THREE CUBIST PORTRAITS: AN EXAMINATION OF THE RELATED ASPECTS OF TIME
MANIPULATION AND AMORALITY WITHIN GERTRUDE STEIN’S WORD PORTRAIT
“PICASSO” (1909), PABLO PICASSO’S PORTRAIT OF DANIEL-HENRY KAHNWEILER (1910),
AND IGOR STRAVINSKY’S PORTRAIT OF A PEASANT BRIDE IN
THE FIRST TABLEAU OF LES NOCES (1917)
Dr. David Nichols, Research Mentor
Albert Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity was published in 1905, and Pablo Picasso’s cubist masterpiece, Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, was finished in 1907. The change from Newtonian to Einsteinian physics provided early cubists with a rationale for denying a representation of the world based upon social convention and Renaissance perspective. The philosophy behind the cubist movement allowed artists to create works they deemed to be amoral,because the Victorian sensibility of “what is beautiful is good” no longer applied in this new context. They postulated that, within the fourth dimension of time, there exists an unchanging ultimate reality which they described as the “eternal act of becoming.” The prolongation of the present is the concept that unites all three works chosen for this study. Stein, Picasso, and Stravinsky were fascinated by the artist’s manipulation of time, and the ways they achieve “interior time” within their art are strikingly similar in conception.
[122 pages, plus supplementary material, including audio clips]