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Cubism movement overview with characteristics/artists

Cubism

Avant-garde artistic movement, especially pictorial. Cubism movement overview

Cubism was an avant-garde artistic movement, especially pictorial, that arose from the investigations that Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, and Fernand Léger initiated around 1907.

These artists argued that painting had privileged the representation of phenomena and narratives and had left aside the pure form of objects. Therefore, they sought to eliminate from the painting any element that aroused the imagination or generated emotions or feelings. They sought to objectively analyze the shape of the elements, eliminating references unrelated to the painting itself, such as the representation of space or volumes.

The name “cubism” comes from an article by the critic Louis Vauxcelles, who wrote that Braque reduced everything to geometric schemes and cubes. Cubism movement overview

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Characteristics of Cubism Cubism movement overview

The main characteristics of Cubism were the following:

  • Although Picasso and Braque’s research began in 1907, it was not until 1911 that the first cubist collective exhibition was held at the Salon des Indépendants in Paris.
  • It was a revolutionary movement since it eliminated from painting the classical representation of space, characterized by its three-dimensionality and its simultaneity, which had developed through the use of perspective since the Renaissance.
  • Cubism is considered the antecedent of the abstractionist currents.
  • For the cubists, the painting is an autonomous entity that explains itself and its understanding does not depend on objects external to its own logic. While, for example, a painting of a religious scene is related to the story that the painting represents, the cubist painting has no anchor in anything external to itself.
  • The Cubists conceived of traditional narrative space and time in painting as mental categories that could be manipulated by the artist:
    • They eliminated the conventional representation of space, replacing the idea of ​​depth with oblique lines and suggesting volume with curves . They reduced the volume of objects to overlapping flat shapes.
    • They painted the same object from different points of view, thus allowing the viewer to have an approximation to the different facets of an object at the same moment.
  • The most important influences of Cubist artists were the painting of the post-impressionist Paul Cézanne; Iberian sculpture; Henri Rousseau’s painting and African art, which had begun to circulate in Europe after the colonial expansion of the late 19th and early 20th centuries .
  • Two moments are usually established within the cubist movement:
    • Analytical Cubism: it would begin at the end of 1909. The object is analyzed, conceptually disassembled in all its facets and all its parts are reflected as flat surfaces. Monochrome predominates at this stage.
    • Synthetic Cubism: since 1911. The object is synthesized through the creative act of the artist, who filters reality and represents only those parts that interest him. In this period objects appear attached to the plane that refer to what is represented.
  • Since they were only interested in shapes, color took a backseat, therefore they used neutral tones such as grays, ocher, muted greens, blacks. However, as Cubism involved personal research by artists, some began to use colors at different times.
  • They did not give importance to the issues. They privileged common forms easily recognizable by the viewer. They represented still lifes, everyday objects (plates, fruits, bottles) arranged on a table, simple furniture, etc. Cubism movement overview
  • In some works of Synthetic Cubism, they introduced typographies and strange elements to the canvas such as pieces of newspapers and other materials, thus giving rise to the beginning of collage as a plastic technique.
  • Cubism had great influence on other artistic movements. The Cubist language was used by other avant-gardes, such as Futurism and some Expressionists . On the other hand, his denial of naturalism in art was the starting point of constructivism and other movements linked to abstraction.

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Main artists of cubism

Some of the most important artists of Cubism were:

  • Pablo Ruiz Picasso (1881-1973) : Spanish artist who initiated the movement.
  • George Braque (1882-1963) : French painter who was the initiator of the movement.
  • Juan Gris (1887-1927) : Spanish painter.
  • Fernand Léger (1881-1955) : French painter who participated in Cubism and later drifted towards other types of forms.
  • Robert Delaunay (1885-1941) : French painter. Cubism movement overview

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