Cubism

Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881–1973); Girl with a Mandolin (Fanny Tellier)

Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881–1973); Girl with a Mandolin (Fanny Tellier)

Cubism was one of the most influential visual art styles of the early twentieth century. It was created by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque in Paris between 1907 and 1914The Cubist painters rejected the inherited concept that art should copy nature, or that they should adopt the traditional techniques of perspective, modeling, and foreshortening. They wanted instead to emphasize the two-dimensionality of the canvas. So they reduced and fractured objects into geometric forms, and then realigned these within a shallow, relief-like space. They also used multiple or contrasting vantage points. In Cubist work up to 1910, the subject of a picture was usually discernible. Although figures and objects were dissected or "analyzed" into a multitude of small facets, these were then reassembled, after a fashion, to evoke those same figures or objects. During "high" Analytic Cubism (1910–12), also called "hermetic," Picasso and Braque so abstracted their works that they were reduced to just a series of overlapping planes and facets mostly in near-monochromatic browns, grays, or blacks. In their work from this period, Picasso and Braque frequently combined representational motifs with letters )Their favorite motifs were still-lifes with musical instruments, bottles, pitchers, glasses, newspapers, playing cards, and the human face and figure. Landscapes were rare. During the winter of 1912–13, Picasso executed a great number of papiers collés. With this new technique of pasting colored or printed pieces of paper in their compositions, Picasso and Braque swept away the last vestiges of three-dimensional space (illusionism) that still remained in their "high" Analytic work. 

© 2009 Oxford University Press

Source: http://www.moma.org/collection/theme.php?t...