Cubists wanted to challenge the idea of space and perception, and so they created images that present form in new ways. Showing all side of an object in one image or using mixed media and Pure abstraction to represent it. This challenged the art of the period, giving a new meaning to what reality was and what it is that we are actually seeing. Often the artworks presented their new vision in geometric shapes or forms that were given depth and texture. These forms are what inspired the name Cubism as sometimes the forms would resemble small cubes.
Pablo Ruiz Picasso was one of the most dominant young artists in the early twentieth century. He was undoubtedly an artistic genius founding Cubism, inventing collage and laying the path for symbolism and surrealism. Picasso became friends with another important artist for Cubism, called George Braque. It is said that the two were inseparable as they worked to develop Cubism and establish their shared vision. They wanted to present a new way of seeing and expressing themselves that also reflected the world around them as they saw it. They also used collage on their canvases which really defined them as cutting edge artists of the period.
They worked together through abstract and fragmented shapes and images. Often using objects or figures for inspiration, Picasso and Brague worked tirelessly to shape their movement. They expanded into sculpture and as they experimented Cubism developed in 2 stages; Analytic Cubism which focused on form and also shape whilst synthetic Cubism with focused on form mixed media and texture. Interestingly Picasso actually rejected the term cubist and especially the phases that critics had used to define it. He saw his work as one continuation, but the abrupt shifts in styles are clear to everyone else. From the blue period to surrealism, Picasso was an experimental artist that was a multiskilled genius. We will read more about him later let’s learn more about Cubism.
Find yourself a good art tutor here.
The Cubism art movement was lead by a true visionary. Photo Source: Unsplash
Pablo Picasso was born in Spain to a creative family, his father, who was a painter taught him when he saw that his son had talent. They nurtured his talent and paid for the best art school education they could afford as well as feeding his knowledge with visits to museums and galleries to see the works of the old masters.
He often travelled from Paris to Madrid and became familiar with other artists of his time such as Edvard Munch (Expressionist and symbolist painter) and Henri Toulouse-Lautrec ( post-impressionist painter). He began making sculpture and paintings which is said to be his blue period as he used a dominance of blue and grey in his palette.
After this in what is categorised as his rose period because he used a dominant red and pink palette. He focused on performers and circus figures. After this, his palette again darkens, and he began to make the path towards Cubism. It may be that Picasso’s palette indicated the mood of the time.
Top Artworks: The soup (1902/03), Portrait of Gertrude Stein (1905), Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907), Bull’s head (1942), Girl before a mirror (1932), Le Reve (1932), Chicago Picasso (1967), The Old Guitarist (1903)
Birthplace: Malaga, Spain
Lifeline: 1881 – 1973
Art Style: Cubism, Symbolism, Surrealism
Art Forms: Painter, printmaker and sculptor
George Brague was born in Argenteuil to a creative family, his father was a decorative painter and encouraged his talent from a young age. After a period of working with his father as a decorator, he moved to Paris to pursue his art full time. He met Henri Matisse (Fauvist, expressionist and post-impressionist painter) and liked his Fauvist style and painted like that for a while using bold colour. However shortly afterwards he saw Pablo Picassos work the painting ‘ Les Demoiselles d’Avigon’, he was so moved by it that they met and hit it off. Becoming close friends and together were the pioneers of Cubism.
Top Artworks: Houses of L’Estaque (1908), Clarinet and Bottle of Rum on the mantlepiece (1911)
Lifeline: 1882 – 1963
Art Style: Fauvism, Cubism
Art Forms: Painter, printmaker and sculptor
instead of giving you a single point of view it gave you multiple points of view. Photo Source: Unsplash
A first look at this large painting and you might not know where to look. It is a huge piece, which is the first thing that might strike you. Next, you will notice it is a monochrome piece, lacking colours others than black, white and grey.
Guernica is one of Picasso’s most famous pieces of art that tells a story about the Spanish civil war. In 1937 the Spanish nationalist government had their allies the Nazis bomb a small town called Guernica in northern Spain. The town was seen as the centre of the Republican resistance movement.
Picasso was in France at the time of the bombing and was being commissioned by the Spanish Republican government to do a mural for the Paris exhibition 1937. His original idea was scrapped so that he could address what had happened, in his most important political piece of painting.
From The Left To Right
When the work was completed, this piece was sent around the world, which most importantly brought attention and understanding to the Spanish civil war. It is a masterpiece in cubist – symbolism and a powerful anti-war message.
Date Painted: 1937
Size: 350cm x 780cm
Medium: Oil on canvas
Cubism was created to break old ideas about art. Photo Source: Unsplash
The Cubism art movement was lead by a true visionary and paved the path for other kinds of modern art such as futurism, constructivism, Art deco design etc. It spread quickly through Europe, and many important artists tried or incorporated cubism as they developed their own styles.
Whether you like it or not Cubism was important for breaking down the old foundations of traditional art. Changing the path of artistic movements and pushing art to places it had never been before.