PabloPicasso was one of the most recognized and most influential artist of themodern era who created thousands of works, not only paintings. Except paintingshe also worked on sculptures, ceramics, drawings, prints and stage designing.He was responsible for the invention of cubism, surrealism, expressionism andmore which were the most influential of all the movements in twentieth century.
He helped to develop and explore wide variety of styles such as invention ofconstructed sculptures and co-invention of collages. He was very passionate onpaintings and drawings during his childhood so, he got formal training from hisfather and learned about oil painting and figure drawing. As the time went on,he diversified to sculpting, ceramics and stage designing, and his stylechanged along with his experiment on different theories, techniques and ideas. At the age of 16 when Picasso went toMadrid’s Royal Academy of San Fernando for his further study, he made his firsttrip to Paris where he saw the works of impressionists at the Louvre. His visitto Louvre changed his vision of art completely and so called Blue Period cameto his life which lasted from 1901 to 1904. In Blue Period most of his artworks were dominated by green and blue-green color and he applied varioustechniques such as blurred techniques to divisionism and expressionism.
Themain theme he chose during the Blue Period were mostly blind people, old,beggars, alcoholics and prostitutes. After overcoming the sadness from Blue Period,Rose period came to his life which lasted from 1904 to 1904. The Rose periodwas the manifestation of Picasso’s improved spirits so, in most of his paintingshe used warmer colors which included beiges, pinks and red. He used this warmercolor because at that time he madly fell in love with Fernande Olivier.Additionally, his theme also changed from sad characters to funny characterslike harlequins, circus people, acrobats and strolling musicians. Then the nextperiod called cubism period came to his life which lasted from 1907 to 1912when he developed newforms of painting including sharp geometric shapes. Alongwith his friend Georges Braque, Picasso developed analytic cubism usingmonochrome brownish and neutral colors. One of the greatest work of art duringthis period was “Les Demoiselles d’ Avigon,” which depicted five prostitutes ina brothel.
This painting was an original exploration of modernism in art andthis work of Picasso became the inspiration of cubism Cubism technique was all aboutbreaking the objects apart and re-assembling in an abstracted from along withhighlighting their composite geometric shapes and depicting them from multipleviewpoints to create college like effects. Then after cubism period, there camea Classical Period from 1920 to 1930, in which most of his works were dominatedby the experimentation and he also changed his style to the more traditionalone. Due to the World War I, there was a great change in his art which depictedof reality of that time period. His art form was changed from abstract to thedistorted form and as an avid believer of experimentation he started to work onnew philosophy known as surrealism. This is the period when he created mostoutstanding work of this time “Guernica” which was a testament for thebrutality in humanity and vicious nature of war.
Later. In his life Picasso not onlyworked on paintings, but he also worked consistently on sculptures and devotedhimself to sculpture wholeheartedly. During his life time he made around 1228sculptures using both traditional and unconventional materials and techniques.In mid-1949, Picasso exhibited his work of art in the 3rd SculptureInternational held at the Philadelphia Museum of art (Gopnik, 2011). Though he was not formally trainedlike in paintings, Picasso approached the sculpture medium with the freedom ofa self-taught artist.
Picasso was an experimental artist who was neversatisfied with only one form of art so, his creativity and experiment led himto develop a deep fondness for his sculptures. He cherished the sculptures byre-creating them in variety of material. He was responsible for defining theelements of plastic arts which led society towards societal advances insculptures because at time no one imagined of manipulating materials that hadnot previously been carved or shaped. Those plastic like materials could bemolded in different ways which would give the three dimensions to the art (Kachur, 2015). In his early sculptural work, Picasso mostlyuse clay, plasters, wax and wood to create his sculptures and later he startedusing unique materials such as wires and precious metal. As an experimentalartist he never stopped himself from inventing revolutionary sculpture artthough he lacked formal training in sculpture making.
His experimental mindcreated and dominated an array of art disciplines and mediums which made him aninventor of the assemblage sculpture. His approach to assembling incorporatedof everyday objects into the composition which broke all the rules since theentire philosophy of cubism relied on fragmentation. In 1912, Picasso’s”Guitar” was a founding work of twentieth century sculpture which was made upof paper, cardboard, glue, tape, painted wire, pins, twin, and string. Theguitar was an example of a three-dimensional object which was a showcase ofPicasso’s interest for space and found materials. His creation of guitarinitiated the new process of construction known as assemblage which was opposedto traditional techniques of modeling or craving solid masses.
The guitardefines three-dimensional volumes made by adding pieces together which wasdifferent from sculpture of the western tradition of subtracting with a chisel andawl (Poggi, 2012).This sculpture of Picasso was mounted on the wall, which showed the results ofpositive forms as we can see the articulation of the central body of guitarthrough the planes that circumscribe its edges. Similarly, the neck of theguitar emerging from the hollow of a curved strip of paper form a positivespace. With the incorporation of everyday objects in his collages andsculpture, Picasso turned a way of using traditional materials and gave agreater respect for the resources, the found objects and the playful game ofassociations. The art of assemblage was originatedas a method practiced by major artists like Pablo Picasso, Jean Dubuffet,Marcel Duchamp, Alexander Calder and Jose De Creeft in the twentieth centuryusing the materials and objects around them as vehicles of expression. As, welearned in this unit about the assemblage, I have decided to compare andcontrast the sculpture made by the Pablo Picasso and the originators of shadowboxes, collages and film maker, Joseph Cornell. In this unit we can see theexample of assemblage sculpture of untitled (The Hotel Eden) which was createdon 1945 as an example of assembled box college.
Cornell was considered one ofthe greatest American Surrealist whose most characteristic art works were boxedassemblages created from found objects. In most of his assemblage art works, he usedthe materials such as boxes, photos, maps written poems, titles, thoughts,glue, tape, trinkets, bric-a-brac, etc. By using these materials, Cornell usedto create visual poems in which surface, form, texture, and light his variousinterests: such as the creation of Soap Bubble Sets, the Medici Slot MachineSeries, the Pink Palace series, the Hotel Series, the Space Object Boxes andAviary Series. Among these series, Cornell mostly worked in Aviary Seriesbecause of his interests on birds, in which colorful images of various birdsmounted on wood, cut out, and set against harsh white backgrounds (Niedenthal, 2002). One of the bestexample of this series was “Untitled: The Hotel Eden”, in which the chiefemblem is a caged parrot, the innocent resident of Hotel Eden. Though the birdis secluded behind material frames, but Cornell wanted to symbolize is as an emblemof freedom. Similarly, we can see the piece of black thread at the top partwhich seems to represent orbits and end up to the birds’ beak and the bottom ofthe box seem to represent emptiness.
By seeing this art, it can be interpretedthat the thread represents a spiral link between the various material which areal interconnected and the elements used in his box such as two pieces of paperstuck at the bottom which are worn out represents the passage of time and the”Hotel Eden” alludes to a lost paradise. Also, the egg that is at the top ofthe parrot might symbolize renewal of life. The similarity between Picasso’s and Cornell’s art of assemblage is thatboth artists created a sculpture with assemblage of recyclable materials inassociation with the reality, both of the artists produced three dimensionalcompositions to create original art by using natural or manmade objects intheir compositions. Also, both were historical artist from 20thcentury.
When talking about the differences both artists used differentmaterials to create their art for example, Picasso used paper, card board,glue, painted wire pin, twin and strings to make guitar whereas Cornell usedboxes usually glass fronted, papers, threads, images of renaissance paintingsand old photographs to make the Hotel Eden art. Picasso was mostly known forcreating sheet metal guitars whereas Cornell was known for creating assembledboxed collages. When considering the design most of the work done by Cornell wascompressed into boxes often behind the glass from where he created an encodedprivate world whereas Picasso’s works were assembled with sheets of metal alongwith open and constructed form. Therefore, the assemblage processwas the result of experiment which challenged the visual system used in Westernart for almost five hundred years. Though this process was criticized by manytraditional artists, the term assemblage stuck and became the artistic processfor other artists like Marcel Duchamp, Vladimir Tatlin and Louise Nevolson etc.This process of making art gave a new dimension in the history of art byredefining the stuff a creativity of using everyday found materials.