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Pablo Picasso Les demoiselles d'Avignon

Naked ladies standing on a colorful background

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Five peculiar figures are pictured here in a topsy-turvy setting, where space and objects are totally distorted. They are the women of the Carrer d'Avinyo, a street in Barcelona. The one on the left seems to be turning into a drape from the hip down. Her body is tinted many earth colors, and the leg that juts forward is outlined in blue. The next two women stare straight out, but their noses are in profile. The ferocious figure on the right has a strangelyl distorted body. Most peculiar of all is the squatting figure. The back of her torso, the side of her leg, and the front of her face are all shown at once, making it seem as though she has been taken apart and then put together again. The two women standing on the far left and right pull back a curtain to reveal the scene. The drapery is as stiff as a tree trunk on the left side of the painting, and falls below the frame on the right. More drapes are in between. The drapery mixes up the different areas of the painting and makes it difficult to tell where the figures end and the curtain begins. In the left corner of the canvas, a woman's foot indicates the floor that disappears behind an oddly shattered bown of fruit. Picasso fractures everything into interesting pieces. Nothing in Picasso's earlier work had prepared his contemporaries for this painting. It was unlike anything ever seen before. Although its subject - a group of nude women - is a traditional one, he transformed it dramatically.

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