Monday, April 5, 2010

The Birth Of A Masterpiece...

Is it just my imagination, or is there a strong similarity between these two paintings? The one on the left is The Three Graces, painted by Rubens in 1635, and the one on the right is Les Demoiselles d'Avignon painted by Picasso in 1907. Was Picasso influenced by Rubens? Picasso's women are five prostitutes from a brothel, and Picasso's original name for the painting was Le Bordel. On the other hand, Rubens women represented the graces of joy, charm and beauty. I guess one could say these graces are represented in both paintings.

The thing I find interesting about the paintings is the negative shapes. If you squint ever so slightly, you will see the negative shape on the left is almost identical in both paintings, especially in the upper left hand corner. Also, the shade of blue that Picasso has used is in homage to the blue in Rubens painting. The two women on the left in each painting have a similar knee and foot as well, and in fact the more I look at the paintings, the more similarities I see.

I would love to have the opportunity to study art history, and especially the influence artists have on each other. I think much of it must be subliminal -- what inspired the artist to put his marks on a piece of paper? How does the artist use line, shape, color, composition? How does the artist develop a particular style? What makes a work of art a masterpiece? It takes more than talent; many great artists are not even able to draw, but they are able to create masterpieces, while other talented artists can paint a "nice" picture, but will never attain that level of masterpiece.

Where did I put my paints....

20 comments:

Pascal said...

(in French) I found a forum with some art students trying to get someone to do their homework around "Les demoiselles d'Avignon".
Someone suggested comparing them with "Le jugement de Pâris" by Rubens... then tracing back to "Le jugement de Pâris" by Raphael.

I guess it's not subliminal.

DJan said...

I looked at the larger version of the picture and studied them carefully. There seems to be little doubt that one influenced the other, to my mind. Each painting is a little odd to my eye. In Rubens' painting I kept wondering what brought these three ladies together, and the cubes in Picasso's painting kept shifting and reforming. What brought this on, Jo? Now look what you've done! :-) :-)

lakeviewer said...

We all copy the masters, trying to reveal our contemporary moments of life.

Marguerite said...

Very interesting observations! I studied art history in college, since I was a fine arts major, and loved it. My professor had traveled all over the world, viewing and photographing the masterpieces and showed slides of his travels. Go for it and take a class, Jo!

Linda said...

I don't think you will have to wonder if I copy anyone else's painting! I do enjoy painting greeting cards, and I do some on ostrich eggs too, but I wouldn't ever be called a 'classic', except by the grandkids!

I'd love to take an art class too, but I doubt that I will!

PinkPanthress said...

I would call it a kind of unwanted & subconscious emulation.

Every idea.. whether painted, sung or written, has already been there in some way... even if 'unpublished'. :)

Brenda said...

We have several Picasso prints around the house and Rousseau and Paul Klee, all favorites of my husbands. I have never cared for them. I think I need to take classes to appreciate them. I love art but know very little about it.

Katy said...

Very interesting post Jo! I don't know a whole lot of visual art, but I know that in writing, you can often tell when one author has admired the work of another. Even if the stories are different there is a certian tone that comes through. Perhaps that is what you have picked up on here. That certain visual tone...

Belizegial said...

Jo, to my untrained eye they seem to be two separate pictures. I do prefer the Reubens,however, for the realistic curves portrayed by the three Graces. LOL

Alicia said...

I definitely think you should take an art history class Jo. I always say that someday...when I win the lottery, I'm going to become a professional student and just take class after class for the enjoyment of learning.

Meggie said...

I enjoyed your thoughts about these two paintings. I am sure, all artists must be subconsciously influenced by others work.

Elise said...

What an interesting blog post!! I opened it and immediately thought 'Ooh Rubens!!..... Ooh PICASSO!!" You certainly have a good eye! I had never noticed a connection between the two paintings before, but I think you could be onto something!! I would desperately love to study art history. And oh, how I love Rubens. I shall now scurry off to look at my Rubens book.

Wolynski said...

I think it's OK to be influenced by others, otherwise, how do you get started?

You're right, the paintings are similar.

Both Warhol and Picasso were excellent at drawing - you have to be, even though you stop using that aspect.

People who create masterpieces have no idea how they did it - it's almost chanelled through them. The Beatles had deadlines for singles - they wrote because they had to under contract. It was the most creative 7 year output in pop history and they never repeated themselves. Nothing like it since.

Carl said...

Yes there does seem to be a connection. Good eye Jo.

Crl

myletterstoemily said...

you would love the opportunity to study
art history? you should teach it!

i love your comparison between the
two masters. i hated picasso until my
son did a report on him.

like many things, the more i learned the
more i valued him.

blessings,
lea

scarlethue said...

You should take some art history courses if you get a chance. That's what my Masters is in, and although most of the time it's utterly useless, it's knowledge I very much enjoy having.

Charles Gramlich said...

Probably something a trained eye would pick up much better than my untrained one.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

I have always been fascinated with what makes Art. Many famous paintings seem derivative of other famous paintings but so is the written word - after all, there are only so many symbols. I love that different artists can paint basically the same subject but their individual styles create an altogether different work of art.

Cloudia said...

You have a great eye...


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Mia said...

Picasso said he was influenced by El Greco, Cézanne, Gauguin, especially The Fifth Seal of the Apocalypse.