Violin and Guitar
Violin and Guitar is a magisterial statement that marked 1913 as the beginning of Gris's mature art. Here he combines the inherent dignity and poetic quality of the objects with an exploration of their three-dimensional aspects. An essentially cruciform composition underlies the whole and lends a hierarchical air; however, as with his use of the golden section, Gris was never absolutely precise in making his measurements fit a predetermined scheme. The painting is built on a series of pictorial rhymes among the forms of the guitar, violin, and glass. Gris's predilection for rhymes, or rhythms based on visual similarities, has been compared to the techniques of the poets who were so much a part of his milieu, but it can also be found in the art of his colleagues. More fundamentally poetic is the spirited flight of artistic manipulation that occurs in the central section, juxtaposed with the conventional world symbolized by the wood molding, wallpaper, and floorboards of a surrounding room. These background details establish a representational setting as well as a pictorial plane of possibilities. This richly detailed room should be seen as having fantastic associations for Gris since he reportedly lived in utter squalor.
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