A Contemporary look at art


What has worked well in this article.
The message, the idea and the concept of the cubists art movement has been well tackled and explained. This is a comprehensive look at the movement and gives the reader of the listener a complete picture of this art movement and what it has come to represent.

The most difficult aspect of writing this article and how this difficulty is addressed.
I was difficult to get started on telling the story of the cubists. This was mainly because, the idea of such a movement, just like painting an abstract picture, can be just as hard to understand as it is to explain. Finding a writer who tells the story in a way that the rest of the world understands was difficult. One needs to find an angle that is neutral yet approaches the concept in as clear a manner as would make those lacking in the appreciation of art to sit up and listen.
This article managed to do this by the use of a book that takes the angle of artists and art critics. These are the best people to start with as these will present both sides of the coin. From here, the listener or the reader will have been set on a neutral path and the information given will help draw a mental picture that best suits their understanding.

Writing technique stolen from the published texts I have read from and tried out in this article, the reason for picking this technique and how well it has worked in this article.
Having read a number of books on the subject of Cubism, I have managed think and work like an artist and yet think and write like a art critic, criticizing my own work.
This method of writing has been adapted here to help the reader get the unbiased view of the topic as it is not one-sided. This works well as it creates balance in the reporting of the subject and gives the reader a chance to make up their own mind.
Area of this article that I think a reader might have the most trouble and the reason for this.
Understanding the concept of Cubism requires a conceptual approach in visualizing the style and relevance of the movement to modern art and its impact.
Cubism represented a change or shift from the previous movements and therefore, a reader might have trouble seeing what this change represents and what new aspect it brings to the modern world.

What I would do next if I had more time or were to start a revision of it.
Given more time, the revision to this article would entail presenting to the reader an explanation of the ways of life and drawing and painting styles of more artists who belonged this particular art movement and explain what their particular approaches has contributed to the world of art as we know it.
A Contemporary look at art
In an attempt to introduce my readers and listeners to the history and the fundamental role played by the Cubists movement, I have searched far and wide for a source that would give the best angle of approach to this most significant topic.
Interestingly enough, during my research I noticed that it was not just I myself that had this burning desire to tell the story of the Cubists but many more had gone before me who had wanted to find the best way to remind the world of how great this period was to the future of art and social life.
A better source could not have been found than a book written by, Herschel B. Chipp,. Theories of modern Art. A source book by artist and critics.1968. The richness of the book comes from the detailed description of the artist who lived during the period when the movement was at its birth. The description of the events gives us an opportunity to interact with the artists who are credited with the founding of the Cubists art movement and therefore offers us an insider’s view of the workings of this brand new and radical art movement that latter went on to alter established conventions in the art world and beyond.
The book’s scope only adds to the wealth of information provided by the author in bringing to the awareness of the reader the importance that each period in the history of art holds to subsequent periods and to the present order.
As ones stated by Guillaume Apollinaire, Cubism is …
“The art of painting original arrangements composed of elements taken from conceived rather than perceived reality.”
(The Beginnings of Cubism, 1912.)
Cubism as a movement is so significant in the history of art as changes it brought about impacted the world of not only art but also the applied arts, poetry, literature, and music. It represented a revolution in visual arts whereby, the formalization of images in drawings and paintings was more drastic and dynamic between the years of 1907 to 1914 than in any other period since the Renaissance.
The impact of this movement was not felt until much latter when there arose a stream of abstract and nonfigurative drawings that have come to symbolize modern art in the 20th century. Cubism could be said to have given birth to other movements such as Constructivism, Neoplasticism, De Stjl, and orphism where all could be said to have had their foundation in formalism though, Cubist ideas were the actual trigger.
Cubism thus, can be seen as having emerged at the point where ideas that shaped twentieth-century art actually sprung up and is therefore crucial in understanding one of the fundamental influences of modern art.
As stated by one of the founding fathers of the Cubists movement, Pablo Picasso,
“Cubism has tangible goals. We see it only as a means of expressing what we perceive with the eye and the spirit while utilizing all the possibilities that lie within the natural properties of drawing and color. That became a source of unexpected joy for us, a font of discoveries.”
(Ganteruhrer-Trier, Anne, 6 )
Art has been said to tell the history of how people see themselves. How they feel and think about themselves and each other. Just as the beginning of the twentieth-century was experiencing major changes brought about by great inventions in technology and science as a whole, two artists, Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), from Spain, and Georges Braque (1882-1963), a Frenchman, came up with the radical concept of Cubism as a new style of art. The environment that these two artists emerged from had a great role to play in the formation of such a movement and this in turn went on to change the societies that were presented with the works of art produced by these and other artists that came after them.
Hence, Cubists is a reference made to artists who belong to the era of Picasso and Braque. The word Cubism can, however, be credited to two artists who belonged to a period much earlier than that of the Cubists. These were Louis Vauxcelles (1870-1945), a French journalist and art critic and the artist Henri Matisse (1869-1954).
Guillaume Apollinaire (1880-1918) wrote:
“The new painting is called Cubism. It received this name by way of a term of mockery from Henri Matisse, who noticed the cubic forms in a picture with buildings.” (1912). (Ganteruhrer-Trier, Anne,6)
Paintings by Picasso simple objects such as houses drawn in the form of simple shapes had ended up looking like drawings constructed using cubes. Therefore, the impression created in the mind of the observer was a form of artwork that employed this particular shape leading to the coining of the term, Cubism.
The movement was seen as being radical due to its approach of challenging well established methods of art, poetry, design even music, to some extent, as musicians somehow felt challenged by this wind of change in the art world that ignored historical artistic beliefs and assumptions, especially those of the Western world that were centuries old.
Cubism was also indeed interested, not just in the old order of established conventions, but also in non-Western art, which included African and primitive forms of art and sculpture which put them at logger heads with the long established world order of art and tending towards modernism and newer more sophisticated ways of painting by the upper class of artists.
The work of the other artists who belonged to this movement also encountered a lot of criticism and controversy. They arranged meetings with other artists, writers and critics to engage them in discussions over the relationship between this new form of art and established science, technology, geometry, poetry, music and other professions, and thus resulting in numerous articles and letters on these issues. These artists soon became known as ‘Cubists’.
My excitement at bringing up and talking about this art movement is as great as the passion exuded by the artists of the period, known as Cubists. I have read and have come to see the revolutionary nature of this radical form of art which permeated so many areas of modern life, be it social, economic or even political which was brought about by the high standing and recognition gained by these artists in the societies that they belonged to. Upon reflection, one does actually come to realize the impact a new form of art has on the old and accepted way of painting as well as to those of different talents and professionals who come into contact with this new way of doing things.
Those most active in explaining to the rest of the world about the functionalities of the new movement were actually the other artists who belonged to the Cubist art movement as opposed to those central to the movement. This is to say that, Picasso and Braque were not as vocal in the promotion of the theories of Cubism as were the critic-poets, who included Apollinaire and Salmon and the artists, mainly, Jean Metzinger, Albert Gleizes, Fernand Leger, and Juan Gris.
As the source book explores the works and contributions of these artists, a reader is soon brought to the appreciation of how significant the works of each individual was and still is in painting the bigger picture of modern art as we know it. Both Salmon and Apollinaire wrote books detailing their experiences within the movement and reporting on the growth of the new order and its impact on the people of the time and their lives. In their books, which latter received many revisions, one can see how Cubism gained a greater and greater foothold on the works of art of those who chose to adopt the new artistic style.
Two great artists and writers of the time, Albert Gleizes (1881-1953) and Jean Metzinger (1883-1956), are credited with writing extensively on the inner growth of the movement. In a publication named ‘Du Cubisme’, the artists clearly explain and discuss the concepts that the new art movement was founded upon and those that it had come to represent, in particular, they brought to the awareness of the world the ‘conceptual’ nature of the new artistic style as opposed to the old ‘visual’ style of previous art movements and how the new way of painting was used to represents things in nature in a form that now resembled abstract art.
Another artist-writer who was concerned with the direction that the lives of ordinary people was taking was Fernand Leger (1881-1955) who was also passionately involved in educating the masses as to the importance of the new movement in tackling or checking the onslaught of certain aspects of modern life such as machinery, architecture, motion pictures, theatre and advertising art. After the First World War, Leger was involved in creating designs based on machinery he had come across during the war and this became a great source of his inspiration. His ideas and theories formed the basis of his lectures in 1912 and 1913. (Chipp, 197).
Cubism can, therefore, be said to have arisen during a period when the world was experiencing many changes that were now starting to change the way people were used to doing ordinary things. From the colonization of the African continent to the discovery of air transport the world, the world was going through a wave of changes that were sweeping through every aspect of their lives.
It was during this time of increasing discoveries and theories that Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque came together and decided to come up with a new style of art. The discoveries of the time had led to an emergence of an artistic avant-garde whereby coupled with the inception of Cubism at this juncture of history, was the imputing of a sense of freedom in the psyche of the people of that period and thus helping in facilitating that feeling of endless possibilities and bondless or limitless possibilities in their creativity. (Robinson, 15)
By introducing a new direction to the style of art that was radically different from the one commonly followed, Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque had confronted the old and most respected masters and the traditions they had helped establish over centuries. Indeed, this particular period can be equated as representing a revolution in art just as the industrial revolution was significant to the rise of the use of machinery and the production line in industrial plants.

This article has as its prime objective the task of trying to introduce the art movement of Cubism and to show the significant effect it has had to modern art in particular and to ordinary life in general.
The beginning of the 20th century is a period that witnessed many new and interesting changes to the established way of life. The effects of the industrial revolution of the 1700s had led to the rise of the use of machinery in ever more fields of the human endeavor. World War 1 and the transformation of the way people travelled through the invention of the airplane and the motorized vehicle, all provided a fertile ground for the emergence of a new artistic style of drawing, painting and designing, that was far removed what the world was used to.
Here we are introduced to the foremost architects of this modern form of art that had come to transform the way artists had been resigned to portraying subjects in their artistic compositions. These founding fathers of this art movement that was to be known as Cubism are non other than Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque. Even though they are not the foremost writers on the subject of the new artistic revolution, they bear the mantle in conjuring up the master plan and laying the groundwork for the introduction of this new form of art to the rest of the world.
I has also been shown how this new art movement came to influence other areas of our social, economic and political life as men who were involved the promotion of this artistic style gain higher and higher social status and others got to notice and feel their influence.
Cubism on the whole can be referred to as the new renaissance or rebirth of art or artistic revolution as it brought about a form of revolution which, just like other forms of revolution, its effects were felt and continue to be felt well beyond the intentions of those who initiated the movement.
Cubism not only represented freedom for artists but also showed the world the need and importance of opening up of one’s thinking in order to see the world in a different light which is what has enabled individuals as well as societies come up with the ingenious innovations that have continued to be witnessed during the better part of the 20th century and beyond.
The knowledge of the history and origins of Cubism is the knowledge of the story of man’s ability to think outside the box and from this the endless capabilities that emanate from the untapped wealth of creativity that lies within each individual, groups of people and the different societies of the world.


Chipp, Herschel B., Selz, Peter, Taylor, Joshua C. Theories of modern Art. A source book by artist and critics. University of California Press, L.A, USA, London UK, 1968.

Robinson, Shannon. Movements In Art: CUBISM. Creative Education, Minn. USA, 2006.

Ganteruhrer-Trier, Anne. CUBISM. TASCHEN. 2004.

Guillaume A., Dorothea E. CUBISM. Confidential Concepts, Parkstone Press USA, 2010.

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