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Cubism
Cubism

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A 20th century artistic style that defied the traditionally naturalistic style of figurative depiction in painting and sculpture. The term was first coined by the art critique Vauxcelles, who described it as a geometric simplification of natural shapes and images. This simplification freed the artist from the usual use of perspective and anatomical accuracy; the tonal range could be less compressed, the representation of natural textures could be emitted and the surface of the canvas remained flat. Use of light and shading also changed as these artists refused to employ the gently defused Renaissance light that skimmed evenly across the canvas. Unlike the abstract artists of the period, the goal was not to create an image without distinct form or visibility, but to find a new way to represent images figuratively and realistically.

It is for this reason many of the subject-matters that were used were images of banality; - a woman sitting alone in a room, the glimpse of landscape from an apartment window. A 20th century artistic style that defied the traditionally naturalistic style of figurative depiction in painting and sculpture. The term was first coined by the art critique Vauxcelles, who described it as a geometric simplification of natural shapes and images. This simplification freed the artist from the usual use of perspective and anatomical accuracy; the tonal range could be less compressed, the representation of natural textures could be emitted and the surface of the canvas remained flat. Use of light and shading also changed as these artists refused to employ the gently defused Renaissance light that skimmed evenly across the canvas. Unlike the abstract artists of the period, the goal was not to create an image without distinct form or visibility, but to find a new way to represent images figuratively and realistically.

It is for this reason many of the subject-matters that were used were images of banality; - a woman sitting alone in a room, the glimpse of landscape from an apartment window.
As more and more boundaries were crossed, and the fine arts steered ever farther away from the conventional methods, the Cubists found new methods of representation, mixing medias into their paintings, and thus attempting to form a balance between the tangible reality around us, and the means in which we present them. The importance of this attempt is evidenced in the massive influence it had on other artists and the many artistic styles that are its result.

The first experimenters of this approach were Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso, both of which were greatly influenced by Cézanne's later works and tribal African art. The misleadingly flat perspectives, the iconic faces of the figures and their stiff poses seem taken from a wooden tribal figurine. They were both active in the more analytical period of Cubism, exposing the shape from within shape, such as in Picasso's “Les Demoiselles d'Avignon”, a satirical recreation of the classical female nude, depicting a group of prostitutes in various poses. On the one hand, there is no use of ordinary perspective, but neither is the painting flat. Picasso chose to paint the scene from several alternate angles that confuse the eye and refused what he termed “an indulgence of color”, using instead a small range of colors, and only slight tonal shifts.

As more and more boundaries were crossed, and the fine arts steered ever farther away from the conventional methods, the Cubists found new methods of representation, mixing medias into their paintings, and thus attempting to form a balance between the tangible reality around us, and the means in which we present them. The importance of this attempt is evidenced in the massive influence it had on other artists and the many artistic styles that are its result.

The first experimenters of this approach were Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso, both of which were greatly influenced by Cézanne's later works and tribal African art. The misleadingly flat perspectives, the iconic faces of the figures and their stiff poses seem taken from a wooden tribal figurine. They were both active in the more analytical period of Cubism, exposing the shape from within shape, such as in Picasso's “Les Demoiselles d'Avignon”, a satirical recreation of the classical female nude, depicting a group of prostitutes in various poses. On the one hand, there is no use of ordinary perspective, but neither is the painting flat. Picasso chose to paint the scene from several alternate angles that confuse the eye and refused what he termed “an indulgence of color”, using instead a small range of colors, and only slight tonal shifts.

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