"Guernica" vs "Les Demoiselles"

Essay by AnagrinCollege, UndergraduateB+, April 2004

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When comparing the two paintings "Guernica" and "Les Demoiselles" by Picasso, there are several distinctly noticeable differences. Notably, the most distinct difference between the two paintings is Picasso's use of color in "Les Demoiselles" as opposed to the predominant use of black and white in the painting "Guernica". Both paintings are obviously abstract in their style, yet "Les Demoiselles" displays the use of color much more drastically than in "Guernica". Each piece of the painting seems to be connected to the other by a contrasting line or color of some sort.

Another difference between the two paintings is the use of nudity. In "Les Demoiselles", Picasso shows a depiction of five women in very distorted forms yet all of them are portrayed in the nude. This could be deciphered in many ways but the most common interpretation is that they are prostitutes.

In "Guernica" there is very little human depiction at all yet what depiction there is, is not so brazenly displayed. The human forms seen in "Les Demoiselles" is either no more than a head or facial view or the body itself is covered or distorted beyond anything recognizable.

The feelings conveyed by each of the paintings is yet another difference. In "Les Demoiselles" one seems to be overcome with a feeling of serenity and peace at the same time a sense of eroticism emits from within the painting. The feeling Picasso is trying to draw from the viewer seems almost blatantly clear. When looking into "Guernica", feelings of death and danger and sheer utter terror seem to seep out of the various lines and scenes of the painting. "Guernica" seems to me to be a very angry painting full of hidden images and themes.