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Characteristics of Cubism

The basics of cubism can be seen in another art movement known as pointillism and fauvism. Cubism is basically the art of creating abstract shapes of three dimensional objects on a two dimensional surface. An artist who wants to opt for cubism should be able to represent an object in multiple planes. Therefore, in simple terms, a cubist basically shows more than one layer/planes on a single piece of canvas. The overall look of a painting that is created in this style appears in the form of geometric shapes. And as it depicted in different layers, it gives an illusion of depth, giving the painting a 3-dimensional look – hence the name cubism. An artist uses the style of little cubes to depict an object or a person from different views.

Artists such as Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque popularized this style by painting forms in distorted versions. A look at their paintings reveal how these two geniuses cut up space in different planes to create a composition. Upon observation, the paintings of these artists show the use of geometric shapes and the use of edges. These paintings are not based on the basic theories of art that make the use of perspective with precise angles and shapes.

Cubism was further divided into two main branches – analytical cubism and synthetic cubism. Cubists who painted using the analytical style of cubism, basically analyzed and broke up natural forms into little cubes or other geometrical shapes. They used a monochromatic color scheme for these paintings. Picasso and Braque, both used the analytical style of painting. Apart from this style, they also developed synthetic cubism. This was based on the art of creating compositions that focused on objects together. Besides, artists also made use of the technique of mixed media. Mix media is the use of different mediums of paint used to create a composition on one surface. Synthetic cubism is about creating flatter compositions with minimum shading as compared to analytical cubism.

Cubism basically started on a simplistic version, which later reached an abstract stage. During the Renaissance period, artists depicted compositions on one plane. Cubism was considered to be a complete contrast in this regard. For example, a cubist artist may paint the face of a person wherein the eye may be shown looking towards the viewer, however, the nose may be painted facing the side.

Apart from artists such as Pablo Picasso and Braque, Fernand Leger, Francis Picabia and Roger de la Fresnaye also used the basics of cubism. Today, this style continues to inspire young talents to try something that is far apart from reality.