One hundred and fifteen

Violin and Palette

1909 by Georges Braque
Guggenheim, New York

After talking about Gaudier’s possible inspiration of painterly Cubism, we can look to an iconic example of the style, Georges Braque. Braque, along with his good friend Picasso, had a long period of Cubist, montage-like painting, breaking subject down to shape in a naturalistic palette, focusing on brown, grey, green and blue. It is this palette that in Woman Ironing (postcard 109) Picasso premeditates, using colour for its tonal and evocative effect while also drawing on its possible neutrality. For leaving the bright and luminous behind, not that all Cubists did – Boccioni for instance was brilliantly multi-coloured when painting, allowed Braque and Picasso to focus attention on form. Quieter colour made for a louder line, a more dominating stance on the part of the shapes that multiply out of their original forms. Powerfully three-dimensional, these shapes are angular in their eruption; the smooth side of the violin shattered but not broken, this shattering used to evoke life and movement rather than destruction. Indeed the shapes surrounding it seem to play outwards, a visual display of musical effect; these are the sources of energy of this painting. Tightly knit, these shapes are the smallest and most deeply intense; dark green, they are emerald-like in the surrounding muted colour. Braque’s painterly technique reiterates this movement, highly textured and tonally dramatic, the paint creates angles of shape within the shapes themselves, heightening our sense of this dynamism that lies behind the bare lines of form. And it is this dynamic element, this underlying power of matter that the Cubists wished to expose.


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Filed under Twentieth-Century

One response to “One hundred and fifteen

  1. Pingback: One hundred and sixty six « a wall of postcards

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