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Inspired by Pablo Picasso

Les Demoiselles by Paulina Ponsford (Acrylic on canvas 20x24 inch)

If you are familiar with Picasso's work, you would probably recognize this unforgettable image - Les Demoiselles d'Avignon.

Pablo Picasso is the most famous artist of the modern age; born in Malaga, Spain, he was the son of a painter and art teacher who taught him how to draw when he was a child. He studied arts in Madrid and Barcelona but soon outgrew them, and by the time he was sixteen years old, he started his own studio. He began visiting Paris and settled there in 1904. His work became very popular with wealthy patrons who supported and promoted his work. Picasso was incredibly prolific—as a painter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist, and stage designer. He works until his death at the age of ninety-one.

His iconic painting, Les Demoiselles d'Avignon (1907), is seen not only as heralding the birth of Cubism but as a critical landmark in the entire history of painting. With this painting, Picasso overthrew conventional ideas about form, color, and perspective; it broke away from traditional art so radically that even Picasso's friends and patrons were baffled and shocked by it. This painting was not showed to the public until nine years later, in 1916.

The five figures portrayed in the painting are prostitutes from the notorious brothels in Barcelona's Carrer d'Avinyo. Picasso made hundreds of preparations and sketches for his painting, indicating that he intended to create a more detailed and explicit brothel composition that included one or more male figures.

A couple of Christmases ago, I received a magnificent book (thank you so much Tyson!) about art throughout history. The book covers art from ancient times to the modern age depicting some of the most inspiring and influential works ever created. In this book, I came across the unforgettable Demoiselles. I became obsessed with this painting. Every time I looked at it, I discovered something new! In my infinite naiveté, I decided to paint it. It was extremely challenging, stimulating, and rewarding at the same time!

Painting Les Demoiselles kept me happy, sane, and productive during the long and challenging months we spent in quarantine.

Thank you, Pablo, for creating such a fascinating and incredible piece of art, and for being my teacher through time and dimension.


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