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Le Corbusier, Cubism and Social Connections to Picasso and Gertrude Stein - Research Paper Example

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Le Corbusier, Cubism and Social Connections to Picasso and Gertrude Stein

Like all complex works of art, his life too is seemingly contradicting and open to multiple interpretations. If Picasso shocked the world of painting by departing from the practice of imitating nature, Le Corbusier took the revolution a step ahead with his ideal notions about the advent of machine age and his stark depiction of the precision and sharpness which the machine age represented. It comes as no surprise that these two icons of the artistic world met and were influenced by each other’s ideas. On the contrary, the interactions between Le Corbusier and the American writer, Gertrude Stein were not all too pleasant thanks to their differences of opinion. However, despite their personal differences, it remains undisputable that these interactions influenced Le Corbusier in more ways than one. The first encounter of Corbusier with Picasso probably happened in the early 1920s before he bought Picasso’s The Bottle of Rum in a sale held in Paris. His view of this work as an arrangement of planes supported by verticals was probably the first architectural interpretation of the work. During later phases of his life as an architect, Corbusier also translated and extended the depiction of volumes in Picasso’s cubist works into buildings displaying his respect for Picasso. However, much before Corbusier bought The Bottle of Rum, he had written to Picasso on numerous occasions. Apparently, Picasso too had shown some interest towards the maverick architect thanks to his occasional ventures into the architectural domain. Following Picasso’s success in using the void to represent a solid, Corbusier added the spatial element to modern architecture using elements such as a half-transparent, curved wall. This was the time when the cultural preferences of artists underwent a drastic change thanks to the widespread impact of the First World War. Picasso, along with his fellow supporters of Cubism like Braque, abandoned the art form to return to the more traditional practices of neoclassicism. Futurism, which was used as a medium to adulate the machinery, violence and the war, was rejected by the strongest of its supporters. Corbusier, on the other hand was spending the wartime away from Paris in the seclusion of the La-Chaux-de-Fonds Art school. While teaching in this school, he also worked on employing the modernist techniques in architecture. During this period, he also completed designing the ‘Domino’ House project. The open floor plan comprising of slender, reinforced concrete columns and the interconnecting stairways would be a permanent feature of all his future works (Moos 2009). Having considered himself as primarily being a painter before being an architect, Le Corbusier understood the relationship between architecture, painting and sculpture. Since he believed that architecture should be used to signify the increasing industrialization and resolve social problems, he experimented on new ways of unifying painting and sculpture with architecture. However, in doing so, he did not compromise on the autonomous statuses of each of these forms (Cohen 2005). Now, being a painter himself, he was heavily influenced by Cubism which rejected the age old practices of imitating nature and was being used by painters such as Picasso and Braque for portraying multiple perspectives in their paintings and adding a realistic spirit to the paintings. Having begun among a group of painters, Cubism had also spread to different mediums such as literature and sculpture. Gertrude Stein, the celebrated American author had incorporated Cubist techniques in several of her works such as ‘ ...Show more
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Summary

Much has been written about the eccentric, extremist and the contradicting nature of Le Corbusier, as Charles-Edouard Jeanneret is popularly known. However, unlike other eccentric revolutionary minds of the previous century, Le Corbusier has only managed to draw scorn from his critics with not many supporting his ideas of Purism…
Le Corbusier, Cubism and Social Connections to Picasso and Gertrude Stein
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