Munch vs. Picasso

Munch vs Picasso - Danai Macridi FAH 52/152 From Picasso to Pollock Paper 1 Fogg Art Museum assignment"Rue de Rivoli by Edvard Munch vs"Still Life

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Danai Macridi 02/12/2008 FAH 52/152: From Picasso to Pollock Paper 1: Fogg Art Museum assignment “Rue de Rivoli” by Edvard Munch vs. “Still Life with Inkwell” by Pablo Ruiz Picasso “Rue de Rivoli” and “Still Life with Inkwell”. Both paintings of oil on canvas, created by two established 20 th century painters, Edvard Munch and Pablo Ruiz Picasso. Both works leave an impression on the curious observer, yet each has very unique characteristics. When first faced with Edvard Munch’s painting, “Rue de Rivoli”, one cannot help but be impressed by its flowing vividness and jovial colorfulness. The painter seems to be looking onto the street from an elevated position on one of the street’s buildings and so the outside observer easily identifies with his viewpoint as he too looks on, bellow the windowsill in the foreground on the left. One feels as though he is leaning out a window to take a look outside! What is firstly most striking to the observer’s eye is the effect of perspective achieved as our eye follows the main line of flow, diagonally recessing towards the back and left of the canvas. This recession into space also creates a sense of depth to the composition, of actual distance, accompanied by an illusion of continuity, of perpetuation into a parallel little universe as if the street continues indefinitely beyond the bend and beyond the viewer’s vision field. In addition this kind of recession brings about a more dramatic air to the depiction of a simple French street since it seems to dictate the movement of the artist’s brushstrokes. One can easily discern the individual brushstrokes that combine to create the scene: very interestingly, Munch has refrained from an exact copying of reality but rather uses these very brushstrokes to suggest instead of delineating his subject matter. It is clear that he has a specific idea in mind, an idea that is understood at the first glance, and also referred to by the painting’s title: we immediately see a picture of a street on a nice, sunny day. Yet the individual forms that compose this scene are rather indefinite and blurred, a characteristic probably favored by the use of oil paint. There are certainly distinguishable 1
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Danai Macridi 02/12/2008 FAH 52/152: From Picasso to Pollock Paper 1: Fogg Art Museum assignment forms such as the people, the horses and carriages on the street, the buildings, even shops’ tents. These are constructed so that we are even given clues as to the historical context of the painting: the fact that there are horse drawn carriages depicted and the style of the women’s dresses directs us to assume that the scene is probably set sometime in the 19 th or early 20 th century. Yet simultaneously the painter employs lines that are not very clearly defined but rather soft and obscure and he omits details, he does not seem to attempt to copy reality but to
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This note was uploaded on 03/26/2008 for the course FAH 052/152 taught by Professor Rosenberg during the Spring '08 term at Tufts.

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Munch vs Picasso - Danai Macridi FAH 52/152 From Picasso to Pollock Paper 1 Fogg Art Museum assignment"Rue de Rivoli by Edvard Munch vs"Still Life

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