his departure from the traditional European style of painting to embrace primitivism style. This style was the style that announced the entry into the cubism and later on, the surrealism periods. Use of bright colors and long brush strokes has been enhanced in this painting to bring out the vividness of the message.

In the second painting, the Guernica, the theme is totally different. And the painting period has also changed to preference of surrealism as contrasted to the older methods of painting in the Les_Demoiselles d'Avignon. Picasso prefers simple two dimensional lines and edged figures to bring out the message. The use of dark colors and dullness also enhances this style. Also, as contrasted to the Les_Demoiselles d'Avignon painting in 1907, the use of long brush strokes moderates in this painting.


From the above discussion and analysis, it is seen that the change of time from one period to another led to the transition of painting styles from one particular style to the other. However, it still remains that the topic of the painting and the themes was all styled to encompass and address the contemporary issues that were affecting people at these different time periods.

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