Thursday, August 7, 2008


Cubism was a new way of representing reality in art invented by Picasso and Braque from1907–8. A third core Cubist was Juan Gris.

The generally agreed beginning of Cubism was Picasso's celebrated Demoiselles D'Avignon of 1907. The name seems to have derived from the comment of the critic Louis Vauxcelles that some of Braque's paintings exhibited in Paris in 1908 showed everything reduced to 'geometric outlines, to cubes'. Cubism was partly influenced by the late work of Cézanne in which he can be seen to be painting things from slightly different points of view.

Picasso was also influenced by African tribal masks which are highly stylised, or non-naturalistic, but nevertheless present a vivid human image. In their Cubist paintings Braque and Picasso began to bring different views of the object together on the picture surface. 'A head', said Picasso, 'is a matter of eyes, nose, mouth, which can be distributed in any way you like. The head remains a head.' I

n practice however, the object became increasingly fragmented and the paintings became increasingly abstract. They countered this by incorporating words, and then real elements, such as newspapers, to represent themselves. This was Cubist collage, soon extended into three dimensions in Cubist constructions. This was the start of one of the most important ideas in modern art, that you can use real things directly in art.

Cubism was the starting point for much abstract art including Constructivism and Neo-Plasticism. It also however, opened up almost infinite new possibilities for the treatment of reality in art.

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