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Picasso started painting “Les Demoiselles d'Avignon” in 1906, and finished it in 1907. Five naked female figures were depicted from different angles, filling almost the entire surface of the canvas as it was roughly carved from solid wood or stone. Bodies in the oil painting are very generalized and deprived of expression. Draperies, forming background of the picture, create a sense of decay and disharmony.

This painting is not very clear cubist theme; however, it was started in the early cubism period of great painter. It combines the elements of realistic cubism and produces an effect of classical art. The story of these models is the impression of extreme tension. Nevertheless, this canvas marks a turning point in Picasso’s work and, the beginning of a new era in the history of art. It is a logical starting point in the history of Cubism. The initial name of the painting was supposed to be “The Philosophical Brothel”, and only the author of this piece of work could explain the sort of philosophy that was behind it. In light of the events of the personal life of the artist, the picture is a quintessence of his inner state at a peculiar time of life, therefore, it is possible to see the irony in the name of the creation. However, analytical genius of Picasso takes it further away from realism. With each thumbnail, a plot of the picture disappears, and it becomes filled with quite different, mystical meaning.

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The first public reaction was shock, however, it was the first step to Cubism on the way of painting, and many critics consider it the starting point of modern art.

Beginning from 1930, the image of a bull, the Minotaur, is a key issue for Picasso and his creations. The artist creates a series of works with this character and interprets the myth of the Minotaur differently. For Picasso, the Minotaur is a destructive force, symbol of war and death.

“Guernica” was made in 1937, 30 years after “Les Demoiselles d'Avignon”. Guernica is a small Basque town in northern Spain, almost razed to the ground by German aircraft on the first of May, 1937. This huge, almost eight feet long and three and a half in height monochrome, that is black, white and gray picture, was first exhibited in Paris.

The plot of a huge mural was born according to a true story, which unravels the tragedy of Guernica, an ancient town near Bilbao. During the night on the 26th of April, 1937, Hitler's Luftwaffe squadron “Condor” bombed the sleeping city, killing more than 2000 civilians. The worst thing in this event is that the city was not military objective. The attack was just a terrible act of intimidation for others. Guernica was not only supported by the Republican government, it was a sacred city for the Basque people.

The world, not knowing Hiroshima yet, was horrified. Picasso worked at a fast pace, a huge mural was written almost in a month. People can see here no planes, no houses, no explosions, and no debris. It seems that there is not even a story: Picasso created a scene of universal sound, and it is higher than a specific scene and event particulars.

In his sketches, Picasso identified main elements of the painting: agonizing horse, smug ox, defeated warrior, a mother with a baby, and a woman with a lamp. Horse and bull are traditional figures for Picasso; from his childhood, the artist knew that bullfighting was the same as death. If to consider the figure of a mother of the dead child, it becomes evident that this is an image that symbolizes death and mother’s grief. Apparently, the grief of all mothers is the expression of terrible despair. The hand of a warrior with a sword is a fragment that serves as an allegorical reminder of resistance, the will to win. The image of a dying horse with eyes wild with pain is the embodiment of the physical suffering. The image of the bull symbolizes evil, soullessness and power, which is indifferent to good. Indifference turns into curse, which approaches to the meaning of fascism. A woman with a lamp is an allegory of humanity, beauty and goodness, a symbol of mind. A woman with a candle appears here as if from another world or another time, and cannot change anything. “Guernica” produces the image of war that mutilates the world, depriving a person of life and humanity. Picasso saw the devastation of a small town as a fast approach of a period of mass destruction, the era of gas chambers and atomic bombs.

The plot and composition of the painting is not usually based on the development of a real event, and the relationship of artistic images. All images of paintings simply transferred generalizing strokes. The coloring of the picture is based on a polar comparison of black and white. Moreover, there are subtle gradations of gray tones between these extremes. Color system expresses the spirit of the tragedy: black, white and gray colors in the night atmosphere transform into ashes and burial shroud. Inclusion in the range of any other color would only weaken the impression. “Guernica” was painted in the style of cubic-surreal elements. With the help of their strong expressiveness, Picasso renders his political position. Thus, the subject of his painting  shows neither the horror of one night, nor the destruction of a small Spanish town; it represents worldwide future. Anger, more or less consciously, prompts him to choose animals as symbols of power that will conquer the world tomorrow.

These two paintings symbolize two different periods in the artistic life of Picasso. The style and the idea behind them are different. The styles that were used for these paintings are also diverse. Despite the fact that they both preserve the elements of Cubism, “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon” is more realistic while “Guernica” is more surrealistic. If to speak about the first one, its plot is determined by personal life, and there is no tragedy and inner meaning. The artist renders abstract and philosophical side in his point of view about the young ladies of that time, and expresses his personal attitude to them in his piece of art.

The contrary conception is possible to observe in his painting “Guernica” because it was created in a period of a mature, sensible and expressive art. The idea of war, its cruelty, total destruction, and fear fill the general image with pain and inevitable future that was meant for the world. Fear that satiates the painting becomes real for all the observers. It shouts that there is no way out of this place.

Code: writers15

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