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Picasso and His Paintings in the Modern World History Research Paper


Pablo Picasso is recognized as one of the pioneers of cubism, an influential avant-garde movement in 20-th century art which not only inspired workers of literature and art but also revolutionized European painting and sculpture and people’s perception of reality.

This paper will evaluate Pablo Picasso’s impact on the cubism sign system, his manner of representation of the surrounding reality and his contribution to the world’s history on the example of his painting Guernica. Pablo Picasso influenced the modern world history significantly, laying the foundation for the cubism aesthetics and contributing to the development of anti-war movement with his painting Guernica as an icon of peaceful life.

Pablo Picasso’s influence on the development of art was so significant that his aesthetic language and the original system of signs became an integral part of the world culture and history of art. Though Picasso was considered as the only contributor to the development of the cubism spirit, at present, a number of researchers point at his collaboration with Braque on the cubism aesthetics. The cubism as an original approach to depicting the realities of the surrounding world seemed to both artists to be a solution for the problem of creativity[1].

Picasso contributed not only to the development of the aesthetic paradigm but also aided the critics in interpreting his original signs and symbols. His paintings are regarded as the storage of classical formulas, sample of implementation of the traditional cubism techniques and symbolic signs which were inherited by his followers[2]. The cubism movement revolutionized not only art and music but also the approaches to the depiction and people’s perception of the surrounding world.

The cubists were not aimed at depicting the reality as it is but rather tried to view the ordinary objects from new unexpected angles. They showed the changes in the traditional forms and colors caused by the shift of the perspective. Working on his paintings, Picasso tried to view an object from every possible angle and depicted it on the canvas not from the single point of view but combining numerous perspectives for creating a pictorial whole[3].

It was an innovative approach not only to the depiction of the reality but also to its perception and individual interpretation. Concentrating on the principles of cubism while working on his paintings, Picasso put the rest of his ambitions on the altar of aesthetic renewal[4]. Picasso’s feeling of beauty and his approach to reflecting it in his works resulted in revolutionary changes in art and people’s perception of reality.

Disregarding the links between surrealism and cubism, Picasso demonstrated a strong interest in the depiction of the surrounding reality as opposed to surrealists who concentrated on the events of their inner world. Despite the original manner of presentation of the objects, Picasso put emphasis on depicting the surrounding world as it can be seen from the unexpected angles. Picasso’s interest in concrete everyday reality limited the impact of surrealistic ideology on his style[5].

Consequently, it explains why he used the objects of the surrounding world as the main themes of his paintings though Picasso’s style often confuses the observers because the shapes of the ordinary objects are changed beyond recognition. Every Picasso’s canvas gives food for thought of the audience.

The cubism system of symbolic signs and Picasso’s heritage need to be taken into consideration for understanding the themes of the paintings, their mood and the author’s motivation for choosing these or those angles, shapes and colors for his works.

Defining his approach to the perception and depiction of reality, Picasso admitted that it was not the reality one could touch or take into a hand and compared it with the perfume which was spread everywhere[6].

Therefore, this vision of the surroundings explains the artist’s favorite technique of combining numerous angles in a pictorial whole for the purpose of overcoming the misconception that the reality is the physical substance which obtains the regular lines, and can be touched and measured.

The cubists shifted the accustomed frames between the inner and outer worlds. Focusing on depicting the objects of the outer world, and choosing the extraordinary manner of presentation of the objects of the surrounding world, Picasso and his followers influenced people’s perception of works of art and reality.

Selecting the objects and events of the surrounding world for his canvases, Picasso made some of his paintings historically significant reminders of concrete events. Thus, Picasso’s Guernica is recognized as the world’s icon of peace and represents the artist’s vision of a concrete event, on the one hand, and the author’s attitude towards war in general, on the other hand.

Thus, this painting not only takes an important position in the painter’s heritage but also plays an important role in the world’s heritage of cubism art. Along with Picasso’s personal experience, the temporary difficulties in his life are regarded as an important factor which influenced his decision to shed light upon the issue of a war conflict in his creative work[7].

Disregarding the source of the artist’s inspiration and his initial motivation for working on the canvas, the art and historical value of Guernica is undeniable. Using the cubism methods for representing the objects of the surrounding world and using the aesthetic system of symbolic signs and Spanish national attributes, such as bull heads, Picasso depicted a concrete event of Spanish Civil War.

The painting shows Picasso’s personal view of the harmful and destructive effects of the military conflicts. The fragmented representation of the objects, the distorted lines and the combination of numerous angles in the picture appeared to be effective for recreating the battlefield and demonstrating the dramatic consequences of war[8]. The messed fragments of human and bulls’ bodies in the black background represent not only the cubism spirit but also the destructive and poisoning spirit of war.

Combining the separate pieces and numerous angles into a pictorial whole, Picasso shows suffering of innocent civilians during the war and the chaos of the world after the event. Picasso’s Guernica is the evidence that the artist not only played an important role in the historical development of the cubism aesthetics but also contributed to the anti-war movement.

Picasso’s perception of beauty and his devotion to the development of the cubism sign system and techniques was important for the growing popularity of this movement since the beginning of the twentieth century. The cubists preferred depicting the objects of the surrounding world instead of the processes in the inner world and chose the extraordinary cubism methods for representing them in the canvases.

Thus, Picasso and his followers revolutionized the world’s art and people’s perception of works of art and reality. Picasso’ paintings can be regarded as historically significant because of their impact on the development of cubism aesthetics and creative representation of concrete historical events.

Bibliography

Primary Sources

Appolinaire, Guilaume. The Cubist Painters. Edited and translated by Peter Read. Los Angeles, CA: University of California Press, 2004.

Robinson, Shannon. Cubism. Mankato: Creative Education, 2006.

Walther, Ingo. Pablo Picasso, 1881 – 1973: Genius of the Century. Philadelphia: Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2000. Secondary Sources

Cottington, David. Cubism and Its Histories. New York: Manchester University Press, 2004.

Green, Christopher. Picasso: Architecture and Vertigo. London: DACS, 2005.

Stokes, Patricia. Creativity from Constraints: The Psychology of Breakthrough. New York: Springer Publishing Company, 2006.

Wye, Deborah, ed. Picasso Portfolio: Prints from the Museum of Modern Art. New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2010.

Footnotes

  1. Patricia Stokes, Creativity from Constraints: The Psychology of Breakthrough (New York: Springer Publishing Company, 2006), 9.
  2. David Cottington, Cubism and Its Histories (New York: Manchester University Press, 2004), 47.
  3. Shannon Robinson, Cubism (Mankato: Creative Education, 2006), 28.
  4. Guilaume Appolinaire, The Cubist Painters. Translated by Peter Read (Los Angeles, CA: University of California Press, 2004), 147.
  5. Ingo Walther, Pablo Picasso, 1881 – 1973: Genius of the Century (Philadelphia: Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2000), 70.
  6. Deborah Wye, A Picasso Portfolio: Prints from the Museum of Modern Art (New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2010), 28.
  7. Ingo Walther, Pablo Picasso, 1881 – 1973: Genius of the Century (Philadelphia: Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2000), 70.
  8. Green, Christopher. Picasso: Architecture and Vertigo. London: DACS, 2005.
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IvyPanda. (2019, April 15). Picasso and His Paintings in the Modern World History. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/picasso-and-his-paintings-in-the-modern-world-history/

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"Picasso and His Paintings in the Modern World History." IvyPanda, 15 Apr. 2019, ivypanda.com/essays/picasso-and-his-paintings-in-the-modern-world-history/.

1. IvyPanda. "Picasso and His Paintings in the Modern World History." April 15, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/picasso-and-his-paintings-in-the-modern-world-history/.


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IvyPanda. "Picasso and His Paintings in the Modern World History." April 15, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/picasso-and-his-paintings-in-the-modern-world-history/.

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IvyPanda. 2019. "Picasso and His Paintings in the Modern World History." April 15, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/picasso-and-his-paintings-in-the-modern-world-history/.

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IvyPanda. (2019) 'Picasso and His Paintings in the Modern World History'. 15 April.

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