Kubism: The Movement

Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque: two well known artists that you may have heard of. Artists of the day specialized in certain styles, as all experts or even hobbyists do. Picasso’s art has been seen by many and is known for its peculiar shapes and minimalistic color choices. The style these artists focused in was named Kubism.

Kubism was an art movement of the early 19oos. It began in 1907 and continued into the 192os until its early obvious departure in 1922. As previously mentioned, two artists began this movement. In 1907, Picasso returned to Paris with his painting “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon”. This painting contains distorted figures and fragmented planes, as well as a subdued colour palette.

These created hints to the later key characteristics of Kubism. The other artist -Braque- created a series of landscape paintings in 1908.

However, these landscapes were made of shaded cubes and other such shapes as representations of the mountains and trees. A French art critic (Louis Vauxcelles) then described Braque’s series as “bizarreries cubiques”, which led to the movement’s name. Kubism includes two main subsections: Analytic Kubism and Synthetic Kubism.

Analytic Kubism, which is the style under which the art of Picasso and Braque worked, is defined by its need of observation of objects to see the context of the image. This genre ran from 1908 to 1912 as seen by experts. Picasso and Braque held special shapes and characteristics that would represent the subject of the art piece. Analytic Kubism art is made of mostly of overlapping planes as well as structured dissection of an image. The colour palette is simplified to where many colors are earth tones or are similar in shade to the others, as to not distract the viewer. The art must then be “analyzed” to see the subject through these characteristics.

Synthetic Kubism became an offset of Analytic Kubism by Picasso and Braque, which later became popularized by the group nicknamed the “Salon Kubists”. This can sometimes be seen as early versions of “Pop Art”, as it has similar attributes. It leaves the art open to interpretation by the artist and is more flexible in this manner than Analytic Kubism.The colours are more varied in this type and a collage system (as many non-art tools were used) was sometimes involved. The subjects of the art would mold together, or seem to “synthesize”, rather than be broken apart as in the previous mentioned method.

Juan Gris is well known for this style, as he maintained clarity in his artwork as well as meeting the characteristics. Kubism spread quickly in 1910 across Europe as it also stunned critics. They were unsure of the purpose of the movement: was it to represent the subject in an objective manner or merely to distort the image to be more abstract? However, the artists began creating such varied views of this style, the purpose wasn’t ever clearly found. In the 1920s, Kubism began to decline, which began in France. Many of the beginning artists of the movement began changing to other services. Even though this movement declined, it paved the way for other similar art styles to branch from it. This includes Constructivism and Art Deco, as well as its polar opposite, Surrealism.

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