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Durham e-Theses
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Guitars with Many Strings: The Meanings of Music in Picassoʼs Early Work 1900-1914

KACZMAREK, MICHELLE,ANIA (2014) Guitars with Many Strings: The Meanings of Music in Picassoʼs Early Work 1900-1914. Masters thesis, Durham University.



This thesis sets out to explore the use of musical references in Picassoʼs art.
Noting that Picasso had no explicit connections to musical practice himself,
the study examines the ways in which music appears in the artistʼs work and
critically assesses explanations for its dominance and consistency as a
subject in Cubist art. The study focuses on Picassoʼs Cubist output between
the years 1900 and 1914 but revolves around a central series of six papiers
collés from the second half of 1912, into which Picasso incorporates
fragments of sheet music. The relevance of the sheet music used is
therefore taken up as a key line of investigation, as is the symbolism of the
guitar, which dominates the subject matter of these works. Chapter One
examines the use of musical imagery throughout art history. The role in art of
the guitarʼs predecessors, particularly the lute, provide a solid foundation of
symbolism which, it will be argued, Picasso draws upon through his use of
the guitar. Chapter Two develops this argument with regards to gender,
examining the idea that the guitar is conflated with the image of the woman
in Picassoʼs work. An alternative argument is explored, pursuing the guitarʼs
links with Spain to argue that it functions as a symbol of national identity for
Picasso, before the focus moves to the sheet music papiers collés. A closer
examination of the sheet music results in an exploration of Picassoʼs
connections to the Parisian cabaret scene. In the final chapter the study will
conclude by presenting the view that, despite their status as revolutionary
experiments in formal innovation, the series of six papiers collés can in fact
be interpreted as works that express nostalgia and vanitas, representing
Picassoʼs paradoxical relationship with tradition.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Arts
Keywords:art history; Picasso; papiers collés; cabaret; music; guitar
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Education, School of
Thesis Date:2014
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:20 Oct 2014 12:02

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