Cubism is an art style spearheaded simultaneously by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque.
When they compared paintings in 1908, they realised that they had developed a new art style that was later dubbed by Guillaume Apollinaire to be ’cubism’. The two paintings above show how close the artwork of the two had become even though there was no intentional attempt to collaborate.
Cubism broke from centuries of tradition by rejecting the idea that art should depict a single viewpoint. Instead they used an analytical system in which three-dimensional subjects were fragmented and redefined from several different points of view simultaneously.
The hallmarks of cubism are the ’breaking down’ of form and space into geometrical shapes.
In contrast to traditional painting styles where the perspective of a subject is fixed in one time and space, cubist work can portray the subject from multiple perspectives and multiple lapses of time.
Cubism is sometimes regarded as having two phases – the Analytic phase (1907-12), and the Synthetic phase (1913 through the 1920s).
The initial phase attempted to show objects as the mind, not the eye, perceives them.
The Synthetic phase featured works that were composed of fewer and simpler forms, in brighter colours. Other major exponents of Cubism included Robert Delaunay, Francis Picabia, Jean Metzinger, Marcel Duchamp and Fernand Leger, Piet Mondrian and Sir Jacob Epstein.