History and characteristics of the Cubism movement

Art has survived through all eras of human history and has not stopped evolving with time and Cubism happens to be one of the most important movements of the 20th century. It even appeared at the very beginning of this era. What does cubist art mean? What are its distinguishing features? And who are the great masters of the movement?

What is Cubism and where does it originate from?

Cubism is an artistic movement that emerged at the beginning of the 20th century, more precisely in 1908. It originated with the creation of the work “Demoiselles d’Avignon” by the famous Pablo Picasso. In this work, the artist wanted to represent an object in three dimensions, i.e. one that could be observed from all angles. However, the cubist movement was only standardised after the creation of Paul Cézanne’s “Montagne Sainte-Victoire”. In addition to being concerned with space, this artist also wanted to emphasise form. In this work, for example, he wanted to represent nature through geometric shapes: cylindrical, conical, spherical, etc.

The Cubist movement was also inspired by African art, which is often considered ‘primitive’ while not lacking in ingenuity and depth. African masks particularly fascinated Pablo Picasso who did not hesitate to use them as inspiration for his works. Please visit this page if you want to know more about the world of cubism.

What are the characteristics of cubism?

There is not just one form of cubism, but three: Cézannean Cubism, Analytical Cubism and Synthetic Cubism, the characteristics of each depending on the category to which the work belongs.

The works of Cézanne Cubism are generally avant-garde but rather simplified in terms of representation. In this type of art, the aim was to treat nature or objects with forms that resemble them. A tree trunk, for instance, can be assimilated to a cylinder, a human head to a sphere, etc. Cézanne’s cubism can also be considered as abstract art because of its simplicity and minimalism.

Analytical Cubism, on the other hand, seeks to assimilate any type of object or element of nature into a single form, regardless of its original appearance. For example, if the artist wants to emphasize the conical shape for his or her canvas, then he or she will draw all the elements on it based on this shape. This type of cubism also has certain similarities with abstract art painting, due to its aversion to colour.

Ultimately, synthetic cubism is more sophisticated since it adds several elements to a single canvas and layers them.

Whatever the differences between these three types of cubism, they share some resemblances. Indeed, the drawings made must be three-dimensional, i.e. visible from all angles.

Who are the great masters of contemporary cubist art?

There are indeed several hundred artists who have and still specialise in cubist art, but among the most significant are Pablo Picasso and Paul Cézanne.

Indeed, it would be unthinkable to talk about Cubism without mentioning Pablo Picasso, the pioneer of the Cubist movement. The Spanish-born painter was born on 25 October 1881. From his childhood, he demonstrated great creativity and impressed his teachers. He moved to Paris at the age of 20 and it was there that he was able to visit an art gallery dedicated specifically to African works. This exhibition inspired him so much that he created the “Demoiselles d’Avignon”, which caused a huge controversy at the time. Since then, he has never ceased to attract attention and has become one of the most famous painters of his time.

Paul Cézanne, on the other hand, is best known for his abstract work, particularly the “Montagne Sainte-Victoire” piece, although he had already created a number of frescoes and paintings before. It must be said that Paul Cézanne’s career was slow to take off. He had to go through many pictorial movements, such as Impressionism, before he really found his way. In any case, he remains one of the artists with the most impact on the world of abstract cubism in the 20th century.