Cubism was one of the most influential movements in modern art. Cubist artists introduced radically new approaches to space, form, and dimension.

The Cubist movement revolutionised painting in the 1900’s, and paved the way for abstract art and other forms of modern art.

About Cubism

Pablo Picasso of Spain and Georges Braque of France founded the cubism movement in 1907, and the art movement flourished in Europe and other parts of the world until 1914.

Cubist artists rejected traditional form and shape. A cubist artist broke down a subject matter into geometric designs and shapes, and then reorganised and overlapped the elements.

Commonplace objects such as tables and bottles were painted from various points of view, making them look distorted and fragmented. Others painted the human body from different points of view.

Some cubists included numbers or words in their pictures. Other artists created collages, integrating things like newspaper clippings or oil cloth into their paintings.

Cubism is drawn from Post-Impressionist Paul Cezanne’s work.

African tribal art and African sculpture were also a great influence to cubism. Cubism was also influenced by the new ideas about the nature of reality, as explored in Einstein’s Theory of Relativity.

Noteworthy Cubist Artists

As well as Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque, other significant cubist artists included Juan Gris, Robert Delaunay, Fernand Leger, Francis Picabia, Jean Metzinger, and Marcel Duchamp.

Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907) was the first important painting during the cubism period. Around the same time, Braque painted a series of landscapes that had strong geometric properties.

When art critic Louis Vauzcelles saw these paintings in a gallery in 1908, he used the word “cubes” to describe them, which became the name of the great movement.

Analytical Cubism & Synthetic Cubism

There are two kinds of cubist paintings – analytic cubism and synthetic cubism:

  • Analytic cubism attempted to break down objects and reassemble them into various forms; and
  • Synthetic cubism strived to synthesise imaginative elements into new figurative forms.

Other Art Movements

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