Pablo Picasso's Les Demoiselles D'avignon Analysis

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Picasso! The household name of Pablo Picasso belongs to a man of incredible escapism. Having experienced 19 different art movements, he knew all too well how to push the bars of art and break out of the jail cell. A movement that he helped create Cubism, allowed him to do just that. The movement where the artist brought many views of people or objects and combined them into one artwork, resulted in artworks looking more abstract and fragmented. Picasso tested these limits of the movement in Les Demoiselles d’Avignon. Where the artwork depicts five nude women (assumed to be prostitutes in a brothel), as ‘Avignon’ is the name of the street in a district of Barcelona known for prostitution. This provocative artwork caused significant outrage and intrigued a society when it was released in 1907, as these messages of prostitution and sex were not often spoken or illustrated.

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Picasso escaped the bars of the jail cell, as he abandoned both all the known forms and representations, in addition to the normal ideals of beauty art was expected to offer. Pablo Picasso’s distortion of the female body emphasizes the female figure specifically curves and additional weight. The use of distortion makes the females seem that they are unnatural and masculine. As they do not have the figures that art has labeled as beautiful, with women being required to be thin, but still have curves, this makes them seem like outcasts in society. Picasso pushes past these conventions of art escaping the rules that previous art movements have put forth, through the movement of Cubism.

He continued this distortion with the female faces, with some of the women’s facial features being more dramatic than others and different skin tones. Some females have aside from the nose with the front eyes or covers on their faces that looked like masks. This can be seen to accentuate the idea of masking women and the world’s oldest profession prostitution. These distortions further pushed against the bars of the normal conventions of society with women of different races being represented.

Picasso threw away the expected ideas of proportion and perspective through the combination and distortion of the female figures, which results in him heavily using the element of line, specifically geometric lines. The use of this element in Les Demoiselles d’Avignon reduces the females to mere shapes, further reinforcing the idea of these women being outcasts, and rejecting the conventions of beauty in art.  

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