Cubism

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Cubism

  1. 1. Cubism Pablo Picasso Georges Braque
  2. 2. By 1906 Picasso searching for new ways to depict form, he looked to: African sculpture Ancient Iberian sculpture Late paintings of Cezanne (as mentioned expansion of colonial empires in late nineteenth and early twentieth cent resulted in a wider exposure to Africa and India.
  3. 3. Portrait of Gertrude Stein (his patron). Picasso had started the painting but after over 80 sittings he’d left it unfinished The artist told her ‘I can’t see you any longer when I look’ After contact with Iberian sculpture painted her head as a simplified planer form, incorporating aspects derived from his wide-ranging sources.
  4. 4. Iberian sculpture
  5. 5. Les Demoiselles d’Avigion (the young ladies of Avignon) June – July 1907, Picasso worked on a radically new method of representing form in space.
  6. 6. Began work as a symbolic picture called Philosophical Bordello, portraying male clients mingling with women in the reception room of a brothel (Avignon Street in Barcelona was located in the red-light district). By the time the artist had finished had eliminated the male figures and simplified the room’s details.
  7. 7. Had become wholly absorbed in the problem of finding a new way to represent the five female figures in interior space. Fractured their forms interwove them with the equally jagged planes that represent drapery and empty space. Pushed Cezanne’s treatment of form and space to a new tension. Tension between representation and abstraction.
  8. 8. Inconsistently depicted the figures. Three calm young women at the left inspired by Iberian sculptures, Picasso saw during visits to Spain. 2 right violent figures result of Picasso’s fascination with African sculpture. Revised their bodies. Figures are seen from more than one place in space at once. three-quarters back view, from the left another from the right and a front view of the head.
  9. 9. For many years this painting only known to other painters. One of the first was Georges Braque (1882-1963) a Fauve painter who was so agitated by it that he began to rethink his own painting style. Together they both formulated Cubism around 1908. New style received its name after Matisse described some of Braque’s work to a critic Louis Vauxcelles, as having been painted ‘avec des petits cubes’ (with little cubes), and the critic went on in his review to speak of ‘cubic oddities.’ Thus, critics, through their choice of labels, in part formed public understanding of this original painting method.
  10. 10. Radical turning point in the history of art. Dismissed pictorial illusionism that had dominated Western art. Cubists rejected naturalistic depictions, preferring compositions of shapes and forms ‘abstracted’ from the conventionally perceived world. These artists pursued the analysis of form adopted Cezanne’s suggestion that artists use the simple forms of cylinders, spheres, and cones to represent nature in art. Dissected forms and recomposed them by a new logic of design. For the Cubists, the art of painting had to move far beyond the description of visual reality.
  11. 11. This rejection of accepted artistic practice illustrates •The period’s aggressive avant-garde critique of pictorial convention •Public’s dwindling faith in a safe, concrete Newtonian world, fears fostered by the physics of Einstein and others.
  12. 12. Gombrich’ s imaginary Cubist definition: We do not want to fix on the canvas the imaginary impression of the fleeting moment. Let us follow Cezanne’s example, and build up the picture of our Motifs as solidly and enduringly as we can. Wny not be consistant and accept the fact that our real aim is rather to construct something rather than to copy something? If we think of an Object, let us say a violin, it does not appear before the eye of our Mind as we would see it with our bodily eyes. We can think of its various aspects at the same time. Some of them stand out so clearly that we feel we can touch and handle them; others are somehow blurred. And yet this strange medley of images represents more of the ‘real’ violin than any single snapshot or meticulous painting could ever contain.
  13. 13. Cezanne mt-st-victoire-chateau-noir-1904-06
  14. 14. French writer and theorist Guilame Apollinaire summarised the central Cubism concepts in 1913 ‘Authentic Cubism is the art of depicting new wholes with formal elements borrowed not from the reality of vision, but from that of conception. This tendency leads to a poetic kind of painting which stands outside the world of observation; for, even in simple cubism, the geometrical surfaces of an object must be opened out in order to give a complete representation of it… Everyone must agree that a chair, from whichever side it is viewed, never ceases to have four legs, a seat and back, and that if it robbed of one of these elements, it is robbed of an important part.’
  15. 15. Analytic Cubism
  16. 16. First phase of Cubism, developed jointly by Picasso and Braque as Analytic Cubism Analytic Cubism involves analysing form and investigating the visual vocabulary (that is, the pictorial elements) for conveying meaning.
  17. 17. Georges Braque’s The Portuguese, 1911 Subject from his memories of a Portuguese musician seen years before in a bar in Marseilles. Dissected forms and interaction with the space around it. Reduced colour to browns - very different to Fauves and Expressionists. Cubists used limited hues to focus viewers attention on form.
  18. 18. Georges Braque’s The Portuguese, 1911 Viewers must also work to discover clues to the subject. Large intersecting planes suggests the forms of a man and a guitar. Smaller shapes interpenetrate and hover in larger planes. Light and dark suggest both chiaroscuro modelling and transparent planes that allow viewers to see through one level to another.
  19. 19. Georges Braque’s The Portuguese, 1911 As observers look solid forms emerge only to be cancelled almost immediately by a different reading of the subject. Stencilled letters and numbers adds to the paintings complexity. Letters and numbers are flat shapes.
  20. 20. Georges Braque’s The Portuguese, 1911 On a book’s pages they exist outside three-dimensional space but in a painting the allow the painter to play with 2 and 3 dimensional space. Image seems to be under them pushing the letters forward into the viewing space.
  21. 21. Georges Braque’s The Portuguese, 1911 Picasso and Braque pioneered precisely this exploration of visual vocabulary. – composition, two-dimensional shape, three dimension form, colour and value – and its role in generating meaning. Constantly shifting imagery makes it impossible to arrive at any definitive reading of the image.
  22. 22. Whereas Picasso and Braque avoided colour Robert Delaunay (1885-1941) worked towards a colour cubism. French writer Guillaume Apollinaire called this art Orphism (after Orpheus, the Greek God with magical powers of music.)
  23. 23. His red tower seen as a metaphor for the destruction in society before first world war. His experiments strongly influenced the Futurists and German Expressionists (he exhibited with Der Blaue Reiter)
  24. 24. Figure works
  25. 25. Ambrose Vollard, 1910
  26. 26. Cezanne’s portrait of Ambrose Vollard 1899
  27. 27. Daniel Henry Kahnweiler, 1910
  28. 28. Synthetic Cubism
  29. 29. In 1912, Cubism entered a new phase when it no longer relied on a decipherable relation to the visible world. Artists constructed paintings or drawings from objects and shapes cut from paper or other materials to represent parts of a subject.
  30. 30. Picasso’s ‘Still-life with Chair-Caning, included a piece of oil-cloth pasted on the canvas after it was imprinted with the photolithographed pattern of a cane chair seat. It is framed with a piece of rope.
  31. 31. Challenges people’s perception of ‘reality.’ The photographically replicated chair seems so real that one expects the holes to break any brush strokes laid upon it. Actually only an illusion. In contrast, the painted abstract areas do not refer to tangible objects in the real world.
  32. 32. Yet the fact that they imitate anything makes them more real than the chair caning – no pretence exists, they are what they are!
  33. 33. extended the visual play by making the letter U escape from the space of the accompanying J and O and partially covering it with a cyclindrical space that pushes across its left side.
  34. 34. The letters JOU appear in many Cubist paintings; these letters formed part of the masthead of the daily French newspapers (journals) often found among the objects represented. Picasso and Braque delighted in puns for jouer and jeu the French words for ‘to play’ and ‘game.’
  35. 35. Continued to explore the new medium of collage (from French word meaning ‘to stick.’ Collage composition of bits of objects, such as newspapter or cloth glued to the surface. Variant of collage papier colle (stuck paper), or gluing assorted paper shapes to a drawing or painting.
  36. 36. Braque Fruit Dish and Cards, 1913, Charcoal and pencil lines and shadows provide clues to the Cubist multiple views of table, dishes, playing cards, and fruit.
  37. 37. Braque Fruit Dish and Cards, 1913, Roughly rectangular strips of woodgrained. Grey and black paper run vertically up the composition. Both echo the space of lines and reinforce sense of flatness. All images both push forward and drop back.
  38. 38. Braque Fruit Dish and Cards, 1913, The game is part of the meaning and deciphering all levels of interpretation. No longer analysed the 3dimensional qualities of the physical world. Constructed or synthesised objects and space alike from the materials he used.
  39. 39. ‘Not only did we try to displace reality; reality was no longer in the object… In the papier colle… [we]e didn’t any longer want to fool the eye; we wanted to fool the mind… if a piece of newspaper can be a bottle, that gives us something to think about in connection with both newspapers and bottles, too.’ Modern in materials too – used mass produced materials never found in ‘high’ art – and modern in how the artist embedded the art’s ‘message’ in the imagery and the nature of these every day materials.
  40. 40. Cubism not just about formal innovations, public also viewed the revolutionary and subversive nature of Cubism in socio-political terms. Was an attack on society’s complacency and status quo. Many French critics allied Cubism with anarchism, revolution and disdain for tradition. Impact of Cubism extended beyond the boundaries of art world. Unlike Braque, Picasso’s work would include political events Glass and Bottle of Suze included clipplings dealing with the first Balkan war of 1912-13 which contributed to world war 1
  41. 41. Cubist Sculpture
  42. 42. In works known as ‘assemblage’ Picasso used wood scraps and found objects. Also introduced space into the interior used contained space rather than mass – redefined sculpture now much more than a solid in a void was now a mixture of solids and voids..
  43. 43. Study for Head of a Woman Head of a Woman 1910
  44. 44. The Guitar 1912
  45. 45. Mandolin and Clarinet 1913 Synthetic sculpture In works known as ‘assemblage’ Picasso used wood scraps and found objects. Also introduced space into the interior - used contained space rather than mass – redefined sculpture now much more than a solid in a void was now a mixture of solids and voids.
  46. 46. Other Cubist sculptors
  47. 47. Jacques Lipchitz (1891-1973) Bather 1916-17 – Worked out most of his ideas in clay. Broke forms into cubic volumes and spaces, Recalls Picasso’s paintings.
  48. 48. Aleksandr Archipenko (1887 – 1964) Woman Combing her Hair 1915 Face is a void. Space penetrates the figure’s continuous mass and space helps define form. Same fluid intersecting planes seen in a Cubist painting. Still representational but started shaking off representation.
  49. 49. Compare to Expressionist sculpture….
  50. 50. Aristide Malliol, La Méditerranée 1906 Was painter but took up sculpture Work shows influence of Egypt and Roman Renoir The poses favoured by Rodin,. Simplification of form
  51. 51. Henri Mattise The Serf 1900-03 Early work shows influence of Rodin
  52. 52. La Serpentine 1909 thinned the forms Movement would be comprehensible from all points of view.
  53. 53. Constantin Brancusi, Maiastra 1911 Sought to portray the essense of things like Marc and Matisse, represents a Golden bird which was source of many Romanian folk tales Assistant to Rodin but rejected his modelling technique for carving in stone – very simple. Interest in Plato, all worldly objects and being are imperfect imitations of their perfect models or ideas, which exist in the mind of God.
  54. 54. Erich Heckel Erect Figure propping her Chin with her Hands 1912 member of De Brucke Crudely carved in wood rejecting the classical tradition of marble and bronze suggesting the desire to return to nature.

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