Thursday, July 17, 2014

Woman with a Flower - A High Praise of Woman

While Picasso is most known for his cubism, it is not as prominent that his fame devastated his life. Perhaps more so than any other artists, Picasso painted his emotions. When he was penniless in Paris, his paintings were filled with blue, starving humans. Then a few years later he found love and suddenly the woman of rosy Paris graced his canvas. The painting, Woman with a Flower was published in 1932. It’s important to understand how Picasso was feeling at the time. First, his marriage was in the shame. Divorce has just gone through, and he was quickly creating illegitimate children via mistress after mistress. In his professional life, he felt that the public was blindly praising him- something that fundamentally clashed with his childhood upbringing structured by harsh criticism by his father.

During this time, Picasso rapidly flirted with various styles of art. He took up more sculpting, and it subsequently influenced his oil painting style. Woman with a Flower is not true surrealism as it is not photo-realistic. It does, however, share the aim of surrealism - to help the viewer to what odd. Picasso throughout his career was often confused on what a representation of a woman was. He struggled from realism to cubism to find the essence of the female and here he takes a stab using elements of surrealism.

Perhaps this is why that the center focus of the piece is two spheres representing a woman’s breast. Humans often use this fundamental judgment if a person is a woman or not. The next most detailed piece of the woman is her head. We are shown two eyes, a nose, a mouth and in contrasting color- hair. Her mouth in particular is given great detail, drawn in an inhaling pose suggesting the inner natural of a woman. Hands are also represented in great detail. Beyond that though, the rest of the woman is portrayed rather loosely.
The other large section of "Woman with a Flower" that is given great detail is the flower. Ironically the flower itself is actually only a white blob. It is, in fact, defined by the stem and the leaves. This is critical to the painting. A flower (despite having both male and female parts) is traditionally considered feminine. Yet here it is defined beyond that- a beauty that grows from the nurturing steam. It is the steam that is considered more important here, more worthy of praise. Likewise, we can use the flower to see a woman through Picasso’s eyes. Are the breasts important? Yes, they are front and center. But it is a woman’s face, the place where thought is born that is given the detail and relevance.

Woman with a Flower