Picasso and Braque Cubism Research Paper

Pages: 5 (1299 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 6  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Art  (general)

Picasso and Braque

Cubism refers to a revolutionary style of art that emerged in Paris during the early part of the twentieth century, 1907 through 1914, and is credited to the creations of two particular painters, Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque (Cubism pp).

The major characteristic of the Cubist style is the rejection of the traditional techniques of perspective, foreshortening, modeling, and chiaroscuro and ignoring the accepted theories that art must imitate nature (Cubism pp). Instead, the artists chose to emphasize the flat two-dimensional surface of the picture plane and refused to be bound to copy form, texture, color and space, but rather present reality in a new way that showed fragmented objects, "whose several sides were seen simultaneously" (Cubism pp).

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Georges Braque was born May 13, 1882, in Argenteuil-sur-Seine and by 1902 he had moved to Paris to study the art of painting (Georges pp). In 1905, impressed by the exhibition, "Fauves," that included work by Henri Matisse and Andre Derain, who used brilliant colors and loose forms, Braque adopted Fauvism from 1906 through 1907 (Georges pp). However, by the following year he had shifted his interests to the paintings of Paul Cezanne, whose strange and distorted forms and "unconventional perspective" led Braque to begin painting in the style that came to be known as cubism (Georges pp). From 1908 to 1913, he studied the effects of light and perspective and questioned the majority of artistic conventions (Georges pp). For example, in his village scenes, he often reduced an architectural structure to a geometric form or rectangular prism and applied shading to make it look both flat and three-dimensional, thus drawing attention to the "very nature of visual illusion and artistic representation" (Georges pp).

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In 1909, Braque began working closely with Pablo Picasso, who "had been developing a similar approach to painting," and both produced work of "neutralized color and complex patterns of faceted form," now referred to as analytic cubism, 1910-1912, and can be seen in Braque's "Violin and Pitcher" (Georges pp). Moreover, both artists experimented with collage, a medium of using materials such as paper or fabric to create an image (Georges pp). The working collaboration between Braque and Picasso continued until 1914, when Braque enlisted in the French army in World War I, where he was severely wounded (Georges pp).

In 1917, after returning from the war, Braque worked alone and developed a more personal style that was "characterized by brilliant color and textured surfaces" and returned to the human figure as a subject (Georges pp). Painting many still lifes, he maintained his emphasis on structure, producing numerous paintings, graphics and sculptures during his lifetime (Georges pp). He died in 1963.

The term, cubism, is said to have come from the remarks by Matisse and critic Louis Vauxcelles as they described Braque's 1908 "Houses at L'Estaque," a work composed of cubes (Cubism pp). In this work, "the volumes of the houses, the cylindrical forms of the trees, and the tan-and-green color scheme" resemble Cezanne's landscapes (Cubism pp). However, it was Picasso's 1907 "Les demoiselles d'Avignon" that truly forecasted this new style (Cubism pp). In this piece, "the forms of five female nudes became fractured, angular shapes...warm reddish browns advancing and the cool blues receding" (Cubism pp).

Pablo Picasso, 1881-1973, was a Spanish painter, sculptor, ceramist, and graphic artist, who due to his versatility and prolificity is considered to have been the foremost figure in twentieth century art (Picasso pp). After studying art at the Royal Academy of Art in Barcelona at the age of fifteen, he moved to Paris in 1900, where Toulouse-Lautrec influenced his early works (Picasso pp).

Picasso's production is generally described in terms of a series of overlapping periods (Picasso pp). His "blue period," 1901-1904, is characterized by depicting the world of the poor, using predominantly blue tones (Picasso pp). These melancholy paintings, such as the 1903 "The Old Guitarist," are among… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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