Les Disques by Fernand Léger
This 1913 painting shows Léger reacting to early Cubism. George Braque and Pablo Picasso employed fragmentation to depict three-dimensional space in a two-dimensional painting. Léger expanded upon the idea of fragmentation to create compositions divided by dynamic forces and static counter-forces, and Léger uses vibrant color unlike the earth-toned early Cubist paintings.
Léger idealized the relationship between man and machine. The anonymous figures in Les Disques stand for mechanical workers, engineers, and designers thriving in a modern world of machines. Léger gave these workers the name Homo faber, or Man the Maker. Homo faber became a protagonist in the mechanistic universe of Léger’s imagination. He saw mankind’s dramatic struggle to master machinery as an affirmation of the human will.