Thursday, October 27, 2011

Compare and Contrast Artists

Close-up showing a bit of texture on Picasso's painting of the Kitchen. Picasso has always been known to utilize textures and let his emotions bleed through in his paintings. He makes great use of form and space, in conjunction with texture from the paints on the canvas, to get a rather unpolished white looks- similar to a kitchen.

Mondrian used oil and pencil on cardboard, and I think it worked rather well. The brown of the cardboard provides a fitting background, and I think Mondrian was able to capture the shape of the dunes in a relatively smooth manner, but left the edges rough to capture the sandy, gritty look.

iDesign Analysis

Intention (Purpose)

The intention of Picasso's The Kitchen is often debated among critics, citing one end that he was paying homage to Guillaume Apollinaire, a poet and friend of Picasso's, in which he had previously made a sculpture:

Or did Picasso simply intend for it to be a kitchen? Or was he trying to depict himself, Apollinaire, and someone else?

Mondrian offers an oblique view of the coastline in which he depicts dunes on the left, sea on the right, and sky above. There is a stark contrast between the orange and blue colors of lines, and he probably meant to convey the smooth, yet rough, thick slopes of dunes.

Definition (Elements)/ Exploration (Concepts/Relations)

Each of the elements in Picasso's work is an angular, minimalistic reduction in kitchen gadgets- plants, cups, walls, tables, etc. However, hidden in his work seems to a portrait of himself and two other individuals, perhaps Apollionaire and another friend.

Mondrian often spent summers at Domburg, Netherlands, where he had a constant view of the ocean.

Suggestion (Form)

By using juxtaposition to defy common conceptions, both paintings force the reader to question the painters’ motive. Johns takes a commonplace, bland concept and depicts it with bright colors and bold strokes. He combines a chaotic way of painting with a concept that would normally try to be as clear as possible. Chirico places household objects in the same ethereal, floating frame as a Greek sculpture’s head. Moreover, the setting does not explain the reason for it.


There is a question of Picasso's innovation in The Kitchen, as he seemed to have done similar works (i.e. sculpture picture attached), and is claimed that he was inspired by Pierre Reverdy's poem, The Song of the Dead.

Can you see the similarities?

Apparently Mondrian's View from the Dunes with Beach and Piers was radically different from Mondrian's other works in that the painting possesed thickly applied, vibrant colors through the use of lines. Mondrian was quoted later saying that he preferred to work "in gray, dark weather or in very strong sunlight, when the density of the atmosphere obscures the details and accentuates the large outlines of objects." There is definite definition to the texture of the dunes in the painting.

Goalgetting (Criteria)

On Picasso's side, I would say it was successful (not like I could really criticize Picasso anyway) in the creation of an abstraction of a kitchen, because I was able to understand it- the colors and shapes reminded me of used kitchens, of blackened grouts, amorphous tiles and glasses. There are three shapes in the middle of the painting on the bottom that look like wine glasses and brandy sifters on a table and the entire picture was constrained by walls on all sides.

Compared to Mondrian's other works, I think he was successful in his experimentation with colors and textures because his picture is evocative of movement and the appropriate texture associated with sand on the beach. Having been to the Netherlands before and walked the beaches there, I can see where the colors came from, as it is a custom for the Dutch to walk along the beach at a very specific time just to see the sunset, it's colors effectively captured by Mondrian.

Knowing (Implication)

"The Kitchen" seems to reflect everyday customs and utilization of the kitchen- it is grimy but "white" (he texturizes this by creating rough and unclean line borders). There seems to be a delicate emptiness in the kitchen that contradicts the warmth usually associated with a kitchen, and perhaps, even family. The Spanish usually view dinner as a more sombre or quick affair, and leave for bars or taverns that serve tapas much later during the night as well.

As one of Mondrian's earlier pieces, much less non-representational at that, implies the extent to which he would go to create abstractions out of realistic, tangible perspectives/forms. This experimental and developmental phase marked the beginning of his years developing his philosophical ideas, which would later go on to affect the rest of his repertoire with respect to abstraction, as he was constantly searching for spiritual enlightenment in himself and his paintings.

Reaction Response

I adore minimalism, white and grey colors so The Kitchen was really a beautiful piece for me. Many of the lines' and their intersection melded with a large circle, which helped visually and mentally flow in the picture. I could make out many of the abstracted shapes in the kitchen, and what came as a surprise was Picasso's portraits highlighted in the picture above (clever clever Picasso!).

From the artistic side, Mondrian's work impressed me less, as I understood the dunes and its textures, but overall it looked sloppily made in a week or so. However, I respect the painting for its intrinsic value to the painter, as something of a child of the "teen" aspect of his painting years, when Mondrian was trying to a way to express his maturing development of philosophies and artistic style into his paintings.

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