Les Demoiselles D’Avignon – Picasso

Date: 1907

Location: Museum of Modern Art – New York.

Style: Early Cubism


Painted by Picasso, Les Demoiselles D’Avignon was one of the earliest pieces of art painted in the Cubist style and paved the way for artists such as Georges Braque during he early 20th Century.

Influenced by artists such as El Greco, Gaugin and Cezanne – this painting shocked contemporary viewers with its angular, sharp lines. Previously to this, art had very much been a thing of beauty and polish – now here was a painting that defied that.

Another resign for outrage at the time of its first exhibition, in 1916, was the title. Whilst you might think the title refers to the French town of Avignon, the painting actually depicts the prostitutes of a brothel on Avinyo street in Barcelona where the young Picasso often went to keep out of mischief and practice his sketching – certainly odd parenting on his dad’s part!

The piece has created much conversation in the art world – both at the time of the advent of the Cubist movement and later on in books of John Berger and Leo Steinberg who commented on its brutality and sexuality – in its lines and the direct gaze of the women in the painting.

This painting paved the way for much of the art produced during 20th Century and influenced whole new movements of art such as the Dada artists of the 1920s.



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