Cubism and Twentieth-Century Art

By Robert Rosenblum | Go to book overview

XIII.THE LATER WORK OF PICASSO AND BRAQUE, 1925-1939

If Picasso and Braque began as very different artists, their common invention of Cubism temporarily involved them in an artistic union whose extraordinary closeness tended to suppress the many contradictory aspects of their personalities. By the 1920s, however, those differences of temperament and interest which had been concealed in the years around 1910 again became pronounced, and their careers diverged almost as sharply as they had in their pre-Cubist years.

A startling example is a Picasso still life of 1925, the Ram's Head, a gruesome display of table objects which would be unimaginable on the pleasurably ordered table tops of a French painter but which stands fully in the macabre still-life tradition of Picasso's Spanish pictorial ancestors. Like Goya late Still Life with a Slaughtered Sheep, Picasso Ram's Head controverts both the hedonistic and the rational tenor of the French still-life tradition. Most prominent in this grisly array are the blank, dead eyes of the severed ram's head, which have the disquieting intensity familiar in Picasso. The ram's head, however, is no more repellent than the entourage of prickly and slimy sea life, which includes two scallops, a squid with two staring eyes, a bristling scorpion fish whose savage mouth seems to gasp for breath, and an equally untouchable sea urchin.

To what extent can such a painting still be considered Cubist? As in the Goya, the subject is so repugnant, its emotional and physical presence so immediate (here, even in tactile terms), that Picasso appears to have abandoned completely the measured and cerebral world of earlier Cubism in favor of something flavored with the morbidity and irrationality of Surrealism, whose first manifesto had been proclaimed in the previous year. Yet, for all its insistent ugliness, such a work bears the indelible stamp of Cubism. In structure alone, the flattened space, the elisions of contour, the complex planar intersections of the tablecloth and the still-life objects all depend on Cubist innovations; and even the metaphysical confounding of identities so prominent in collage is used here to relate the fanlike shape of the scallops to the tail and fin of the scorpion fish or, still more imaginatively, to effect a biological and pictorial transition between the ram's head and the submarine creatures by emphasizing the snaillike character of the ram's horns and tough curls of hair.

The persistence of the Cubist aesthetic may be seen throughout Picasso's later work, though it is often combined with a thematic complexity that seems foreign to the original character of Cubism. A case in point is a magnificent pair of pictorial meditations on the creative process of the artist. In the earlier of the two, the Studio of 1927-28, Picasso again asserts his Spanish heritage by alluding, as he was later to

-289-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Cubism and Twentieth-Century Art
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 332

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.