A-Level: The female figure in modern art

videos + essays

Marcel Duchamp, <em>Nude Descending a Staircase, No 2</em>
Marcel Duchamp, Nude Descending a Staircase, No 2

As the European public grew increasingly hard to scandalize, Duchamp crossed the Atlantic to stir up more trouble.

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, <em>Street, Berlin</em>
Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Street, Berlin

Kirchner’s claustrophobic city scene reflects on a culture where everything is for sale.

Amedeo Modigliani, <em>Young Woman in a Shirt</em>
Amedeo Modigliani, Young Woman in a Shirt

“Wearing” would be much too strong a word for this woman’s relationship to her shirt.

Alexej von Jawlensky, <em>Young Girl in a Flowered Hat</em>
Alexej von Jawlensky, Young Girl in a Flowered Hat

Jawlensky rejected the principles of his arts education in order to embrace Expressionism at its most extreme.

Alberto Giacometti, <em>The Palace at 4 a.m.</em>
Alberto Giacometti, The Palace at 4 a.m.

The architectural forms of a dream are constructed as a stage set, ready to be taken apart and reconfigured.

Henri Matisse, <em>Luxe, calme et volupté</em>
Henri Matisse, Luxe, calme et volupté

Matisse borrows brushwork technique from his pal Signac—but don’t call him a Pointillist just yet.

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, <em>Street, Dresden</em>
Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Street, Dresden

Kirchner defines his city with only the figures: there is not a building in view.

Pablo Picasso, <em>Les Demoiselles d’Avignon</em>
Pablo Picasso, Les Demoiselles d’Avignon

Picasso loved the magic of illusionism—but here, he shatters it.

Henri Matisse, <em>Dance I</em>
Henri Matisse, Dance I

You know that painting from third grade your mom won’t take off the fridge? This is different. Mostly.

Henri Matisse, <em>Bonheur de Vivre</em>
Henri Matisse, Bonheur de Vivre

Though its languid poses reference Titian, this was regarded as the most radical painting of its day.