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Two Kinds of Cubism in Art

Cubism is an avant-garde movement that lasted from about 1908 to 1914, but remained popular for decades afterwards. Pioneered by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque, Cubists broke down their subjects geometrically and reassembled them from different viewpoints so many aspects could be seen at one time. Analytic and Synthetic are the two main types of Cubism in art.


Analytic, or Analytical Cubism, which lasted from about 1908 to 1911 in France, was much more abstract than Synthetic: the figures were broken down and made unidentifiable. The artwork from this period used mainly simple, sharp, geometric shapes with subdued colors including grays, browns, dark greens, ocher and dark yellow. Classic examples of Analytic Cubism are "Pool Landscape" by Braque and "Ma Jolie" by Picasso.


Synthetic Cubism, developed by Juan Gris in addition to Picasso and Braque, followed Analytic and ushered in additional textures and materials to the mix. The use of collage materials in fine art was first used in this period. Synthetic Cubists also added more color and the figures became more recognizable, although still created to be seen from different vantage points. Picasso's "Three Musicians" and "Portrait of a Young Girl" and "The Guitar" by Juan Gris are good examples from this important period.


Cubism was a natural progression of the Impressionism and Expressionism movements and was highly influenced by painter Paul Cézanne. The name is derived from remarks made by art critic Louis Vauxcelles and fine artist Henri Matisse when they described a piece of Braque's work, "Houses at L'Estaque," as being composed of cubes.


In addition to Picasso, Braque and Gris, a number of renowned artists were involved in the Cubism movement. Some famous artists from this period are Fernand Leger, Robert Delaunay, Marcel Duchamp, Max Weber, Diego Rivera and Jacques Lipchitz.

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