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Free Research Paper on Pablo Picasso

Abstract. The definition of the word is; “a stylization, rearrangement, simplification of form for the purpose of artistic expression. Abstract images are most often derivative of forms actually seen or experienced.” For an example, take the human face. It is a form that is commonly known and so recognizable, that if it is taken and then rearranged it is in most instances still recognizable. This is one of the methods or styles that the artist Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) used quite frequently.

The piece of his that I chose to analyze was, Woman In An Armchair, created in 1946. The media that was used was oil and gouache on canvas. After observing it for some time, I found it to be an interesting but perplexing image. Picasso’s work was very complex and intense, to say the least. It seems as if there was so much involved in everything he did, that I probably haven’t even come close to touching half of what was really there, yet hopefully I’ve made a small crack in the surface.

There is a basic form to the painting, and it is recognizable. You do see a woman sitting in what appears to be an armchair. However, her form is an abstract one.

Immediately, my eyes are drawn to the upper left-hand corner where there is a crème colored rectangle that portrays a basic window. I believe that Picasso used this window as one of his focal points. It is the first and last thing that my eyes fall on. For me it also represents simplicity. I feel that the window is important because the rest of the picture is so complicated. It is essentially the only simple thing in the painting that is all by itself, and still a focus. I think the artist probably realized this and that is why it is there.

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Next, I notice the woman almost in the center, with a ton of fabulous hair. You see, or rather get the general idea that she is sitting in a green armchair, and she is wearing a blue dress. There is a yellow area of space on the right side, which I believe portrays the wall connecting to the floor. There is also a smaller portion of the same space on the other side, connecting to the armchair. For my eyes, this helps to balance the painting as a whole. Whether or not that was Picasso’s intention or not, I can only guess.

There is in fact, quite a bit of repetition in the piece. There are two circles in the center of the painting which is also the center of the woman. I believe these two circles to be the woman’s breasts. Her shoulders are also two circles, and there are two circles that are the arms of the armchair. Although the right one is covered by her hand, it seems to still imply that it is similar to the left one. The skirt of her dress is a triangle which works as sort of an arrow pointing up to her waist, chest and then face and hair. It seems safe to say that Picasso felt comfortable putting a significant amount of negative space between her face and her hair. From the corners of this space, (traced in orange on attached visual), there are two diagonal lines that meet in another type of arrow form which points in the opposite direction. This and the previous arrow are pointed at the two circles representing the woman’s chest, which appears to be another focal point, or focus that Picasso used in this piece. I say this mainly because almost every single diagonal, line or curve either points at or goes through these two circles. I believe that one of the most significant parts of this painting is the imaginary curve that can be drawn through the four center circles, that of her shoulders and chest. (This is traced in red on the visual.) Another curve can be connected to it, (also in red.) that then gives the shape of a football. These two curves are repeated above the first curve, and in the center of the second curve, only they are reduced in size, (traced in blue on the visual.) and this is the shape of the negative space between the woman’s hair and face.

The colors of it were perfect. The hues Picasso used for the painting were yellow-gold, crème, light orange-brown, blue, light purple and a chartreuse-green. A large portion of the piece was achromatic. Black and gray were used the most for negative spaces. Although there were not many hues used, the saturation of each one was just bright enough, and each color was painted next to a color that created just the right amount of contrast.

Texture is visible throughout the work of art, along the walls and floor, but especially all over the woman. She is completely texturized except for the negative space between her hair and face.

Pablo Picasso’s painting of a Woman In A Armchair, is one of my favorites. I love it because like many of his works, it is simple while at the same time being intricate. In all honesty, I have no idea what Picasso was really trying to do when he created this painting. I don’t know why he chose a particular color, or why he placed a line where he did. However, I do know that it works, and for some reason it makes sense – at least to me. I can only speculate on the why and on the how. Essentially, that is the beauty of art, to look at a piece of artwork and analyze what works for you, what causes it to make sense to you as an individual. You don’t need to understand a piece or even like it. Just observe, appreciate and respect it.

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