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Art & Intention

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Submitted By nihongo1
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Marcel Duchamp’s painting the Nude Descending a Staircase, and Michelangelo’s David were pieces of art that were met with heavy criticism in different ways. Duchamp, more so for his painting was deemed unrealistic and when initially viewed the audience found it insulting. Michelangelo’s statue David on the other hand received criticism due to political views and societal views about nudity.
The objections seen and posed by audiences in the Duchamp painting was in that it didn’t make sense, there wasn’t a natural flow to the piece. People were used to seeing images reflective of life that were easy to understand and this was not the case. The painting was quite abstract and challenging for people to understand. Duchamp I believe took an innovative approach towards his piece because he wanted to challenge his audience in making them think outside the box. The painting clearly shows he was interested in the human body by painting it in abstract form rather than in true form, the body in motion is visually deceptive. Another reason for his approach was his interest in the works of photographic art; in fact, Nude Descending a Staircase is reflective of artist such as Eadweard Muybridge, Woman Walking Downstairs,(
Michelangelo’s David an iconic ode to the human body was created in 1504, (, and the figure representative of strength before a battle is larger than life. The religious connotation of the piece is part of Christianity and the story of David and Goliath. The objections faced towards the sculpture were first its nudity and secondly the political symbolism it represented to those in Florence. David’s private parts were covered at one time, eventually the coverage was removed and that is what we see today.
In conclusion I do think many can appreciate both pieces of art, Duchamp’s piece did not hold my attention. After reading about the artist and his inspiration, I still had a far- fetched appreciation for his work. The piece reminded me of soldiers ready to battle, and I now associate the piece with war, which I find barbaric. Michelangelo’s David is simply iconic, and visually pleasant and stimulating. There is a clear story behind the statue, that is heroic and one can understand.


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