Cubism and Sculpture Term Paper

Pages: 8 (2572 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 25  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Art  (general)

Artists like Picasso and Gauguin found formal ideas and images in the so-called primitive societies that resonated with energy and a new artistic rhythm.

Les Demoiselles D'Avignon is often invoked as the painting that started Cubism. A central aspect that the African mask motif created in Picasso's work was the challenge that it set up to ideas and normative perception of natural form.

The Negro sculptures radically abstract from natural forms: with their large noses protruding at sharp angles from the concave faces, they are the very opposite of everything Classical. Under their influence Picasso completely negated the natural form for the first time in the Demoiselles d'Avignon." (Boeck and Sabartes 147)

The primitive or archaic conventions are startling in the painting; particularly if we study the two noses of the two central figures in Demoiselles d'Avignon and they are evidence of Cubism. They are drawn in profile upon frontal faces. This device was to become common in Cubism. An example of this is the upper head in the painting, which is foreshortened with a flat ridged nose, a sharp chin, small oval mouth and deleted ears; these are all characteristics of "Negro" masks. There are many other examples of these influences in Picasso's "Negro" period, including The Woman in Yellow.

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It is also important to realize that Picasso did not see himself in any sense as a theorist and did not view Cubism as a body of intellectual knowledge prior to the actual experience of the work of art.

Term Paper on Cubism and Sculpture Cubism as Assignment

Picasso himself has defined Cubism as 'an art dealing primarily with forms, and when a form is realized, it is there to live its own life'. The aim is not to analyse a given subject: in the same statement Picasso disowned any idea of research, which he saw rather as 'the principal fault of modern art'. Cubism, he said, has kept itself within the limits and limitations of painting as always practised -- only the subjects painted might be different, 'as we have introduced into painting objects and forms that were formerly ignored'. But 'mathematics, trigonometry, chemistry, psychoanalysis, music and whatnot, have been related to Cubism to give it an easier interpretation. All this has been pure literature, not to say nonsense, which brought bad results, blinding people with theories'.

(Read 1959, 78)

Picasso created several wood carvings in 1907 that owe a direct debt to African masks and reflect the Cubist style of Les Demoiselles D'Avignon. He cast small bronzes such as Head of a Woman (1907) which reveals the development of the cubist style, which was simultaneously developing in his painting. A Greater degree of 'distortion' can be seen the Women's Head (1909).

In the following years he created a number of sculptural constructions that relate to the Cubist style, such as the sheet-metal and wire Guitar (1912, Museum of Modern Art, New York City) and the wooden Wineglass and Die (1914, estate of the artist).

Sculpture in the Twentieth century owes a great degree of to the original Cubism of Picasso and others who pioneered this style in the early year of the century. They succeeded in releasing sculpture from its reliance on traditional forms of expression and invigorated art to new heights of experimentation and growth.


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The term 'Cubism" was not initially adopted by the artists in question and it only later became a term to describe this style of art. [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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