The essay "Marcel Duchamp - Modern Painting" discusses the works of Marcel Duchamp. The techniques of representation, canonized by the Renaissance masters, were accepted by artists until the late nineteenth century just as the musicians had accepted the rules of tonality. However, constant repetition had weakened their effectiveness, and change seemed to be demanded. The beginnings of change we have already noted in Impressionistic painting, which put the emphasis less on the subject represented and more on the attitude of the artist toward his subject. This changed emphasis led artists to Abstraction, which must be thoroughly understood because it is the basis of much of modern art. The verb “abstract” has two meanings: “to take away” and “to summarize.” Both meanings were known and employed by the old masters. Cubism is a form of abstraction in which objects are first reduced to cubes and then flattened into two-dimensional shapes arranged in overlapping planes. In “Nude Descending a Staircase” by Marcel Duchamp we find another preoccupation of analytical Cubism: that of expressing sequential movement in time. The Cubist thus opened up many new possibilities in visual experience. The movement to regain structure in painting was initiated by Cezanne, who is known as the Father of Cubism. He advised painters to “treat nature by the cylinder, the sphere, the cone, everything in proper perspective, so that each side of an object or a plane is directed toward a central point.”
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3 pages (750 words)Essay
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