Cubism and Pablo Picasso

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Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)
Factory, Horta de Ebbo (oil on canvas, 1909)
Philadelphia Museum of Art
Cubism was a truly revolutionary style of modern art developed by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braques. It was the first style of abstract art which evolved at the beginning of the 20th century in response to a world that was changing with unprecedented speed. In the four decades from 1870-1910, western society witnessed more technological progress than in the previous four centuries. Picasso and Braque developed their ideas on Cubism around 1907 in Paris and their starting point was a common interest in the later paintings of Paul Cézanne.

The Influence of Cézanne on Cubism

Paul Cézanne (1839-1906)
Bibemus Quarry (oil on canvas, 1895)
Museum Folkwang
Cézanne was not primarily interested in creating an illusion of depth in his painting and he abandoned the tradition of perspective drawing. Cézanne felt that the illusionism of perspective denied the fact that a painting is a flat two-dimensional object. He liked to flatten the space in his paintings to place more emphasis on their surface - to stress the difference between a painting and reality. He saw painting in more abstract terms as the construction and arrangement of colour on a two-dimensional surface. It was this flat abstract approach that appealed to the Cubists and their early paintings, such as Picasso's 'Factory at Horta de Ebbo' (1909) and Braque's 'Viaduct at L'Estaque' (1908,) took it to an extreme. The Cubist Vision

Georges Braque (1882-1963)
Viaduct at L'Estaque (oil on canvas, 1908)
Pompidou Centre, Paris
The limitations of perspective were also seen as an obstacle to progress by the Cubists.They wanted to introduce the idea of 'relativity' - how the artist perceived and selected elements from the subject, fusing both their observations and memories into the one concentrated image. To do this the Cubists examined the way that we see. When you look at an object your eye scans it,...
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