Nude Figure, 1909–10
Oil on canvas
39 x 30 3/4 inches (99.1 x 78.1 cm)
General Purchase Funds, 1954
Nude Figure is an early example of the style known as Analytic Cubism, developed by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque. Each form depicted in the painting has been divided up into small geometric facets, with the intent of representing each object from all viewpoints simultaneously. This desire for simultaneity comes, in part, from the knowledge of the way we see something in its entirety—we cannot take in the whole object with one glance, so the brain guides the eye through a succession of smaller, short glances that we are not even aware of in order to build a composite image of the object. In order to reflect these shifting glances, Picasso and Braque analyzed forms (hence the term Analytic Cubism), broke them up into their component planes, and then reconstructed them in a way that presents multiple points of view or mixed perspectives. The background space is analyzed and reconstructed in the same way so that it merges with the objects depicted, flattening the space of the composition.
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