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From Women in European History


File:viocland.jpg George Braque Violin and Candlestick. 1910. www.centrepompidou.fr

A distinctive and influential visual arts style, Cubist painting emerged in Paris between 1907 and 1914. Cubist painting marked a rupture with conventional painting tradition. Cubist painters rejected perspective, foreshortening, and the time-honored adage that “art should imitate life” in favor of fragmented representations of people and objects.

Cubism’s founding fathers are Pablo Picasso and George Braque. Braque and Picasso produced works that are entirely two dimensional,and yet maintained perspective through their use of color. In the first decade of the twentieth century Stein hosted both Braque and Picasso in her home in 27 Rue de Fleururs. Warmer colors were used to construct the foreground while darker colors created the illusion of background. While Braque and Picasso were the pioneers of the cubist movement, other artists advanced the form. Fernand Léger, Sonia Delaunay, Juan Gris and Marcel Duchamp picked up the cubist mantle and carried it well into the nineteen twenties.[1]

The cubist movement is broken down into two distinct and independent phases. The paintings produced by Braque and Picasso between 1910 and 1912 fall into the Analytical Cubist school. Analytical Cubism characteristically sought to break down painting’s traditional form, through a use of hard right angles and straight line composition. The muted colors and earth tones of analytical cubist works serve to downplay the paintings’ content while simultaneously heightening the viewer’s awareness of form. Braque and Picasso’s favorite subjects were everyday objects, such as bottles, pitchers, musical instruments, and the human face and body. [2]

Cubisim’s second phase, Synthetic Cubism ,which emerged in the years after 1912 focused primarily on the relationship between objects in painting,their composition,or synthesis. The color palate of synthetic cubism was much more extensive than that of analytical cubism and mixed media. Found objects and collage composition were incorporated into the paintings to further highlight the relationship between the objects in the composition. Synthetic Cubist painting sought to raise questions of reality and illusion, and prompted its’ viewers to question where the line between the two should be drawn.


  1. Fred S. Kliner and Christin J. Mamiya, Gardner's Art Through the Ages (New York: Wadsworth Publishing, 2004), 575.
  2. "Cubism." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2009. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 26 May. 2009 <http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/145744/Cubism>.


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