The Cubism Art Movement, What You Need to Know

Cubism Art Movement

Cubism was a truly revolutionary form of art that emerged in the early 20th century. It was shocking and extremely daring as the artists believed that western art had run its course, so the artists were challenging the conventional forms of art. It was truly the start of the coming of the modern age of art.

Cubism is an early 20th Century avant-garde art movement that helped to revolutionize European painting and sculpture. It also helped to inspire related movements in music, literature, and architecture. There are two periods of Cubism called Analytical and Synthetic. Also, there is the Orphism Cubism, which is an offshoot of Cubism.

Pablo Picasso
Seated Nude, Femme Nue Assise, by Pablo Picasso (1909)

The Start of the Cubism Art Movement

Pablo Picasso and George Brague started the Cubism art movement and were later joined by Jean Metzinger, Albert Gleizes, Robert Delaunay, Henri Le Fauconnier, Juan Gris, and Fernand Leger. The movement was inspired by the three-dimensional form of some of the later work of Paul Cezanne.

Cubism, like many new art forms, started with the desire to break from the past and to change the meaning of art. If you had to pick one person who started the cubist movement and influenced it the most, it would be Pablo Picasso.

Definition of Cubism Art

The name of cubism came from the French art critic Louis Vauxcelles who once coined the termed Cubism after he saw a landscape painting that George Braque painted in 1908. Louis Vauxcelle called the new art form Cubism.

In Cubism artwork, the objects are analyzed, broken up, and then reassembled in an abstract form. Instead of just depicting an object from a single viewpoint, it shows the art form or object from multiple points of view to show the object in a greater or fuller content.

The definition of Cubism is defined as:

“…a style of painting and sculpture developed in the early 20th century, characterized chiefly by an emphasis on formal structure, the reduction of natural forms to their geometrical equivalents, and the organization of the planes of a represented object independently of representational requirements.”

Dictionary.com

Cubism marked a significant turning point in the evolution of modern art. It is credited to having paved the way for pure abstract art and the modern art movement that continues to be an influential art today.

George Braque
Still Life With Bottles and Glass, by George Brague (1912)

Here are some elements of Cubism Art:

  • Rejected that art should copy nature – Cubism rejected the concept that the artist should copy nature or only show the traditional techniques or perspective of their world with their art and painting.
  • Reduced objects to their fractured form – Cubism reduced and fractured the objects they were painting into geometric forms and then would realign them into a shallow and almost relief-like space.
  • Uses multiple vantage points – The cubist artist would show the object from various or contrasting vantage points and not just one vantage point.
  • Changes how the world was seen through art – Through their art, the cubists challenged and changed how we see the world and how the artists saw the world.
  • Several different types of cubism art evolved – Several kinds of cubism art also evolved as analytical cubism, synthetic cubism, and orphic cubism,

Analytical and Synthetic Cubism

There are two major periods of this cubism, which are defined as analytical and synthetic cubism. Each of them is similar but also has some unique differences.

Analytical Cubism

The analytical cubism art movement development is from 1910 to 1912. During this period, Picasso and Brague painted similar paintings and styles that are almost indistinguishable.

Here is some information on the analytical cubism:

  • Breaking down the form – Both artists show the breaking down or analyze the form they are painting.
  • Angle and straight lines – Both of the artists favor using the right-angle and a straight-line construction.
  • Sculptural effect – Many of their paintings almost appear like sculptures in nature.
  • Monochromatic color scale – They simplified their color schemes and used a monochromatic color scaled, favoring colors like color hues of tans, brown, gray, cream, green or blue.
  • The form was most important – They used these monochromatic colors as they did not want to distract from their primary objective, which was the structure of the form they were painting.
  • Multiple views of the object – They would use the monochromatic scale to show more complex and multiple views of the painting’s object. The objects also had a dimensional feel and looked like they were coming out of the canvas.
  • Size of forms on the canvas – Normally, the forms they were painting would be more dense and compact at the center of the canvas and then grown larger and defuse out as it moved towards the canvas’s edges.
  • Use of Motifs – They frequently used motifs like letters, musical instruments, bottles, pitchers, glasses, newspapers, the human face, and human body form.
George Braque
Bottles and Fishes, by George Braque (1910-1912)

Synthetic Cubism

Synthetic cubism is the period after 1912 and after. It builds upon the analytical cubism movement but has some specific differences.

Here is some information on the synthetic phase of cubism:

  • Emphasis combination or synthesis – In Synthetic Cubism, the artworks emphasize the combination of forms in the picture.
  • Color – Color now assumes a stronger role in the paintings. They are not all monochromatic.
  • Shapes – The shapes remain fragmented and flat and larger and more decorative than the analytical phase.
  • Contrasting surfaces – The contrasting surfaces may be smooth and rough surfaces that contrast with one another.
  • Collages Used – There can also be a placement of foreign materials such as parts of newspapers or tobacco wrappers pasted on the canvas in combination with the painted areas in the technique or a kind of collage. This would help them to emphasize the differences in textures further and, at the same time, force the viewer to ask, “what is real and what is an illusion?”
Sonia Delaunay
Prismes Electriques, by Sonia Delaunay (1914)

Off Shoots of Cubism Art – Orphism Cubism

Orphism Cubism Art was broken off of cubism, but the Orphism cubism embraced bright colors with a difference. The Orphism Cubism arranged and painted color harmonies after a kind of musical scales or chorred models. The name Orphism was coined after the Greek god Orpheus who was known for his musical talents.

Orphism Cubism had an emphasis on colors. Whereas Pablo Picasso and George Braque had a monochromatic scale to their paintings, Orphism Cubism art used vibrant and vivid colors. Some important artists of Orphism Cubism art are Robert Delaunay, Sonia Delaunay, Vladimir Baranoff-Rossine, Frantisek Kupka, and Franz Marc,

Cubism art was a movement that has influenced a lot of the art that we see today. It was a change from what the impressionist was doing, and it led the way for many other kinds of art, such as abstract and modern art.

The cubism art movement also influenced sculpture, architect, music, and literature of its day. That is why it is considered one of the most important artistic developments of the 20th Century.

Hommage to Bleriot
Hommage to Bleriot, by Robert Delaunay (1914)

Related Questions

What made Pablo Picasso unique?

Pablo Picasso is considered to be one of the most influential artists of the 20th Century. He literally changed the direction and course of art. He became one of the most talked-about artists of the 20th Century. He drew, painted, and made sculptures in a way that had never been seen before. He started the Cubist art movement.

Who invented collage?

Collage was invented to be used in art by Pablo Picasso and George Braque when they started to use collage in their paintings. This, of course, would have been something extremely unique for this time period but has now become an important element in a lot of modern art.

Anita Louise Hummel

Hi, I am Anita Louise Hummel. I am an artist and a blogger. I paint mainly oil paints. I love to paint women, animals (mainly dogs and cats), and abstracts. I use a lot of gold and silver leaf in my paintings. I also love to blog about anything to do with art, business, Procreate, and all the wonderful artists that inspire me.

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