Nude Descending a Staircase [No.2] /Nu descendant un Escalier. No.2. / Oil on canvas 147.5 x 89 cm. Painted in 1912 by Marcel Duchamp. Inspired by the photographic motion studies of Eadweard Muybridge
“The work, an oil painting on canvas with dimensions of 147 cm × 89.2 cm (57.9 in × 35.1 \ in) in portrait, seemingly depicts a figure demonstrating an abstract movement in its ochres and browns. The discernable “body parts” of the figure are composed of nested, conical and cylindrical abstract elements, assembled together in such a way as to suggest rhythm and convey the movement of the figure merging into itself. Dark outlines limit the contours of the body while serving as motion lines that emphasize the dynamics of the moving figure, while the accented arcs of the dotted lines seem to suggest a thrusting pelvic motion. The movement seems to be rotated counter-clockwise from the upper left to the lower right corner to move, where the gradient of the apparently frozen sequence corresponding to the bottom right to top left dark, respectively, becomes more transparent, the fading of which is apparently intended to simulate the “older” section. At the edges of the picture, the steps which are indicated in darker colors. The middle of the image is an amalgam of light and dark, that becomes more piqued as one approaches the edges. The overall warm, monochrome bright palette of the painting ranges from yellow ocher, to dark, almost black tones. The colors are translucent applied. At the bottom left of the painting Duchamp placed as title, “NU DESCENDANT UN ESCALIER” in block letters, which may or may not be related to the work, as the question of whether the figure represents a human body remains open; the figure viewers infer gives little clue to its sex, age, individuality or character” (read more HERE)
Eliot Elisofon: Marcel Duchamp descending a staircase / New York / LIFE Magazine 1952
Photographed by Life Magazine in 1952 Artist Marcel Duchamp walking down a flight of stairs in a multiple exposure image reminiscent of his famous painting “Nude Descending a Staircase”.