What Are Five Facts on Cubism?

Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque pioneered the Cubist art movement between 1907 and 1914. The movement ignored traditional techniques and attempted to show objects as they are rather than as they seem. The three main characteristics of Cubism are geometricity, passage and simultaneity.

Many art historians believe Picasso's "Les Demoiselles d'Avignon," painted in 1907, is the first real Cubist painting, but French art critic Louis Vauxcelles conceived of the term "Cubism" after seeing landscapes Braque painted in 1908 inspired by impressionist painter Paul Cezanne. The landscapes featured geometric forms, or cubes. Instead of copying nature or using perspective, modeling and foreshortening, Picasso and Braque explored ways of depicting the fourth dimension. They reduced people and objects into their geometrical components, overlapped and interpenetrated planes and provided viewers with multiple points of view of a person or object.

The four periods of Cubism include Early Cubism or Cezannisme, from 1908 to 1910, Analytic Cubism, from 1910 to 1912, Synthetic Cubism, from 1912 to 1914 and Late Cubism, which began in 1915 and continues today. Early Cubist work featured right-angle and straight-line construction and simple and monochromatic color schemes. Later Cubist artists combined and synthesized forms, emphasized smooth and rough surfaces and color, and often pasted non-painted objects, such as newspapers or tobacco wrappers, on the canvas. Cubist paintings typically feature letters, musical instruments, bottles, pitchers, glasses, newspapers, still life, and the human face and figure.