Pablo Picasso’s “Les Demoiselles D’avignon” is one of the most daring and audacious paintings of the twentieth century. Originally, it began as a narrative brothel scene, with five prostitutes, two men, a medical student and a sailor. Created in 1907, Picasso’s painting portrays five nude female prostitutes from a brothel on Avinyo Street in Barcelona. The angular and disjointed form of the females is symptomatic of their unhappiness and misery in the Brothel. When looking at the women intently, you can’t help but feel sympathy towards them because of their disconsolate facial expressions. It’s the way that they are completely exposed in the Iberian style of Picasso’s native Spain and the African mask-like features that highlights the boldness of these prostitutes. Their arms are carefully raised as to expose the entirety of their female bodies which appears provocative and confrontational.
It’s fair to say that Picasso’s painting is a radical departure from traditional European art. What’s even more intriguing is the cubist influence that is demonstrated by the sharp, linear forms of the females’ bodies. Yes, Picasso shocks and stuns his spectators who speculate the meaning of the painting because of its risqué nature. Les Demoiselles was controversial and revolutionary at the time but did lead to a widespread anger and disagreement. It’s first 1916 exhibition was so shocking to the public that it was deemed inappropriate and immoral. Some may argue that his painting style is infantile and regressive in terms of artistic progression but he understands that venturing into new territory creates an excitement and intrigue that shocks, intrigues and entertains the masses.