Cubist Decade Term Paper

Pages: 5 (1300 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 3  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Art  (general)

¶ … Jacques Barzun covers the Cubist Decade in the third part of his best known work, "From Dawn to Decadence: 500 Years of Western Cultural Life, 1500 to the Present," dealing with the period from Romanticism to the First World War.

The Cubist Movement is, first of all, defined as a decadent movement. The definition for a decadent culture or a decadent movement (a cultural movement as a subpart of a culture) comes from Jacques Barzun himself: "when people accept futility and the absurd as normal, the culture is decadent." In this sense, decadence, in Barzun's image, is associated with a certain deformation of sensibility with regard to the artwork that is observed. The decadence itself does not become a reality until the absurd artwork is accepted as being normal. Until then, it is still a theoretical concept, an illusion rather than a presence.

The Cubist Period seems to fit well into this decadent concept. First of all, it represents a break with any precedent period in art history. It is innovative, but, at the same time, outrageous, a break with traditional sensibility and a new approach to art representation. The entire decade from 1905 to 1914 is marked by a significant cultural turning point. Even more so, the cubist decade is a primordial, defining experience for all art and cultural manifestations of the 20th century.

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In many ways, according to Barzun, the Cubist Decade was, first of all, simultaneous. It was indeed simultaneous through its various cultural manifestations, which ranged from painting to literature. Writers such as Gertrude Stein or Walter Arensburg are examples of cubist writers.

Second of all, it was a populist movement. It was a populist movement both because of the creators and of the receptors. The cubist art came in direct contact with the artist's sensibility and his expression and was a destructive connection with the inner feelings of the artist.

Term Paper on Cubist Decade Assignment

Third of all, and most important, it was innovatory. The Cubist Decade broke away from all traditional representations of the subject and, by breaking it down into geometrical shapes and forms and by inventing angles that may have not been available, the transformation effect was certainly complete.

Resuming, the Cubist Decade had several characteristics that not only broke away with former perceptions, but, indeed, laid the path for future cultural manifestations in the 20th century. Its evident particular characteristics meant that Cubism would lead the way into the cultural 20th century. Of course, decadence is often a word tied to Cubism, as the first cultural manifestation where absurd art twisted the usual sensibility. Partially true, the decadent explanation is not a justification for the progress component Cubism brought about at the beginning of the century.

b. First of all, the simultaneity principle has a global perspective and refers to the applicability of cubism ideas and cubism principle to film, literature, music or drama. I have previously mentioned literature as one of the reflections of Cubism in other areas and have related to authors such as Gertrude Stein for exemplification.

On the other hand, the film industry of the period from 1905 to 1914 marks certain progresses, both from an interpretative and technological aspect. The beginning of the 20th century marks the work of George Melies, a former successful magician who was considered one of the pioneers of cinema and film. Starting with him, we are already deemed to see the populist principle in the film industry: a show for the people, designed to reflect their inner beliefs and satisfy their needs. On the other hand, George Melies was also innovative and creative, bringing the film industry to face a beginning which would reflect over the next hundred of years.

As the visionary he was, Barzun marks Cubism and the Cubist Decade as the Renaissance spirit of the 20th century. Innovative and outrageous, breaking with the traditional forms of representation, universal in its expression… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "Cubist Decade" Term Paper in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Cubist Decade.  (2005, May 26).  Retrieved April 1, 2020, from

MLA Format

"Cubist Decade."  26 May 2005.  Web.  1 April 2020. <>.

Chicago Style

"Cubist Decade."  May 26, 2005.  Accessed April 1, 2020.