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Cubism Breaks Cover: Picasso and "Parade" in 1917

Read, Peter (2017) Cubism Breaks Cover: Picasso and "Parade" in 1917. In: Cooper, Harry, ed. The Cubism Seminars. CASVA Seminar Papers . Yale University Press, Washington D.C., pp. 252-285. ISBN 978-0-300-22618-8. (Access to this publication is currently restricted. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:61962)

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This chapter explores all aspects of "Parade", a ballet conceived and written by Jean Cocteau for Sergei Diaghilev's Russian ballet, which premièred in Paris on 18th May 1917. At Cocteau's request, Picasso agreed to design set and costumes for the ballet and completed the commission by also designing and painting a drop curtain. The chapter explores ways in which Picasso assimilated essential aspects of Cocteau’s scenario, before seizing control of the production, then reinforcing its visual impact and dialectical energy by developing a particularly charismatic new manifestation of cubism, both kinetic and theatrical. His contribution to "Parade" embodies an artistic vision that combines historical awareness with creative renewal, disrupting and opposing intellectual routine and regimentation, and his manipulation of contrasting visual styles asserts a position of intractable artistic freedom. The chapter also shows how aspects of cubism contagiously affected Massine’s choreography and Satie’s music for the ballet. It suggests that the violent hostility displayed in some press coverage (and surprisingly negative reception of the ballet by some more recent critics and historians) bears witness to Parade’s transgressive power and to the alarm of artists and commentators who feared that their authority and status, based on respect for established values and aesthetic commitments, were being subverted and ridiculed.

Item Type: Book section
Uncontrolled keywords: Cubism, dance, Russian ballet, cinema, Cocteau, Picasso, Satie, Massine
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation. Leisure > Dance
N Visual Arts > N Visual arts (General). For photography, see TR
P Language and Literature
P Language and Literature > PB Modern Languages
Divisions: Faculties > Humanities > School of European Culture and Languages > French
Depositing User: Peter Read
Date Deposited: 06 Jun 2017 13:00 UTC
Last Modified: 22 Jan 2020 13:22 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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