"The Portuguese" by George Braque Analytical Essay by Winston

"The Portuguese" by George Braque
This essay looks at how Cubist art in general and "The Portuguese" by George Braque specifically drew from and expanded on the consciousness and experiences of the modern age of technology.
# 5931 | 900 words | 4 sources | MLA | 2002 | BE
Published on Feb 10, 2003 in Art (Artists) , Art (History) , English (Analysis) , Art (Painting)

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The writer examines the works of George Braque and shows how he was the lesser known of the two founders of Cubism, always in the shadow of Pablo Picasso. This essay examines the artistic foundations behind one of the earliest Cubist works of Braque, "The Portuguese," and explains the unique importance of this painting in its day and even now.

From the Paper:

"An examination of Georges Braque's The Portuguese, painted in 1911, and the Cubist movement created by Braque and Picasso, helps show how technology was first widely used both instinctively and deliberately by artists. The Portuguese is an oil on canvas work approximately four feet by three feet in size; the colors are monochromatic in tone, thus emphasizing structure over the gently shaded colors. The subject matter of the painting is not the external world or nature; the painting exists within a reality and world of its own. This alone was revolutionary. Like most Cubist art, it has a restricted setting and manmade objects predominate over natural ones (Hughes 16). In this phase of what was known as analytical cubism objects were taken apart (dissected) and reshaped with the use of flat intersecting planes; perspective is two-dimensional and depth is limited. Four hundred years of Renaissance traditions (form, color, and space) were thrown out by The Portuguese and other Cubist works. Instead of a single vantage point at a single moment in time, the viewer sees the painting from many angles and at many different moments; the fixed point of view is gone. The painting also includes stenciled letters and numbers. Braque wrote, "...as part of a desire to to come as close as possible to a certain kind of reality, in 1911 I introduced letters into my paintings." In summary then, the elements above make The Portuguese one of the first examples of a painting as a unique object set in a revolutionary form. The degree of abstraction in Cubist art was also revolutionary. This new perception of the world came at a time of great transformation in society, and this work of Braque, seen within the larger context of Cubism, borrows much from the elements of the new world. "

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