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Updated: Dec 6, 2023

Cubism is the first Abstract Art style that began between 1907 and 1911 and is said to have been invented by Pablo Picasso. Cubist paintings are not meant to be realistic or life like in any way.

Far removed from traditional art styles of the time, cubists created a new way of representing subjects. People and landscapes were painted using a combination of basic geometric shapes to show numerous views of the same image. The idea behind cubism was to encourage the viewer to see the art in their mind’s eye, rather than in real life – if we close our eyes and try to imagine a place or a person, we often see parts or pieces rather than the whole real image and this is what a cubist painting tries to recreate.

This fractured view leads onto the idea that cubist pictures are often like looking at pieces of fractured glass. Imagine, a picture being shattered and then pieced back together, in an entirely different arrangement.

How do you recognise cubism works of art?

Early cubist works are easily recognised by their flattened, almost two-dimensional appearance and the inclusion of geometric shapes, angles and lines. Cubist art works initially only displayed a fairly neutral colour palette too.

As the cubist movement grew and evolved though, more colour, texture and graphic elements (including text) were included to the point, that later works often appear to be more like a collage than a painting. Overall, cubism isn’t a specific look or style rather than a way forward, that allowed artists an entirely new way to depict real life objects.

A cubist artist will view a subject from all possible angles and then piece together fragments of the subject from different vantage points, combining these fragments into one work of art.

Well known cubism artists: Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, Marcel Duchamp.

Ready to create a cubists art work of your own? Enrol in classes at the Ellen Michel Art School today and bring your images to life.

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