Art History- Baroque-20th Century: Cubism: The Liberation Of The Artist

This week’s assignment will focus on Cubism, a movement pioneered by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque. It has often been called the moment in Modernism that represents the “Total Liberation of the Artist,” meaning they no longer felt compelled to work from reality; they could play with perspective, assemblage (collages, etc), and creating entirely imaginary worlds. Gone were the expectations to represent the surface of reality. Artists instead chose to break reality down and examine the structures and and angles and completely new ways of seeing.
Please read the following sources in order to gain the fundamentals of what Cubism means and how it evolved, and then watch the following documentary on the life and work of Pablo Picasso: (make sure you click through all the important artists on the left side of the page, and through all of the important artworks at the bottom of the page, in addition to reading the full text)

Assignment PART ONE:
When you have finished reading and watching, please complete one post (3 paragraphs), according to the following prompt:
Paragraph One:
In at least five, well-developed sentences, summarize the history, characteristics, and concepts of Cubism. Consider the art and artists who came before Cubism and had a huge influence on the style, as well as the artists who pioneered the Cubism as it evolved. What were they trying to accomplish? What did the work look like? What do you think it all meant?
Paragraph Two:
Choose two of the “Key Artists” of Cubism, NOT including Picasso. How did they contribute to the movement? Embed images of one work of art from each of the artists you choose (two images total), and describe these works visually (formal analysis). What kinds of concepts were these artists working with? Were they doing Synthetic Cubism, or Analytical Cubism?
Paragraph three:
Summarize the BBC documentary on Pablo Picasso. Who were his influences? What different styles did he cycle through in his long and successful career (i.e. his Blue Period, Rose period, Analytical Cubism, etc)? Choose your favorite work by Picasso, and embed an image of it in this third paragraph. Why did you respond to this one in particular?
Assignment PART TWO:
please comment on at least three of your classmates’ work in at least three sentences. What do you think of their take on Cubism and the works they chose to highlight in their initial posts?
Classmates’ posts: (I only got one post so far, I will post the other two later.)
1. Cubism was an early 20th-century art movement that threw out the concept of single viewpoint painting. Cubism introduced the use of geometric shapes and planes, giving us insight on the reality of objects in space. It was one of the first abstract art styles, causing quite a fuss when it was first shown to the public around 1910. Those who were capable of appreciating the style loved it for the depth and richness portrayed in each painting. Cubism was first developed in the hands of artists such as Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque. These two pioneers of the style were the ones that developed analytic Cubism as well as Cubist collage. Picasso being perhaps the most well known artist of this time period was heavily influenced by Paul Cezanne, his use of generic forms to simplify nature is what drew Picasso to try a more abstract approach to his work.
Two artists that I find interesting from this period and heavily influenced the style of Cubism are Fernand Leger and Juan Gris. Fernand Leger used Synthetic Cubism in his own experimental fashion. He wanted to maintain the three dimensional illusion in his work, and he greatly relied on the use of cylindrical shapes. One of his more famous works, Three Women (Le Grand Dejeuner) 1921, was seen as a “return to order.” This was because of the subject matter, the three women, which was incredibly common for artwork at this time. Leger used Cubist techniques to portray a three dimensional image, highly comprised of cylindrical shapes, but maintained some traditional aspects of art that pleased those who disliked the cubist style.
Juan Gris, another incredibly interesting artist from this period, idolized Pablo Picasso. Picasso was a huge role model for Gris and he made it known to the world what he thought of Picasso. As a tribute to the man he so respected, Gris painted a Portrait of Picasso, 1912. The image is comprised primarily of cool tones of blue, gray, and brown. The entire image is very well balanced, with the subject, Picasso, taking up nearly the entire composition. The entire image is comprised of triangles that create parallel lines in the background. What I enjoy most about Gris’s artwork is the feeling of motion they portray.
Pablo Picasso was easily the most influential artist of the Cubism movement. He too however had many influences that made him into the master artist we all know him to be. One of Picasso’s biggest influences was the death of his best friend, Carlos Casagemas. After Casagemas took his own life, he began appearing in many of Picasso’s artworks. In almost all of these artworks that involved Casagemas, Picasso solely relied on the color blue. Perhaps his choice of color was symbolic of the sadness that he felt at the loss of his dear friend. The power of these blue paintings led to Picasso’s first style, known as his “Blue Period.” This period of his artwork came to an end when Picasso met a new love, her name was Fernand. Fernand inspired what was known as Picasso’s “Rose Period” where he focused on the use of pink. This period was where some of Picasso’s most famous artworks were produced. It was very soon after this that Picasso began to develop Cubism.
My favorite work by Picasso is actually from his rose period, it is called Garcon a la pipe. This painting was of a boy holding a pipe in one hand and wearing a wreath of flowers on his head. I love this artwork because of the color and the texture. Picasso blended color so beautifully in this image that you can feel it. Very little is known about the story behind this painting and yet it is one of the most expensive Picasso’s to be sold.

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