Cubism Today

Among the most mentioned artistic movements of the 20th century, we find Cubism. The name itself I widely known and yet what the movement is, what it stands for and who its main contributors are is not something most people can readily answer. As such, identifying what the impact of the movement is and where we see this impact in our lives today is not known and that is a shame, as this helps us see the world in a clearer, more complete context.
Pioneered by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque, Cubism revolutionized the European understanding of art. Placed between the movement s of expressionism and surrealism, the core of Cubism deals with analyzing objects. The object is broken up, the analysis is conducted and the object is then re-assembled in an abstract form. The object will be depicted from a multitude of angles, rather than from one fixed angle, thus providing multiple points of view and analysis for that single object. In this depiction, random angles between surfaces can contribute to a lost sense of depth. In a similar way, the object depiction can integrate with the background itself, creating what is often referred to as a shallow ambiguous space, which is among the defining characteristics of Cubism.
It was artists like Paul Cezanne and Paul Gauguin who provided some of the original inspiration for the Cubist movement. Paintings like Cezanne’s Quarry Bibmus (1898-1900), in which Cezanne painted individual small surface areas as multifaceted, thus providing multiple points of view on a single object. Cezanne at this time also had a focus on simplification. Of taking shapes and turning them into more basic shapes like cylinders and rectangles. Both of these tendencies had an enormous influence on Picasso.
The main period for Cubism was 1907-1919. In the span of this period, Cubism moved through two main periods, Analytic Cubism and Synthetic Cubism. This first period focused more on reducing forms to geometrical shapes and analyzing them. Color was less emphasized, as the focus was on shape. The second period focused more on putting numerous objects together and has them interact, with different objects, textures, colors and shapes. Collages were also introduced in this period, and have stayed important in the world of art ever since. However, after 1919, Cubism as a major artistic movement of the time lost ground as surrealism gained popularity.
However, this does not mean Cubism is dead today. The movement’s main characteristic of allowing several viewpoints on an object is very much in use today, both in the worlds of art and commerce. Other ideas like reducing complexity to standard shapes are parts of both general business practices and commercial language today. As such, the theories, ideas and techniques are very much alive today. Indeed, we often find ourselves living in a Cubist world, with most things reduced to their specific cube in life.

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