Spend some time reading through this information on Cubism. It is designed to give you a clearer overview of the movement and how it originated.

Deconstruction

Guiding Question- How do artists manipulate the real world to create abstract art?

Cubism a Fractured Reality 

YOU will

1.   Gain an understanding and awareness for the cubist style of artists such as Picasso, Braque, and Gris.

2.   Create a composition showing multiple views of various objects — fracturing the planes in the manner of the cubists

3.   Create a composition with a variety of textures – developing interest through contrast and possibly added collage elements.

 Cubism

Cubism was developed between about 1908 and 1912 in a collaboration between Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso. Their main influences are said to have been Tribal Art and the work of Paul Cezanne. The movement itself was not long-lived or widespread, but it began an immense creative explosion which resonated through all of 20th century art.

PAUL CÉZANNE (1839-1906), Post-Impressionist artist

‘Bibemus Quarry’, 1895 (oil on canvas)

The influence of Paul Cezanne

How the houses and roads are being distorted with artist’s concept of disregarding the physical laws of nature?

PAUL CÉZANNE (1839-1906), Post-Impressionist artist
‘Bibemus Quarry’, 1895 (oil on canvas)

What major form or shapes are left in the painting? Can we still identitify the objects?

LEFT: Pablo Picasso, 'Head of a Woman‘ 1907 (oil on canvas) RIGHT: Dan Mask from West Africa

LEFT: Pablo Picasso, ‘Head of a Woman‘ 1907 (oil on canvas) RIGHT: Dan Mask from West Africa

The Influence of African Art

The Cubists believed that the traditions of Western art had become exhausted and another remedy they applied to revitalize their work was to draw on the expressive energy of art from other cultures, especially African art.

Picasso- Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, Oil on Canvas, 1912

Picasso- Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, Oil on Canvas, 1912

 

 Untitled4Untitled5

In the early 20th century, artists began to question the inner purpose and meaning of art while science was questioning the inner meaning of nature. The key concept underlying Cubism is that the essence of an object can only be captured by showing it from multiple points of view.

Cubism had run its course by the end of World War I, but among the movements directly influenced by it were Futurism, Purism, Constructivism, and, to some degree, Expressionism.

 

Picasso Girl with a Mandolin

Picasso
Girl with a Mandolin

 What characteristics can you find in this painting?

Can you describe the elements of the work? What are they?

Analytical cubism: Mapping Reality

Analytical cubism occurred between 1910 to1912 and combines artistic savagery and the ‘legacy of reducing reality to basic geometrical shapes that are clearly connected with one another.’  It was used to break down the surface of objects being represented into basic, geometric shapes. Through this concept, a single image was formed from a multiplicity of small  ‘perceptions  grasped  by  the  body  in   movement.’  Essentially, the term analytical cubism has been coined because of its dissection of its subject matter. By creating a geometric structure of overlapping, shifting and tilted cubes, a work is created that seems to project out of the picture plane. Instead of a single-point linear perspective, the scene changes when viewed from various positions. Other features of analytical cubism include a simplified palette of colors (using earth tones mainly) and the density of the image residing at the center of the canvas. Overall, analytical cubism allowed the canvas to become a screen onto which images are projected, as it is transformed from a static record to a ‘dynamic  vision  akin  to  moving   pictures.’

Portrait of Picasso Juan Gris Oil on canvas, 1912

Portrait of Picasso
Juan Gris
Oil on canvas, 1912

Views from different angels to create a dynamic vision (face).

Colors are subtle and not colorful to let audience to focus on the broken shapes

Lacks elements of light, atmosphere, and space.

Gave depth and richness to painting.

Overlapping Fragments

Reality of objects in space, reality of flat painted surface.

Violin  and  Pitcher” Georges Braque Oil on canvas 1910

Violin and Pitcher” Georges Braque
Oil on canvas
1910

What kind of still life objects are there?

How could these objects be viewed and represented in another way?

Man with guitar George Braque Oil on canvas 1911

Man with guitar
George Braque
Oil on canvas
1911

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 Example of how we perceive a guitar with multiple viewpoints through use of photography

 What techniques have they used to show the concept of Cubism?

Untitled11

 Untitled12

 See how background and object planes intersect one another to create the shallow ambiguous space, one of cubism’s distinct characteristics.

How does overlapping and shifting picture planes allow them to work with each other?

 

Styles and Techniques

 Synthetic cubism: Vision  of  Modern  Urban  Life’

It occurred between 1912 to 1914 and was assembled out of separate parts of new forms. This phase integrated elements of collage to recreate  how  ‘modern  urban  street  life  appears   to  the  onlooker.’  This  involved  the  introduction   of different textures, surfaces and merged subject matter including newspapers, text, posters and music scores.

 

Techniques

 Synthetic cubism placed an emphasis on multiple layers and shapes, creating compositions that were simpler, brighter and bolder then analytical cubism, with less shading to create flatter space and fewer plane shifts. This was achieved by bringing together  familiar  ‘scraps’  and  unfamiliar  forms,  to produce a sense of urban life and allowing ‘low  art’  to  become  ‘high  art.’

Pablo Picasso Still life with Chair Caning

Pablo Picasso
Still life with Chair Caning

How did Picasso create interest through value contrast, various textures and collage elements?

 How did Picasso use colors to create a variety of light & shadows?

What collage elements have been used in this synthetic style cubist painting?

Pablo Picasso Glass and Bottle of Suze Collage 1913

Pablo Picasso
Glass and Bottle of
Suze
Collage
1913

What collage elements have been used in this synthetic style cubist painting?

 Newspaper, magazines and labels were used in this work

Georges Braque Still Life on a Table with 'Gillette’ Collage on canvas 1914

Georges Braque
Still Life on a Table with ‘Gillette’
Collage on canvas
1914

Pablo Picasso Three Musicians  1921

Pablo Picasso
Three Musicians
1921

  1. Wider use of color
  2. Appealing and easy to interpret
  3. Less intricate
  4. Added substances like sand to paint to make it appear thicker

 

Overall Characteristics

•  Reject that art should copy nature

•  Reject use of traditional techniques

•  Emphasize two-dimensionality (geometricity)

•  Reduce objects to geometric shapes and put these within a shallow space

•  Multiple/contrasting viewpoints

•  Overlapping planes

•  Exploration of the fourth dimension

 

Cubism consisted of  two stages

•  Analytical- Very abstract; mostly made up of overlapping planes and geometrical figures

•  Synthetic- tended to use new mediums, such as clips from newspaper on top of painted canvas; took away all three dimensional aspects left in Analytical Cubism

 

Analytic vs. Synthetic

 Analytical

•  Based on intellect but not emotional

•  Monochromatic color palette

•  Reduces object to basic geometric shapes

•  Linear construction

Synthetic

•   Less intricate

•   More color

•   More appealing

•   Collage

•   Objects less recognizable

•   Less shading

•   Added substance to paint (e.g. sand)

 

Conclusion

  • Picasso, Gris, and Braque are the three main Cubists
  • African art, Gauguin, and Cezanne are major influences
  • Simplified objects cut down into geometric shapes and shown from different angles and planes
  • Two major phases, analytic and synthetic.

 

 

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