An art movement is an art style or tendency where a group of artists follows a specific common goal or philosophy. This movement is confined within a period of time, ranging from mere months to even decades. In this article, we will discuss the Cubism art movement, which was brought to us by such artists as Pablo Picasso and Paul Cezanne.
The Cubism art movement got its start in the early 20th century, an avant-garde movement that revolutionized European sculpture and painting. This was an art movement born in France, making its way across Europe as the years went on. Cubism is considered the first style of abstract art, as well as the most influential art movement of the 20th century.
Pablo Picasso was a pioneer in the Cubism art movement, as well as George Braque and other artists such as Juan Gris, and Fernand Leger. In fact, one of the most notable works (considered proto-Cubist) that got the movement started was “Les Desmoiselles d’Avignon” by Pablo Picasso. This was a painting that was considered shocking, the subject manner being nude prostitutes displaying their sexuality. Picasso rejected three-dimensionality, and instead presented a flattened picture broken up geometrically. It was considered immoral when it was finally presented to the public in 1916.
Juan Gris was quoted as saying about the Cubism movement that Cubism was moving around an object, seizing several appearances, and fusing this into a single image.
Analytic Cubism was the name of the first phase of the movement, which was coined by Juan Gris. In cubist artwork, objects are rearranged into an abstract form. The cubist artist would abandon perspective, and figures would not be modeled or painted in a realistic way. Objects were shown from various angles, and foreground would often blend into the background. Color palettes were limited and subdued. This phase of the movement lasted from 1907 to 1912. One work worth mentioning from this phase of the art movement is “Violin and Jug”, painted by George Braque in 1910.
The second phase was called Synthetic Cubism. This phase lasted until 1919. In this phase, the cubist would use non-art materials as abstract signs. One of these such materials was a newspaper. Pablo Picasso was the one who opened the door to this new and revitalized phase of the art movement, in particular with his piece “Still Life With Chair Caning,” completed in 1912.
Synthetic Cubism moved away from the subdued colors of the previous phase and gave birth to pieces that were done in a more decorative and colorful style. There was less geometric influence in this phase than the Analytic Cubism phase, and more pieces employed freehand techniques.
The Cubism movement was not limited to just painting, as sculptural pieces were seen as well. Cones, cylinders, spheres, and other geometric shapes heavily influenced these pieces, just like in the paintings done by artists inspired by this movement. The first true cubist sculpture has been considered Pablo Picasso’s “Woman’s Head”, which was completed between 1909 and 1910.
Some notable works from the Cubism art movement are “The Weeping Woman” by Pablo Picasso (1937), “Houses at Estaque” by George Braque (1908), “Glass of Beer and Playing Cards” by Juan Gris (1913), and “Woman With a Fan” by Jean Metzinger (1913).
In many countries, offshoots of cubism developed. In France, you had Abstract, Orphism, and later on, Purism. In other parts of the world, there were such ones as Futurism and Constructivism. There is no denying the cultural impact that this movement had, even if it was not the longest movement that art has ever seen. It was wide-ranging and was the start of an evolutionary system producing diversity.
Even a person with little to no interest in artistic expression knows some of the names associated with the Cubism movement. In fact, you would be hard pressed to come across anyone who had not heard of the name, Pablo Picasso. We should be thankful to the pioneers of this amazing movement and reflect on what caused them to create such influential pieces. Cubism has helped us to recognize the ability to see a single object, dissect and rearrange it, and turn it into something truly worthy of the imagination.