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Marcel Duchamp's Impact on Art History

By Edited Dec 6, 2016 0 0

Marcel Duchamp, an artistic revolutionary, remains one of the most prominent figures of Western art in history. His works and public performances influenced not only Surrealist and Dadaist thoughts, but also numerous artistic movements that were only to come. Duchamp gave remarkable inspirations to several other prominent artists such as Andre Breton, Rene Magritte, and Salvador Dali. Within just several years of his artistic activity, Duchamp's work was already widely recognized and acclaimed both in Europe and North America. Till the present day, Marcel Duchamp remains one of the fathers of modern graphic design, a distinguished contributor into the development and conceptual variety of motion pictures, and a pioneer of what is now known as postmodernism.


Duchamp was a versatile artist whose art can't be easily classified. He experimented with several styles, including fauvism and cubism. His early works center on imitating as well as reinterpreting works of several distinguished symbolists. They also come to echo the post-Impressionist preoccupation with detail and emotion - his works reflect on the chaotic nature of meaning, emotional excess, and multiplicity of imageries.


During his first years as an artist, Duchamp was related to several writers and poets with whom he organized discussion groups. As a result, he soon published numerous cartoons which displayed his interest in words, puns, and word-games. The play between the meaning of words and the symbolism of graphic representations reflected the primary interest of all modernist artists – the accuracy of meaning, the possibility to define it, and the conditions which determine it. Many art historians quote Duchamp not only as the pioneer of modernism but, even more frequently, as the artistic father of all art endeavors and developments in the 20th century.


His first famous painting was "Nude Descending a Staircase No.2" which stirred some controversy mostly due to the use of nude body parts. It draws largely from the tradition of cubism showing fragmented and randomly assembled bodies. Its somewhat dismorphic appearance illustrated within the framework of a dynamic representation is currently associated with the ensuing development of futuristic motion pictures. It was the first painting to win Duchamp international fame.


Born to a family with strong artistic traditions, Duchamp enjoyed many years of both creative and intellectual growth. His career unfolded uninterruptedly and, as years went by, it was shaped by other interests and projects connected with humanities and visual arts. As a consequence, he became well-known for his art achievements and innovations fairly quickly; he managed to develop unique style and conceptual background to all his works on a highly individualized basis.

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