Marcel Duchamp is one of the most peculiar artists within the artistic avant-garde of the last 20th century. Perhaps his most famous and recognizable creations are his ready made, however here we can see one of his most traditional works. Traditional in the sense that it is an oil painted canvas surface. So far the resemblance of it with traditional painting. Since the image contained in these materials is tremendously new for his time. And to corroborate it, the fact that the painter presented this work to be exhibited at the Salon des Independants in Paris in the year 1912, the date the painting was made, can be used to corroborate it. However, the canvas was rejected by the jury that made the selection of the works to be exhibited, and that among the members of the jury there were two brothers of Duchamp. However, it was not accepted and was criticized saying:
Nude descending a staircase by Duchamp
Also when the work was exhibited at the Armory Show in New York, it caused a great stupor among the public who saw it. However, today it is one of the great jewels that the Philadelphia Museum of Art in the United States.
In the work we see a body that is going down some stairs, a naked body that happens to be naked, although this is the least of it. WithoutHowever, the strangest thing is not that it shows a descending nude, as the aforementioned jury argued, but that it intends to present it in its three dimensions and at the same time capture movement. The work has much of the fragmentary style of Cubism but combined with the approaches of Futurism that sought to represent the energy of movement.
For his creation, Duchamp was inspired by the photography ofEadweard Muybridge, who made multiple reproductions of the same image separated from each other by only thousandths of a second. Somehow, Duchamp was able to transfer that idea of multiple exposure from photography to painting, to represent the movement of that naked body who is surprised while going down some stairs.
The truth is that Marcel Duchamp's work can be considered ahead of his time, and his artistic ideas are certainly complex in many of his creations, especially in works like this one in which he wants to represent the three dimensions and at the same time movement. His creative ideas contain arguments that are very advanced for the time in which he lived and really difficult to understand, even today.
As an example, one of his most bombastic and famous phrases serves. It was when he said: