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Modernist and Post Modernist comparative essay (Dali & Duchamp)

Uploaded by christique on May 26, 2004




Marcel Duchamp – Nude Descending Staircase 1912



Marcel Duchamp, born 1887 and died in 1968, was a modernist artist. His painting, Nude Descending Staircase No. 2 was painted in 1912 using oil on canvas with a dimension of 58 x 35 inches in size. It was first exhibited at the New York Armory Show in 1913, where it aroused great controversy, and is now kept at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in the Louise and Walter Arsenberg collection. Duchamp was influenced by the increasing trend of artists’ discovery of new innovations with regard to style and technique at the time. It has a very futuristic approach to style while also appearing influenced by the African tribal artifacts popular at the time. Not only is the style futuristic but also it has a direct association to cubism, which was a flourishing technique during this modernistic period in art culture at the begginning of the 20th century.







It is said that Duchamp painted Nude Descending Staircase based on a poem that describes the beauty of a woman ending eventually as a ‘bag of bones’, which was written by Jules Laforgue. Whether this statement is accurate or not, the painting is identified as symbolizing the artistic movement by taking traditional subject matter and altering it into a modern and original way. It is an explanation of Duchamp’s need to break away from tradition, thus causing great controversy throughout the world. Julia Pastore of the GLBTQ encyclopedia says in relation to this personality trait, ‘Above all, his life and art reflect a desire to turn things upside down and to break down all linguistic, sexual and social restraints.’ Not only has Nude Descending Staircase had a major affect on art culture at the time of release, but it, and the rest of Duchamp’s works have set an historical standard for the rest of time, Encyclopedia Encarta (2004) explains this painting as ‘influential to the development of Surrealism, Dada and Pop Art.’







When first glancing at Nude Descending Staircase, it is unnoticeable as to the form of the subject matter. It is actually a series of informal geometric shapes merged together to form the human figure. Lines, shape and tone are crucial to the depiction of movement, which the genderless figure seems to be doing in the direction of the bottom right-hand corner towards the viewer. The painting is, ‘Depicting continuous action with a series of overlapping figures,’...

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Uploaded by:   christique

Date:   05/26/2004

Category:   Art And Music

Length:   7 pages (1,671 words)

Views:   2551

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