The Exposure of Women in Art: Pablo Picasso and Sebastia Junyer-Vidal Arrive in Paris

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Pablo Picasso, Pablo Picasso and Sebastia Junyer-Vidal Arrive in Paris, 1901

The Exposure of Women in Art

by EMMA SHAPIRO

Victoria’s Secret model, Doutzen Kroes, received criticism from an instagram photo she posted of herself breastfeeding. She captioned this photo “‘Breasts are a scandal because they shatter the border between motherhood and sexuality’ - Iris Marion Young.”Mothers are ostracized in their daily lives because they occasionally publicly breastfeed. But as Kroes and Young question, is this a sexual act if they’re simply performing their motherly duties? People find offense in these public displays due to their inability to decipher a difference. While it’s fairly discernable that Picasso’s drawing, Pablo Picasso and Sebastia Junyer-Vidal Arrive in Paris, does not depict a mother breastfeeding a child, the question of sexual implications can still be applied. Must the presence of a nipple insist on the simultaneous display of a sexual action? 

This drawing does not look like the typical Picasso style, aside from the shape of the head of the man with the cigar and the abstraction and disproportionality of the bodies. In this drawing, Picasso depicts Sebastia Junyer-Vidal, a Catalan painter and businessman, at his arrival to Paris. Picasso and Junyer-Vidal met and became friends in Barcelona. Junyer-Vidal bought and distributed many of Picasso’s pieces, and Picasso used Junyer-Vidal as the subject in several of his works. The activity within the drawing is still questionable, especially after discovering Picasso and Junyer-Vidal’s professional relationship. It appears as though Picasso depicts himself as the man in the back smoking a cigar, and places Junyer-Vidal on a woman, reasonably assumed a prostitute. Picasso draws Junyer-Vidal’s body with the proportions of a small child rather than a grown man. He also depicts Junyer-Vidal lightly caressing the woman’s breast, with no clues as to why. The woman in this drawing holds Junyer-Vidal as if playing the role of a mother, but the way the man holds her breast invites sexual implications.

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