Analytic Comparison of Two Works of Art, One of Which Is Post-Impressionist, and the Other Abstract


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Analytic Comparison of Two Works of Art, One of Which Is Post-Impressionist, and the Other Abstract

MoMA or the museum of modern art is an art museum that is located in New York City’s Midtown Manhattan. This museum plays an essential role in collecting and developing modernistic art, and artists and other interested parties have always identified it as one of the most influential museums in the world. The collection the museum offers is uncontestable with its wide range of contemporary and modern art, including works of design and architecture, sculpture, drawings photography, painting and electronic media. The museum holdings and pieces of work are more than 150 thousand individual art pieces and more than 22 thousands films. The museum houses some of the most familiar and crucial arts as the Starry Night, the Cloude Monet and the Love Song among others. It holds the works of familiar and influential artists from both the United States and Europe including such artists as Frank Stella, Paul Gauguin, Pablo Picasso and Vincent van Gogh. Just as well, there are various forms of art presented in the museum ranging from abstract, impressionist, post- impressionist, expressionist, among other forms of art.

This paper, therefore, will look at two of these forms of art, which are the cubism and post- impressionist forms of art, by referring to examples found in the museum of modern art. The two pieces of work that the paper will refer to are found in the museum of art and are Pablo Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon and Pablo Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, 1907incent van Gogh’s Starry Night. The paper will compare the techniques used to produce each piece of art, and the concepts behind each of these paintings, which are cubism and post- impressionist.

Cubism was a 20th century art movement pioneered by Picasso himself with the help of another artist called Georges Braque. In this technique, objects are usually fragmented, analyzed and then re- assembled in an abstract from, rather than in a manner, that depicts objects from the viewpoint of an artist. The artist in this case, depicts the object or subject from numerous viewpoints that represent the object or subject in a greater detail. In most cases, the surfaces intersect or cross at angles that are extremely random, therefore, eliminating the sense of depth that is coherent. The planes of the object and the background interpenetrate with each other to come up with space that is both shallow and ambiguous, one of the few distinct traits of cubism.

On the other hand, post- impressionism is a word that was formulated by the British artist, also a critique, called Roger Fry in the 1900s to describe the establishment of art by the French since Manet. The artist, therefore, used the tern when he organized and arranged for the 1900s exhibition called Manet and Post- Impressionism. This concept of producing art extended impressionism while rejecting and not conforming to its limitations. They, therefore, kept on making the use of thick application of paint, vivid colors, subject matters based on real life and distinguishable brush strokes, but they were more inclined to focus on forms that were more geometric, to distort or ruin form produced by expressive effects, and to make use of arbitrary and unnatural color.

For one to completely distinguish these two forms of art from each other, it is essential to look at an example of each form art, so as to compare and identify the distinguishing features and characteristics of each. An excellent example of the cubism form of art is one piece of art by Pablo Picasso that can be found in the museum of modern art in New York. Les Demoiselles d’Avignon is a 1907 oil painting by Pablo Picasso, a Spanish painter. This painting is considered one of the most significant works in the beginning of modern art. The painting shows five naked women, who are usually interpreted as prostitutes in a brothel. Two of these prostitutes are depicted pushing aside the curtains around the area where the rest of the prostitutes strike erotic and seductive poses. Their figures are made of splintered, flat planes rather than volumes that are round or circular. Their eyes are lopsided, asymmetrical and also staring. Two women on the right of the large piece of art have threatening and frightful masks on their heads. In normal circumstances, the space would recede, but in this case, it comes forward in shards that are jagged, like glass that is broken. At the bottom is a still life, which seems to be pieces of sliced melon or some other red fruit, slicing the air like a scythe.

The faces of the women on the right seem to have been influenced by some African art, or spirit, which the painter assumed would play the role of a magical protector against menacing spirits. He later implied that this piece of work was his first painting of exorcism. It seems, therefore, as if he had a certain danger or fear in mind, like a sexual disease, one of the many sources of fear and anxiety in Paris at the period. In its clashes of style and color and its brutal treatment of the female body, the painting marked the radical break from traditional perspective and traditional perspective.

In addition to defying the traditional or conventional subject matter if painting, Picasso also dismissed the existing guidelines on composition, handling of space and accuracy of real- life subjects r objects. A number of aspects in the piece of art show this. For instance, the two central figures in the painting seem to be staring at the audience directly, and even suggestively, therefore, managing to engage the audience in the painting. Additionally, all the women depicted in the painting are deformed. Legs and arms look like flat planes, breasts re misshapen and three of the women have funny masks on their faces. The colors used in the painting are also only accurate in a sense that is general. Rather than the painter using colors to reflect coloring of real life people, they are used mainly to differentiate and suggest the various painting forms. Added together, all of these traits led to the production of a rare painting. In this work, the painter refuted and incorporated the renaissance artistic ideals and introduced the ideals of a new form of painting. The painting was among the first large examples of cubism, an attempt to show three dimensions without the need of perspective. The characteristics of cubism in this painting are shown by a focus on the formal geometrical criteria, rather than the utilization of color.

The differences between this form of art and post- impressionist are seen with the analysis of Vincent van Gogh’s 1889 Starry Night. This piece of art is a field filled with rolling energy. The village is depicted as a place of order and calmness below the exploding stars. The flame like cypress connects the sky to the earth. The tree is traditionally related to mourning and graveyards. The painting is rooted and based on memory and imagination. This makes it possible to leave behind the doctrine of impressionists of truth to nature in the favor of the seemingly restless intense color and feeling, as it is seen in this extremely charged picture.

Much of the response to the painting today is not only based on its fame, but also universality. Throughout the eras individuals and lovers of art have been drawn to the piece of art by its sublimity, stillness and infinitude, which when combined evoke in viewers emotions of humility and peace, wonder and awe. In the Starry Night, the painter mixed these feelings with a surging sense of energies of the terrestrial nature, which he depicted through his style, with the confidence in his style and composition, the dynamism of his painting techniques and the resonance of the colors he chose to use. This painting was painted from memories derived from observed experiences, memories of pictures viewed long ago and in creative competition with other painters.


The purpose of the paper was to compare two pieces of work derived from the cubism and post- impressionist forms of art. It we have seen in the above paragraphs, the two forms of art are extremely different in style, use of color and ideas. Just as well, we saw in the paper that the two forms of art were developed and furthered by different artist in different periods. Overall, the two forms of art are extremely essential in the world of art, as they serve as examples of some of the ancient concepts in art that led to the development of modern art.

Work cited

Wilson, Kristina. The Modern Eye: Stieglitz, MoMA, and the Art of the Exhibition, 1825-1934. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009.