Glossary Term: Cubism

  • 13 May 2009 05:29
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"Girl with Dark Hair," by PicassoCubism developed in France between 1907 and the early 1920's. The name "Cubism" comes from an insult by another artist, Henri Matisse. He called a painting by Georges Braque: "petits cubes", or little cubes.
Since the Renaissance, many artists believed perception and space were best shown with linear perspective, a mathematical system used to imitate nature. Artists using these ideas show a fixed point of view.
Cubist artists, on the other hand, show more than one view at a time. A Cubist painting may show the front of a face and the side of a face at the same time. You can see this in Picasso's Girl with Dark Hair on the right. Modern studies of perception have shown that people do not view things from one fixed, all-encompassing place, but from an infinite number of glances which are then connected in the viewer's mind into one picture.
Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque were two Cubist artists who showed how space can be cut-up, distorted and transformed into different planes and views. Cubist painters asked themselves: "Is reality in the eye of the spectator, or is it whatever appears on the canvas?"

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Sandra Espinet By, Sandra Espinet
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