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Modern Art: Painting, Sculpture, Architecture, Photography Essay

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Updated: Jan 11th, 2021

Pablo Picasso, Guitar, Sheet Music, and Wine Glass: what is papiers colles? What are faux bois? How do they relate to this image?

It would be close to impossible to count all the works of art that people have created. The styles differ in originality, difficulty, and simplicity. Pablo Picasso and his work are considered to be a pivotal point in the art of the world and are still widely discussed and valued today.

Picasso’s “Guitar, Sheet Music, and Wine Glass” is a part of his later work. The distinct elements of papier colles and faux bois stand out and instill unique originality to the work of art. Papier colles is a technique of making art through the usage of separate shapes. The original idea is based on a collage but is different at the core. A collage uses several overlapping and complementary features and parts of the greater image, whereas papier colles consists of separate shapes that are each taken for what they are. In “Guitar, Sheet Music, and Wine Glass”, each shape has its meaning. The opening in the body of the guitar is a white “imperfect” circle.

Because of its bright white color, it stands out and attracts the viewer. The center and misshaped form represent one of the most important parts of the guitar, as it adds acoustics and gives originality to the instrument. The bottom is black and repeats the shape of the guitar, which is a distinct end to the whole instrument. The guitar’s neck is a trapezoid that has little in common with the regular shape of a guitar, but together with the other objects of the work, it leaves no doubt of its purpose.

The incomplete page of notes and the “glass” are compositions in and of themselves. The notes represent the melody created by the guitar, seemingly separate but at the same time, a major part of the instrument. The “glass” has an abstract form and is much different from the other shapes, aiming to signify the complexity of the instrument and the whole work. A part of the body of the guitar is made with the use of faux bois, which is also a separate entity but is made to look like a wooden piece. The predominant nature of faux bois is that its specific finish represents wood. Several finishes can be made, but Picasso chose a less bright shade of brown for his work.

Marcel Duchamp, Bicycle Wheel: why did Marcel Duchamp limit the number of readymades he made? Rather than the “uniqueness of the object,” what, according to Duchamp, made a work of art?

Not all artists have the same or even similar style and Marcel Duchamp stands out as one of such people. His art was based on getting as far as possible from the obvious art, away from the visible and into the unintended, internal meaning. Duchamp and his work have a connection through the refusal to accept the views of the majority of artists and art lovers. His goal was to criticize the standards of many and create a different, forgotten perspective.

The Renaissance was the time of the rise of culture and arts. Knowledge also became very valuable and the development of sciences and the study of natural occurrences were commonplace. Individualism and abstract expression were the defining features of the period, giving life and uniqueness to each work of art.

The sixties were a flourishing time of arts and an emergence of many painters. Art has become a combination of pictures and forms, becoming livelier and technologically affected. Marcel Duchamp based his art on minimalism. He wanted to take the regular objects and present them as something that deserved attention, as well as had an important and deeper theme within the idea.

Interestingly, he had no particular plans to start making readymades. These objects were industrially made and needed the least addition to the work. “Bicycle Wheel” is a simple wheel that is put upside down and connected to a stool by the wheel’s frame. Marcel Duchamp created the composition as it gave him aesthetic value and was pleasing to the eye. This form of art has been revolutionary and the fascination with everyday and simple objects became a part of the art industry. According to Duchamp, a work of art was much more than a visual representation of an idea; it was a seemingly empty object that required a closer examination and a certain relationship with the viewer. Each person would find their connections to the work which might never be recognized by others.

Rene Magritte’s The Human Condition: what are the “two strands of Surrealism”? In this particular painting, what does Magritte’s “classic play on illusion” imply?

One of the most interesting qualities of art is that it uses illusion and makes the viewer wonder what it is they are seeing. Also, it is important to consider that each time the artist has a specific message they want to convey, they are creating a unique mix of ideas that relates to something exterior to the work of art. This technique can be observed in the work of Rene Magritte and the works titled “The Human Condition”.

The particular nature of the work offers “two strands of Surrealism”. One pertains to the use of other objects to cover up the major picture. An example would be a work where a person’s face is covered by a separate object, but the harmony is still present, and the object is a part of the work. The unification and connection of two incompatible objects into a single entity is what makes surrealism so unique. It offers an illogical understanding of the surrounding world and does it in a thought-provoking manner.

The second type of illusions that Rene Magritte created was classified by having a direct connection between the painting and the reality. This is visible in the work where the painting connects to and extends the background, which is itself a painting but is made out to be part of the real world. This represents the direct and constantly present unity between the visible and invisible worlds. It also offers the viewer to take a different angle and look at the world through a personal “lens”.

Frank Lloyd Wright, Kaufmann House: though he embraced the machine and modern materials and technology, Frank Lloyd Wright-designed a house to be__?

Art is often a part of the greater world and it is sometimes built into daily life. One of the greatest works of art can be seen in the architecture that designers have made to function as a part of the surrounding environment. Frank Lloyd Wright is an American architect who has designed Kaufmann House which is sometimes called the Fallingwater. This work has received much praise and has become one of the most significant designs in the American history of art.

The house is unique because it is built on a waterfall, having numerous viewing terraces, and fully integrated into the waterfall theme. The dynamic connection between technology, human thought, and nature surprise the viewer, as the harmony and unity of the design, adds to the beauty of the surroundings. The water runs through the bottom of the house, making the borders between humanity and nature completely disappear.

Inside, some features are taken directly from the building site and make a connection with the environment even more obvious. The house answers to all technological advancements of the time and is often thought to be a bold statement of the designer. Another theme present throughout the design is that a person must separate from the fast pace of the world and unite with the most basic style of existence. The sound of running water is made to calm down any thought activity so that the person can be by themselves with the most primitive origins of life. It is important to note that some of the design was modified on-site, as Frank Lloyd Wright saw the value that nature has placed into his hands.

At the same time, Wright wanted to make the waterfall unexpected and “unreal” in comparison to the house, which is why the entrances and viewing areas are made in such a specific way. The main entrance is distanced from the waterfall, so the person has to walk to it, in a way, paying respect to the natural wonder. The viewing galleries are characterized by large window glass, which allows for a richer view of the surrounding nature. Even though several parts of the house were added later, they were carefully selected to represent the main theme of the building. The style of design shows that the work was very personal and dear to Wright, as the attention to detail is enormous.


H.H. Arnason (Revising Author: Peter Kalb), History Of Modern Art: Painting Sculpture Architecture Photography. Prentice Hall (Pearson) 7th Edition, (2013).

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