oil on canvas, 243,9 x 233,7 cm. - New York, Museum of Modern Art (MOMA)
This work is arguably the most important painting of the 20th century, one of the starting points of Cubism, the movement considered as the base of all modern and contemporary painting. "Les demoiselles d'Avignon" impressed Georges Braque and began the friendship between both painters.
As happens in almost all important paintings in the history of Art, “Les demoiselles d'Avignon” has multiple interpretations, some of them contradictory. Anyways, most critics agree in considering this painting as a reply to Henri Matisse's “The joy of life”, in which Picasso replaces the beautiful landscape for the dark interior of a brothel. Where Matisse painted sensual women, Picasso depicted prostitutes. There is no “joy of life” in this painting, just a dark and disturbing sensation. The colours are inherited from Picasso's rose period, but some dark outlines are also added; reason for which many critics talk about a "black period" in Picasso's oeuvre. Hands down, one of the pivotal works in the history of Western Art.
Text: G. Fernández, www.theartwolf.com