Cubism was an avant-garde art movement of the early 20th century and revolutionized the world of modern art with paintings and sculptures. Until today, it is considered one of the most influential art movements during the 20th century. The pioneers of this movement were mainly Pablo Picasso and George Braque which was followed by many artists of that time.
The movement saw the neglect of perspective by the artists which were majorly used during the Renaissance period to depict space. They entirely dumped the use of figures of realism in their artworks. Cubists during this period were most focused and experimental about the open forms, piercing figures by allowing the space to flow through them, blend of background into the foreground and the showcase of objects from different angles. The innovation made during this movement represents a response to the experienced change of space, time and movement in the modern world, this phase of the movement was termed as analytic cubism.
“Cubism is not a reality you can take in your hand. It’s more like a perfume, in front of you, behind you, to the sides, the scent is everywhere but you don’t quite know where it comes from’’, said Pablo Picasso.
Cubism underwent few experimental faces by the artists or cubists during the movement, one which has already been mentioned analytic cubism. In the second phase the cubists abandoned the art materials and started their explorations with non-art materials as abstract signs, they acutely focused on the current events instead of focusing on the forms created. Thus this phase was known as Synthetic Cubism. Cubism between 1914 -1918 experienced a shift towards strong overlapped geometric planes, flat surface activity, tightening of compositions and clarity and order, this phase was termed as crystal cubism.
Interestingly Picasso and Braque who paved the way to cubism were against abstraction but other artists during that period especially František Kupka accepted abstraction by removing the subject matter entirely. The cubist artists were entirely against the concept of copying nature and adoption of realistic art methods incorporating perspective, modeling, and foreshortening. Their interest was focusing more on the two-dimensionality of the canvas, because of which they fragmented the objects into geometric forms and the realigned, them in into a shallow space blending the background with the foreground.
The movement initially was an influential movement initiated by Picasso and Braque inspired by Paul Cézanne’s work at Salon d’Automne in 1907, the usage of generic forms to depict naturalism proved to be highly influential to both Picasso and Braque. The liberating concepts followed by cubism had a far-reaching effect on Dada and Surrealism as well as all the artists in Germany, Holland, England, and Russia who were abstraction focused.