Cubism an art movement that transformed the art scene in Europe and hence across the world. Europe was the flagbearer finer things in the 20th century. Several artists groomed in Europe and then presented their art form to the rest of the world.

Lets see an example of a normal(not from cubism school) painting of a scene from a bedroom.

Vincent Van Gogh’s famous painting of the bedroom.

In the above painting, you can see that the artist has tried giving an idea of distance between objects by providing relevant details. Starting with the bed, the vertical ply work is depictected with deak vertical lines of yellow color. This is the closest peice of furniture to the viewer and hence most detailed.

However, once you start observing furniture items that are farther from you, the details seem to be minimal. Paintings on the wall just have a few colors contained in rectangle frames. This gives a perception that the wall is farther than the bedside. This is a very ‘actual’ representation of the scene of a bedroom.

Now lets have a look at a cubist painting.

A cubist portrait of Pablo Picasso.
Actual photograph of Pablo Picasso.

Now here as you can see, there seems to be no attempt to make a portrait that can look like the actual person. In fact, this looks more like a work of pure imagination.

Afrer this moment of surprise and wonder, take a look back again. Do you observe the similarity in eyes. From what was not at all a portrait of picasso, it has now come to a similarity in eye sizes – both have eye sizes of equal proportion. Now take a look at the hair style – both have a ride side parting with a thick growth.

Lastly, the cubist artist has also put a paint palette in the left hand of the picasso. The painting still does not qualify to be a portrait. It has no utility to help people recognize picasso and use it for any practical purpose. However, if one is willing to explore the painting they can give their own interpretations and how the painter could have done things differently. The painting is more engaging once the viewer puts in effort to get engaged. Also, such a viewer will be now be in a much better position to understand color combinations. Its actually more to do with the viewers effort to engage in an art form than how engaging the art form is per se.

A 3 dimensional representation of objects is the crux of cubism. The 3 dimensional representation might or might not have much reseblance with the actual object. It can also be explained as an attempt to show a view from multiple directions at the same time. The painting would also have an artist’s imagination at play. And of course even the viewer of the painting has to be observant to appreciate the nuances of the painting.

Above pictures very well explain the concept of cubism. The left image of a box is converted to 5 flat squares in the left image(this is exactly what cubists do). Picture courtesy:

2 replies to “Cubism

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