Essay on 'Seated Bather' by Pablo Picasso

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Krauss’s “In the Name of Picasso” starts by presenting Picasso’s Seated Bather, 1930, and Picasso’s Bather with Beach Ball, 1932. The two pieces share a similar style of painting, however, they express different moods. Picasso’s attraction to surrealism played a role in his artwork, in that both of his paintings resemble sculptural experiences of their separate forms. The change in the feeling of Picasso’s art, disregarding his cubist style, was based on his biography and the intimate relationships that he experienced at different ages. Various scholars have studied this impact on Picasso’s work, including his Demoiselles d’Avignon, which resembled sexuality. Furthermore, John Richardson concluded five private forces drive Picasso’s artwork. Krauss mentioned that there is a connection between the name of an artwork and the intended role behind it. Aristotle described how the pleasure of looking at pictures comes from learning, inferring, and discovering the reasons behind these objects. For example, the concept of “identification” revealed that Picasso intended to depict his friend Casagemas in La Vie, in 1904. Krauss further provides multiple arguments about Picasso’s works, and she disagrees with biographical interpretation or “aesthetics of extension” or “art history. Krauss’s argument was that biographical art history reduces interpretation to personal information about the artist, however, I believe that art history carries many factors including aesthetics, intentions, components, as well as the autobiography of the artists.

I agree with Krauss that although Picasso's Seated Bather, 1930, and Bather with Beach Ball, 1932 have a similar style, they both have opposite moods. The seated Bather looks duller and the gender details are very clear, however, the Bather with a Beach Ball looks much more fun and bright. Through the course of art criticism, I have studied how the biography of the artist affects the art and may explain the unpredicted psychological features. Krauss believed that art is not as strong when it is painted based on the artist’s autobiography and the viewer may not know what the art’s meaning is about. For instance, when looking into a greater meaning behind the art, one tends not to focus on the paint details or style but rather on the story behind it. Krauss believes that this would make the viewer not focused on the significance of the artwork and the details. For example, La Vie had a reflection of his personal life; it depicted a friend who committed suicide.

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I agree with some of Krauss’s thoughts and disagree with others. She believes that Picasso’s work is not only merely autobiographical, and I believe that some of Picasso’s artwork is certainly autobiographical. For example, Demoiselles d’Avignon was a painting of “his private female demons”. This painting showed a lot of his private life in addition to what was going on in the world around him. In my opinion, when looking into a specific artwork, biography should not be the most important thing, but it should not be ignored altogether.  

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