Cubism explained

Marcel Duchamp - Nude Descending a StaircaseCubism is a 20th Century Style of painting that gained prominence through the works of Pablo Picasso and his collaborator in this art form, Georges Braque 1907 – 1914. In the summer of 1906 Picasso started to form the basis of Cubism. Iberian, Greek and African Art heavily influenced the development of Cubism. This is evident in many of the paintings during this period.

The style of Cubism is one that demands that the artist have a deep understanding of the literal form of an object. What happens next is that the artist represents the object or subject in the painting by showing all views at once in cylinders, cubes, and cones. It appears that instead of just painting an object in the common realism, the image is deconstructed and reassembled in the sum total of its parts.

You may appear to be looking at all sides and facets of an image, broken down into smaller cubes. The usual artistic and aesthetic sensibilities seem to be suspended here with objects converging and overlapping. The standard artistic perspective is abandoned to create what appears to be the image broken down and reassembled. In the style of Cubism, an artist must know how to construct an image in order to deconstruct it and reorder the image to inform the viewer in a new way.

In a time-line continuum Cubism sits between the Impressionist period and Surrealism. This is what defines the larger genre of Modern Art. Cubism started initially as a conversation Cézanne had, with other important artists of the day (Picasso and Braque et al.) that discussed the importance and purity of the geometric forms of cubes, cones and other shapes. The name “Cubism” was derived from artists and critics describing this school of art as appearing to be broken up into little cubes.

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