Cubism

Key points

  • Cubism is a form of abstract art.
  • Cubism was developed as a way of portraying multiple dimensions and perspectives of a subject or object onto a two dimensional canvas.
  • Spanish artist Pablo Picasso and French artist Georges Braque pioneered the art form in 1907. The movement was also influenced by the earlier work of French artist Paul Cézanne.
  • There are two styles of cubism. Analytic cubism uses geometrical forms and subdued colours. Synthetic cubism draws on decorative shapes, collage and bright colours.
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John Power, Seaside Still Life, 1926 - an Australian example of cubism.

JW Power Seaside Still Life, 1926. JW Power Collection, University of Sydney, managed by Museum of Contemporary Art, Mrs Edith Power Bequest 1961.

 

 


Abstract art

  • Any artwork that does not truly represent what it is depicting can be classified as abstract. Abstract art depicts forms in a conceptual manner.

Cubism

  • Cubism contributed to later forms of abstract art. Most cubist artworks show items as geometric solids or outlines.
  • The cubist work of Spanish artist Pablo Picasso and French artist Georges Braque was influenced by the earlier work of artist Paul Cezanne, who said: "Everything in nature takes its form from the sphere, the cone, and the cylinder".

Forms of cubism

  • Cubism can broadly be broken up into two sub-categories.
  • Analytic cubism was the first phase of cubism and lasted until about 1912. Subjects were reconstructed in a number of intricate, sometimes interlocking geometric forms. A muted, limited colour palette unified the images.
  • The second phase of cubism was known as synthetic cubism. This phase was more colourful and decorative, and incorporated the use of different textures and materials.

 


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