Sentimentality to one person may not be sentimentality to another. As we talked about in class, sentimentality is “said to be a mood or feelings, not a feeling in and of itself”. For something to be sentimental to us, it is usually something that makes us feel better about ourselves, or something that produces a type of feeling. Pablo Picasso’s painting titled “Les Demoiselles d’ Avignor” is a piece of art that I feel to be sentimental.
Everyone is entitled to his or her own opinions for example; Ira Newman may feel that this piece depicts emotions of sentimentalism, while someone like Savile would see this piece of art as having no form of sentimentalism what so ever. I chose to talk about Picasso’s “Les Demoiselles d’Avignor” or “The Young Ladies of Avignon”. This painting was finished in 1907 in Paris, and depicts five nude female prostitutes. Each figure is painted in a perplexing and provoking manner, where none of them are socially accepted as being feminine.
The women appear slightly intimidating with their angular and disjointed body shapes. Two of the women are shown with African mask-like faces, and the others have the style of Picasso’s native Spain, giving them undomesticated characteristics. The work is widely considered to be influential in the early development of both cubism and modern art. This painting is very iconic because it was the first movement away from classical paintings towards cubism. I ask the question, do people see sentimentality in modern art such as this? This picture alone could show many forms of sentimentality throughout its borders.
Sentimentality can be viewed in the sense that it depicts the female body and how natural it is. Picasso’s view of women can be seen in this painting. It could have been sentimental to him in the way that he saw all women with beautiful bodies, yet they all had different faces to go with those bodies. Newman would say that this painting could bring sentimentality to one when viewing it because it could bring unnatural emotions such as love and tenderness. It may also show that we as human beings do not have to look deep to have such a wonderful body.
Another form of viewing this may show how we should feel in our skin, and that everyone is beautiful in their own way. To one that may view this as being sentimental, I wonder what types of feelings this would make them feel? Maybe it was a replica that their parents had hung in the house when they were a child, and it brings back their childhood memories of growing up. Maybe it makes them feel good and takes them back to those moments where their whole family would sit around the dining table and this portrait was hung in the dining room where they ate.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, one may argue that this is exactly as it portrays, and that it is just a painting of a few naked women. This is how Savile would look at this portrait. He would say this is just an ordinary photo painted by Picasso that shows no sentimentality. One could argue that this picture shows no sentimentality because the subject shows naked women and nothing more. They could say that Picasso was just painting a picture of the five whores he had spent time with during his lifetime. To have no sentimental feeling, this picture should not bring a sense of emotion when viewing it.
To someone viewing this portrait, they may feel that this is just absurd that someone would even paint this. This is how a majority of society felt when Picasso painted this and revealed it for the first time. But it just may also show how we should feel in our skin and that everyone is beautiful in their own way. To someone who doesn’t see sentimentalism in this photo, they may think that this photo is a painting of how we are all beautiful in our own way and that it doesn’t matter what we look like. This painting may have not even been sentimental to Picasso.
Quite possibly this was just something that came into his mind and he decided to paint it. Although, some people think that this painting was an inspiration of what Picasso saw while he visited Africa and witnessed some African tribal masks’. To me this painting brings emotions of happiness. Therefore, I would take the side of Newman, and state that this portrait and all art can show some form of sentimentality to its viewers. Picasso’s portrait shows me that we are all beautiful, and that it doesn’t matter what you look like.
It shows that we are all beautiful on the inside and the outside doesn’t matter. I like this photo because these women all have different faces, yet they have the same body styles. The red and blue background colors bring a sense of tenderness and seem to a calm, warm setting. This puts the body at ease when viewing this portrait, which to me brings up those sentimental feelings of happiness and youthfulness. It’s also saying to me be promiscuous; let loose and have a little fun in life. I know not everybody gets those same feelings but that is the whole point of sentimentality.
It brings up different emotions for each individual person. It is like the old saying goes, “to each his own. ” That is what this portrait also brings to my mind. It is as though it is saying do what makes you happy in life: as the women in the portrait are doing. They may prefer to be nude and it may be the lifestyle they choose to live. Along with happiness when I look at this picture, I also feel a little anger because the fact that we as humans do not feel this same way about our bodies. We base judgment on other people by the way they look.
We do not give them time to truly get to know them. We jump to conclusions, and if they look ugly we assume they are an ugly person on the inside too. This most definitely is not always the case. Sentimentality in Picasso’s painting “Les Demoiselles d’ Avignor” is shown by the way he portrays the women and having natural yet beautiful bodies. Some may disagree and say that all forms of art show no range of sentimentality but I believe otherwise. I believe that any form of art can show sentimentalism as I have proved in this writing.
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