Narrator: In the 1924 painting Odol, Stuart Davis pictured a bottle of…mouthwash? Why do you think he’d want to do that? 

For one thing, the bottle is a pretty cool shape, with its mouth spouting off to the side. And Davis liked it so much he showed it twice in this painting—once from the front, and once in the mirror. Notice the way the image in the mirror is a little flatter, and a bit out of focus. Maybe the fact that this object was so simple helped Davis examine it really closely. 

Davis was often playful in his paintings. Maybe he just liked the word “Odol,” or the slogan on the front of the bottle—“it purifies.” Traditionally, painters had focused on grand, important subjects. Many modern artists—like Davis—felt liberated by the idea that not everything had to be such a big deal. It could be interesting to focus on small, everyday objects. If you were going to make a picture of something from your own house, what would you choose?


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