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Analytical and synthetic cubism - Essay Example

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Cubism was founded by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque, inspired by the artworks in African Sculpture, by painters Paul Cézanne (French, 1839-1906) and Georges Seurat (French, 1859-1891), and by Fauves. Cubism was later divided into two branches, Analytical Cubism and Synthetic Cubism…
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Download file to see previous pages Cubism was founded by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque, inspired by the artworks in African Sculpture, by painters Paul Cézanne (French, 1839-1906) and Georges Seurat (French, 1859-1891), and by Fauves. Cubism was later divided into two branches, Analytical Cubism and Synthetic Cubism.Analytical Cubism is the first development phase of Cubism and was developed between 1908 and 1912. The Analytical phase consisted of analyzing the object and then breaking it down into basic geometric forms in the canvas.Synthetic Cubism, the second and more decorative phase of Cubism started after the Analytical phase in 1912. This phase was less complex than its predecessor phase.During Analytical Cubism the language of Cubism had become flatter, consistent, but also more ambiguous. In his portrait of Ambroise Vollard, Picasso fragmented a human figure into a number transparent geometric planes intersecting each other at a variety of angles, none of these planes giving the illusion of three dimensionality.2 In this work, Picasso merged figure and environment, solid and void, background and foreground.“Synthetic Cubism was in part a reaction against the abstract tendency of the
Analytical phase.”3 With his `Still Life with Chair Caning’ (1912, Musée Picasso,Paris, France) Picasso invented a technique called collage (from the French word `coller’
meaning "to glue"). This started the second phase of Cubism known as Synthetic Cubism. Pasting pieces of paper or other material to the surface of painting is Collage. In

his painting, Picasso used a piece of oilcloth. Soon both Picasso and Braque began using

newspapers, wallpapers, advertising in their paintings implying that art can be created

with anything and not just brushes and paint.2

During Analytical Cubism, the works produced by Picasso and Braque shared

similarities in style since the objects were represented by geometric forms such as

cylinder, sphere and cone. Whereas Synthetic Cubism was more like synthesizing several

objects into a figure.

The colors were minimum or almost non-existent in Analytical Cubism

paintings. Many of the painting were entirely muted brown or grays. The main reason

for this was that the two artists were concerned about geometric shapes. Synthetic

Cubism on the other hand is more of a decorative phase of Cubism. Colors were

reintroduced in synthetic cubism. For the decorative effort, bright colors were used,

smooth and rough surfaces were contrasted with one another. Sometimes objects such as

newspapers or tobacco wrappers were used in combination with painted areas.4

Abstraction was one of the main characteristics of Analytical Cubism. There was

minimal resemblance with the real world as can be seen in the paintings 'Ma Jolie'

(1911) by Picasso and 'The Portuguese' (1911) by Braque. The subject matter appeared

to be structure of fragmented planes. In Synthetic Cubism both artists included stenciled

letters, words (often pun) as a reaction against abstraction of Analytical Cubism.3

Right angles and straight-lines were mostly used in Analytical Cubism. Paintings

were almost flat though sometimes in some areas the painting appeared sculptural, for

instance in the painting Girl with a Mandoline' (1910), by Picasso. The synthetic phase

of Cubism affirmed Cubism as a manipulative technique which plays games with both

reality and perception, through the use of collage and letter stenciling. It also helped in

accentuating its flatness. Picasso began to look at sculptures in a new way, due to his

experience with collage, as an assemblage of parts rather than a shaped mass, which

shows in the sculptures he made in 1912, riffs on the form of the guitar.

Cubism as Modern Movement:

Cubism is considered to be the most influential modern movement by many art

critics. The reason being that Cubism gave a new meaning to looking at objects

in a significantly different way from the one set during the Renaissance ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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