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Art Schools> Art Directory> Fine Artists> Art History> Cubism

Chronological list of Art Movements/Periods on the All About Art Schools directory. Find information about Art Movements including Cubism, Fauvism, Abstract Expressionism, Mannerism and more.

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Cubism was one of the most influential and revolutionary visual art styles of the early twentieth century. It was created by Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881–1973) and Georges Braque (French, 1882–1963) in Paris between 1907 and 1914. The French art critic Louis Vauxcelles coined the term Cubism after seeing the landscapes Braque had painted in 1908 at L'Estaque in emulation of Cézanne. Vauxcelles called the geometric forms in the highly abstracted works "cubes." Other influences on early Cubism have been linked to Primitivism and non-Western sources. The stylization and distortion of Picasso's ground-breaking Les Demoiselles d'Avignon (Museum of Modern Art, New York), painted in 1907, came from African art. Picasso had first seen African art when, in May or June 1907, he visited the ethnographic museum in the Palais du Trocadéro in Paris. (source:
Though it has also been theorised that Picasso was influenced by the faces of prostitutes affected by syphillus.
Cubism is essentially the fragmenting of three-dimensional forms into flat areas of pattern and color, overlapping and intertwining so that shapes and parts of the human anatomy are seen from the front and back at the same time. The movement was conceived as 'a new way of representing the world' and was influenced by new theories on the nature of reality, such as Einstein's Theory of Relativity'.
Cubism is divided into two phases; the Analytic phase (1907 - 12), and the Synthetic phase (1931-1920s). The initial phases attempted to show how the mind, not the eye, perceives objects. The subject in these works were often recognisable. The works then became more abstracted with the subject been dissembled, 'analyzed' and reassembled reducing the images to overlapping planes, usually in shades of brown, gray and black.In this phase, Picasso and Braque frequently combined representational motifs with letters. Their favorite motifs were still lifes with musical instruments, bottles, pitchers, glasses, newspapers, playing cards, and the human face and figure.
The Synthetic phase featured works that were composed of fewer and simpler forms in brighter colours.They aimed to capture the essence of its subject rather than simply playing with its surfaces. They combined different textures, surfaces, collage elements, papier collé and a large variety of merged subject matter. Large pieces of neutral or colored paper were cut out to allude to a particular object. It was the beginning of collage materials being introduced as an important ingredient of fine art work.
Though primarily associated with painting, Cubism also influenced the development of Architecture and Sculpture.

Other Artists who adopted Cubism:
Fernand Léger
Robert and Sonia Delaunay,
Juan Gris
Roger de La Fresnaye
Marcel Duchamp,
Albert Gleizes,
Jean Metzinger
Diego Rivera
The major Cubist sculptors were
Alexander Archipenko,
Raymond Duchamp-Villon, and
Jacques Lipchitz.

See also

America & Cubism
Australia & Cubism
Canada & Cubism
UK & Cubism

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