Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907) by Pablo Picasso

Les Demoiselles d'Avignon - Pablo Picasso - 1907

Artwork Information

TitleLes Demoiselles d'Avignon
ArtistPablo Picasso
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions243.9 x 233.7 cm
Art MovementCubism
Current LocationMuseum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York City, NY, US
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About Les Demoiselles d'Avignon

Les Demoiselles d’Avignon is a painting created by Pablo Picasso in 1907. It is widely regarded as one of the most significant paintings of the twentieth century, thanks to its revolutionary approach to composition and perspective. The painting captures five women in a fragmented, cubist style that utilizes flat planes and bold lines. Picasso drew inspiration for the women’s faces from Iberian sculptures and African masks, giving them an otherworldly quality.

The title translates to “The Young Ladies of Avignon,” but the piece was initially called “Le Bordel d’Avignon” or “The Brothel of Avignon.” This change reflects not only a shift in artistic approach but also signaling the rupture with classical art. The colors used in the painting add depth and texture while enhancing its seductive power.

Picasso spent six months creating Les Demoiselles. Before starting work on the final canvas, he produced hundreds of preparatory drawings, many of which feature individual elements seen in the final version. The resulting artwork caused outrage among critics and audiences alike due to its stark departure from traditional forms; even some close friends expressed dismay over its radicalism.

Les Demoiselles d’Avignon stands as an early example of Picasso’s development into cubism- it was at this point onwards that he established himself as one of modern art’s most unconventional creators who challenged norms in unprecedented ways.

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