What is Cubism? Where did Cubism arise? What were the main works and artists?

O que é o cubismo? Onde surgiu o cubismo? Quais foram as principais obras e artistas?

What is Cubism? Where did Cubism arise?
Cubism was an avant-garde movement of the early 20th century, which was characterized by the abandonment of the classical perspective and the fragmentation of shapes when representing objects in three-dimensional form on a two-dimensional surface. The origins of this movement, conceived by only two artists, is usually identified with the creation of the famous painting by Demoiselles d'Avignon by Pablo Picasso , however it was from the works of Paul Cézanne that it emerged. In 1907, Pablo Picasso and George Braque attended a retrospective of Cézanne's work, in which his paintings gave them a totally new perspective, especially with regard to the treatment of space and form. Thus, Pablo Picasso based himself on the idea that Paul Cézanne conceived about how nature should be portrayed: by cylinder, sphere and cone. The Demoiselles d'Avignon painting identifies this idea and also the fascination that the artists of that time had about African art, or as it was called “primitive” art at the time. It was Henri Matisse who exposed Pablo Picasso to the African masks that fascinated the young painter and had a great impact on his creations. In particular, in Demoiselles d'Avignon the female figures have African masks and we later see the treatment of faces and figures with these characteristics in the following years.


Les demoiselles d'avignon Les Demoiselles d'Avignon by Pablo Picasso , 1907

Who were the main painters of Cubism?
Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque created this artistic movement when they were still young painters, practically unknown at the time. At this point the concept of the fourth dimension - the notion that all objects move in space and time - was introduced as a novelty in science and physics but also in the art world due to the Cubists. His works with geometric figures represented the four dimensions: movement, height, length and width. Cubism also extended to other areas such as sculpture and literature with artists such as Lipchitz, Archipemko or Duchamp-Villon. In his works we can find the same fragmented geometric figures that we see in painting, as they followed the same precepts and ideas. In the 1910s, the French poet Guillaume Appollinaire created the "calligrams", graphic layouts with poems that formed a drawing. Currently, there is still debate about the origin of the movement's name - whether it was Henri Matisse or the art critic Louis Vauxcelles who coined the term. In any case, Cubism shaped art history and influenced other great artists later on.


Pablo Picasso | P55 Magazine | P55.ART Woman in the Mirror by Pablo Picasso , 1932


What are the three phases of cubism?
Cubism developed in three phases: first , Cezannian Cubism, followed by Analytical Cubism, and finally, Synthetic Cubism. Each phase had its own characteristics, ending up adding new materials to the works in order to give them an element of depth and dimension. First, Cezannian Cubism was influenced by the painter Paul Cézanne, after both artists Pablo Picasso and George Braque saw a retrospective exhibition on the French painter. Analytical Cubism was based on the observation of objects in order to represent them from different points of view. In Synthetic Cubism there was the introduction of new elements in the compositions, thus initiating the Cubist collage. For example, George Braque began pasting newspapers onto canvas, starting the exploration of papier-colle in this movement.


5 Main Cubist Works and Artists

Pablo Picasso | P55 Magazine | P55.ART
Guernica by Pablo Picasso , 1937


George Braque | P55 Magazine | P55.ART Man with Guitar by George Braque, 1911-12


Albert Gleizes | P55 Magazine | P55.ART Landscape by Albert Gleizes, 1911


Tarsila do Amaral | P55 Magazine | P55.ART The Caipirinha of Tarsila do Amaral, 1923


Juan Gris | P55 Magazine | P55.ART Portrait of Picasso by Juan Gris, 1912


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