In what ways can Cubism be considered a 'realist' response to early twentieth century modernity?

Essay by artygirl2006University, Bachelor'sC+, February 2006

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'Few can have guessed at the time it was made that the picture which Pablo Picasso worked on in the winter of 1906-1907, and which now is known as Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, was destined to have so decisive an effect on all modern painting'.

The painting shows a group of female naked whores, two of them on the right hand side hideously deformed and two others staring, confronting the viewer. This image is disturbing 'both in its raw sexuality and in the violence it does to conventions of spatial illusion, figural integrity and compositional unity'. This painting was influenced by Iberian sculpture and African art. Les Demoiselles d'Avignon may show social struggles problematic in conditions of issues in gender and class. Georges Braque was extremely impressed by Picasso's accomplishment and influenced his work in many ways, and is clear to see in his painting Nude, which was produced in the winter of 1907-1908.

The forms are simplified in this picture and the volumes are emphasized and are defined with heavy outlines, the shape is suggested by broad parallel brushstrokes. Braque entered six recent paintings into the Salon, and they rejected them all, he was extremely upset so he decided to exhibit his work with Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler.

Kahnweiler opened a small gallery in Rue Vignon in 1907, and he bought a large amount of Picasso, Braque's and Derain's work. This shows how impressed he was with their paintings and the thought the style of cubism would be immense. The poet Apollnaire prefaced the catalogue for the exhibition, which was his debut as an art critic. In 1908, Braque started to paint landscapes in which he intended to longer reproduce more or less transient colour imitations, but to use the most secure elements of the landscape. He started to restrict his...