Similarities of the Abandonment of Conventional Artistic Standards in the Paintings Igor Stravinsky's Rite of Spring and Pablo Picasso's Les Demoiselles d'Avignon

Similarities of the Abandonment of Conventional Artistic Standards in the Paintings Igor Stravinsky's Rite of Spring and Pablo Picasso's Les Demoiselles d'Avignon

Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring” and Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon were both controversial, ground-breaking works of art which had some additional similarities such as abandonment of conventional artistic standards, the inspiration of “primitivism,” and the expression of strong feelings and emotions. Write an essay comparing these two works in regard to these and other similarities.

The world of art through history has brought great artists not only in painting but also in music. It has given many artists the privilege to demonstrate their talents through paintings and music compositions. Many have expressed their beliefs and, emotions and their use of colors in their paintings. Many have brought a purpose of emotion in through their music compositions, symphonies and their use of instruments. Painters made their paintings express an emotion and beliefs with their use of colors. Some used golden yellow to bring a holy and heavenly touch to the Christian art when it came to painting the important figures of the religion of Christianity like the Virgin Mary, Jesus and even God. Others used the natural colors like blue, green or brown to paint naturalistically to show the world just the way it appeared to their eyes. Also, there were also those who brought in their painting a more abstractive perspective because they made abstract art making a gap between the reality of the natural world and imagery in art. Music composers brought emotion in their music by making different melodies making people during that time feel different types of emotions depending on the sound of the melody. The different types of melodies that music composers created made people feel sad, happy, sorrow, suspense and even fear. Although Pablo Picasso and Igor Stravinsky were part of this great history of the world of art, their intentions of bringing a point across in their controversial works left out the artistic standards, inspiration and a strong expression of emotions because they were more concerned with bringing out the purpose of their works instead of thinking of both the purpose of their works and the artistic standards in the culture of art.

Pablo Picasso was the best known painter in his native country of Spain. Although he is known for a lot of his famous paintings, he is for making the most controversial painting in 1907 called “Les Demoiselles D’Avignon”. The reason why it became so controversial is because the painting was portraying five nude females which were the representation of prostitutes, exposing their bodies that made it look like there was nothing wrong with it. Igor Stravinsky became known for his talent in composition of music and for his creative sounds in music that became a part of art history in the 20th Century. Although he became known for his wonderful melodies in music, he also became known for his controversial musical ballet called “Rite of Spring”. The “Rite of Spring” was a ballet that showed the primitive European rituals and large symphonies and instrumental effects from the orchestra. The reason why it became so controversial was because some of the people who watched the ballet in the audience were raged by Stravinsky’s idea of the ballet because it was out of the standards of the Western culture. Although there were some who loved the play because it brought something new to the 20th Century, there were also those who found it as an offensive part on the values that were appreciated in the Western culture.

Picasso’s “Les Demoiselles D’Avignon” was well done in the abstract perspective except for the fact that it became so controversial to many viewers who saw because they probably found it to be an inappropriate scene. Although Picasso depicted in this painting five nude females representing prostitutes, they were not painted naturalistically. The women appear to be angular and have disjointed body shapes. Two of the females are wearing masks that look like African masks which adds a cultural touch to the painting. The background behind the females looks shattered like broken glass, but also portrays a story because it might represent the secrets and struggles of the females or it might also represent that the females have not put their life fully together yet because they still don’t have a precise decision of what to do for the rest of their lives. At the same time, the scene of this painting has no emotion because they have serene expressions on their faces. The different positions that the females are in make the representation of the painting look ambiguous because at one point, they look like they are not proud of what they do. At the same time they look like they don’t care of what they do for a living because it is still some type of job for them. Although this painting by Picasso brings out a controversial side because of the scene of the painting it had no expressions of emotion. It lacked the artistic standards because there was no direct emotion. There was a more controversial side instead of both the controversial side and the emotional side because the painting displayed a scene where all the females had vague expressions on their faces.

Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring” was an original work made in 1913 by Stravinsky himself. According to Lamm, “ the scenes are about the coming of spring, various spring dances, games of the rival tribes, and the selection of the sacrificial virgin.” Although this was going to bring something new to the table in the 20th Century, after it was presented everyone took sides. In the audience there were two camps known as the “Liberal Artist” and “Conservative Establishment”. According to Lamm, “those who were in the Liberal Artist relished the music” while those in the Conservative Establishment “viewed the work as an assault on cherished values of Western culture.” The reason why everyone in the audience took sides was because it needed primitivism and a stronger portray of emotion. It needed formal cultural expressions and the formal traditional customs of the Western culture. For the perfect completion of “Rite of Spring”, Stravinsky needed to show in this ballet that he respected the traditional values of the culture and needed to consider not only his point of view but also the opinions and reactions of the others who are in the audience.

Although both works of Picasso and Stravinsky were different in music and painting, there were several similarities. Both of their works became controversial during the 20th Century because of what their works displayed. Picasso’s painting became controversial because it displayed a scene of five nude females representing prostitutes and Stravinsky’s ballet became controversial because the scenes of primitive European rituals offended the cherished values of the Western culture. They both lacked the artistic standards, strong emotion expressions and primitivism which caused the controversy in their works. Picasso went over the limit of the artistic standards with the five females who were representing prostitutes. It lacked emotion because the facial expressions of the females in the painting were serene, there was no precise emotion. It lacked primitivism because it was out of the traditional standard paintings that have been made in the culture of art. Stravinsky’s ballet went over the artistic standards because it was a new type of music composition and performance that was not a usual traditionally made piece of music like the rest of music pieces from other music composers. It lacked emotion because the scenes of controversy ended up outweighing the emotion side of the ballet. So Stravinsky needed stronger emotion expressions to make this musical ballet perfect. It also lacked primitivism because Stravinsky needed to show in this ballet that he respected the traditional values of the Western culture. Basically they both had a lot of similarities in the lacking perspective because it their works needed artistic standards, strong emotional expressions and primitivism even though Picasso’s work was a painting and Stravinsky’s work was a ballet.

Works Cited
Lamm, Robert C. The Humanities in Western Culture. 4th ed. Hong Kong: Chris Freitag, 2004. Print.