Les Demoiselles d’Avignon has often been regarded as the precursor to Cubism, identified as a Proto-Cubist painting. This is not just any “proto” type of Cubist artwork, but a revolutionary depiction of art that signified the new Modern era.
When Cézanne’s The Large Bathers was exhibited in 1907 as part of an honorary exhibition for the artist, this influenced Picasso’s style. He was also inspired after viewing Matisse's Bonheur de Vivre (1905 - 1906).
It depicts several prostitutes who were reportedly from a brothel in Barcelona in Spain on a street named Carrer d’Avinyó. Apparently, Picasso originally titled the painting Le Bordel d’Avignon (The Brothel of Avignon).
Picasso presents us with five nude women, four are standing and one is sitting. The women are all looking directly at us, the viewers. This was undoubtedly also directed at the assumed client, which would have been a male visiting the brothel.
It is almost as if perspective and form go together here in Picasso’s work. His form informs the perspective, but it also adds to the unique quality of the painting and what makes so many believe this as a precursor to Cubism.