Cezanne was crazy about creating depth in paintings. He eventually achieved a method that did not make him have to deal with the constraints of traditional boring-assed perspective drawing. Perspective drawing was/is the method of conveying 3 dimensional objects on two dimensional surfaces. This attracted the future cubists Pablo Picasso and George Braque- who also employed Cezanne’s theory of breaking down objects into spheres, cylinders and that’s right kids- cubes.
Now, ya gotta remember here, it’s turn of the century Europe and in the last 40 years photography, cinematography, sound recording, the telephone, the motor car and the airplane were all invented. Since painting these things is lame and boring; artists needed to find a way to express themselves in a world that was constantly changing in technological sense.
The territory covered by the Fang ethnic group, formerly called the Pahuins, is vast: it extends from the region of Yaounde in Cameroon to the Ogoou6 River in Gabon and includes equatorial Guinea. Since the seventeenth century, these tribes have traveled hundreds of kilometers through the heart of the forest, moving southwest. The boundaries between styles are not absolute but, thanks to field studies done between 1895 and 1910, the origins of reliquaries that came to Europe relatively early have been more or less identified: in fact, "Pahuin idols" are found in the earliest collections of Paul Guillaume, Jacob Epstein, Andri6 Derain, Felix F6n6on, and others…
Gertrude Stein was an American writer and gallery owner in Paris. Stein was open minded enough to realize the intense creativity that was bustling around her and purchased many early works by artists like Cezanne, Matisse, Derain, Gauguin, Renoir...etc etc... She would eventually meet a young Pablo Picasso at her gallery (he was there to ogle the Matisse paintings) and they would talk extensively about all kinds of art, bonding especially on tribal masks from Gabon’s Fang tribe. This would influence precursors to cubism like...
Picasso and Braque met in Paris and developed cubism after learning of a mutual love of painting, drawing and being totally ghey for Cezanne.
The tradition of European oil painting was becoming a bit stagnant with the ever changing world and these two musketeers (they later joined the army and fought for the French in WWI) (wait...why did the “Three Musketeers” have swords instead of muskets?! I just did a 10 page image search and not one of the bastards was holding a musket at all.)
Picasso and Braque talked a lot about how paintings only truly work from one angle...the angle that the artist was looking at it from. If you look at an object though, it looks different from different angles. They felt that this is the way the object should be represented. So all realistic perspective went out the door and there went the neighborhood. A new approach of multiple perspectives came into being. This was the ‘analytical’ aspect of Cubism (it lasted from 1908 till 1911ish). This was true abstraction of an object for the first time. Hooray! Man, this is so much better than Rococo!
This painting was a precursor to what later fleshed out into cubism. Note the obvious influence of the African masks on the two figures on the right side. Picasso was a big fan of whores. This is a painting of some!
This painting has been analyzed about a billion times. Many have agreed that the point of view is that of a John- looking over which prostitute he will ultimately pick to bang (that will probably give him syphilis). Picasso was kind of wierded out by women.
Georges Braque was a co-founder of cubism. Previously, he painted as a Fauve. The palette and flattened space of the painting on the left here shows Cezanne’s influence on not only Braque, but cubism as a whole (see second slide and compare). Later, he and Picasso would go on to develop Synthetic Cubism which would turn everything on it’s own ass.
Picasso definitely deserves a whole day. He created more than 20,000 works of art and was one of the most influential painters ever. Gertrude Stein is noted as saying to him, ”I said you should paint every day, not make a painting every day”.
I’m gonna focus on his contribution to Analytic Cubism today and go more in depth with him later on in the week.
Still Life With Skull
Oil on canvas 1908
Hermitage Museum, Russia
(Portrait of) Ambroise Vollard , 1910 Oil on canvas; 36 3/8 x 26 in. Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow