response. But their intense colors, completely unrelated to what we see in nature, did evoke such a
response from critics who called them fauves, French for “wild beasts.” The best-known of these painters
is Henri Matisse, whose The Joy of Life is an excellent example of the style. Here the simplified forms of
nude women and men are defined by free, lyrical lines and set against a brilliant yellow, orange, and
green background. The painting seems to depict an Arcadian scene (a shepherd tends his flock at the
right), and the freedom of the people in the painting is expressed by the free choice of colors.
Henri Matisse, The Joy of Life, 1905
Pablo Picasso was one of the most prolific artists of all time and one capable of working in several styles
simultaneously. By the time he was twenty-five years old, Picasso had already passed through at least three
different stylistic periods: academic, the expressive Blue Period, and the more pensive Rose Period. Around
1906, he became interested in African art, and he also saw an exhibit of Cézanne’s work. The product of
these diverse influences was Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, painted in 1907, which marks the first step in the
development of Cubism and a truly groundbreaking moment in the history of art.
The painting shows five prostitutes (the title refers to a well-known street in the brothel district of
Barcelona). Although their poses are explicitly sexual, there is nothing sensuous about the way the
prostitutes are painted. They appear to be composed of shattered glass, with strange masks on the two