Throughout history, art has always been an indispensable part of human’s society. From the beginning of time until the development of technology, artworks all around the world have greatly dedicated to theprosperity of our civilization. It is undeniable that without art, our world would gradually lose its beauty andlove. As time kept passing by, art continues to fulfill its important mission, thanks to the perpetuating passionthat artists have in what they are doing. And a typical artist who has poured all of his heart into every singleartwork of his and left invaluable treasures to the art world, who is considered one of the most influential artistsof the 20th century is Pablo Picasso. There are several phrases to the course of his artistic career. However, itcould be said that Cubism is the most revolutionizing movement that has contributed greatly to the history of art.It has opened us up to different ways of looking at art that we have never seen before.
The birth and development of Cubism are quite tumultuous, though fascinating. From 1907 to 1914,Pablo Picasso and George Braque have collaborated to create Cubism. In 1908, at the L’Estaque in emulation ofCe?zanne , the name of the style was created from Louis Vauxcelles’s comment on Braque’s landscape paintingsas he regarded the forms of geometry in Braque’s pieces as “cubes”. The beginning of cubism is said to havebeen inspired by Primitivism as well as art that come from countries that are out of the West. One example ofthis is the Demoiselles d’Avignon, which was a painting of Picasso in 1907.
The painting was influenced byAfrican Art, and probably by his visit to an ethnographic museum in Paris (Rewald) . Nevertheless, at the time,not everyone finds Cubism acceptable, including Leo’s Stein, an American art critic, who is also the brother ofGertrude Stein, an enthusiastic supporter of Picasso. He called the painting “a horrible mess” (Giroud 35-38) .This way of thinking is understandable because Cubism disregards principles that are deemed traditional inpainting. The objectives of Cubist artists was to embrace the canvas’ sense of two-dimensionality. They did notthink that artist should follow the conventional ways of doing perspective and depth or imitating the nature. Thatis the reason why they broke objects down into forms of geometry and rearrange them into a space that isshallower.
Many vantage points are also utilized in Cubism. As we can see, the story about the rise of Cubism is quite interesting because we can see the challenge it faced, and how it challenged the old ways of thinking in art (Rewald). As time flew by, Cubism continued to be the topic of research and analyzation from many scholars ofdifferent fields, which has revealed even more extraordinary things about this movement, particular his use ofprinciples to create Cubism, and how Cubism has left legacy for the future advancement of art, by using thegeometry principles from a seemingly unrelated field – science.
There is a possibility that Picasso has usedphotographs to explore space and then he also applied the rules of fourth-dimension into his visual constructionof space. This unique appropriation of was seen by researchers to have some relationship to Picasso’s artisticexperimentations, particularly in the year of 1909. Critics have viewed this period as the time he “produced themost important paintings of his early Cubist Period”. A technique of geometric faceting, which is quite logical,is being consolidated by the analysis of Picasso of Cezanne’s moving perspectives.
It has also been pinpointedby another critic that photography has probably contributed significantly to perspectives as well as the visualplanes’ formation. The creation of those elements has become the things that characterizes the developed styleof Picasso’s Cubism (Ambrosio 211-212) . As can be seen, Picasso must have applied many incredible things onhis journey to the creation of Cubism. Photography has speculated to have some contributions to the birth of Cubism. Also the rigorous yearof 1909, Picasso has planned a special trip to Horta de Ebro during the summer to incorporate photography intopainting.
Picasso went on this trip with his mistress at the moment, Fernande Olivier. Picasso photographedseveral landscape photos on his trip to Spain, as well as some other of the inside of his studio. Critics havenoticed that among those photos of Picasso’s studio interior, there are some that “provided a kind ofspatiotemporal pre?cis of the work in progress”. These photographs might also be relevant to his perpetuatingenthusiasm in changing his artworks creatively, as can be said as ‘the conceptual transformations in the workitself and in relation to other works’. It is not clear what is the main concentration of Picasso photographs of hisown studio, but because it is not completely clear, the photos became even more fascinating. The photos’composition has a sense of pictorial premeditated disharmony created by the arrangement of the paintings whosesizes are not similar. Picasso even created the combination of four paintings to compose one photo by laying onenegative photo over another one (Ambrosio 212) .
Evidently, photography might have dedicated its part to theestablishment of Cubism by assisting Picasso in exploring and understanding space, even though it is not oftencelebrated and mentioned in the success of the movement. There is one photo from the studio photo group that can unveil the source of Cubism. The photo isunconventional and special because of its collation of four finished portraits of various sizes, and some othersketches. On the left side of this photo, there is a smaller portrait. Right above it, there are several drawings.
Picasso’s paintings that are caught in photos are usually talked about very often, but this is not the case with thispiece. In literature, the piece is not mentioned a lot, and so its name is not exactly identified. It was a portrait ofhis lover Fernande. Picasso has captured her torment in it.
At the time, her kidney got infected, which left her inpain for a good part of her Horta trip. Picasso did not care about her situation very much, but instead, he utilizedit for his creative aim. Even though the work has not been discussed much in books, it has some association withgeometry, namely in the composition. Geometry is an even bigger focus in this piece than in the work “SeatedWoman”, the bigger work in this photo that takes even more space in the photograph. The planes that are bentand shaded makes up the head of Fernande, while her eyes carry the shape of diamonds. Those eyes rise fromthe eye sockets that have geometric spots.
Her nose is a chunk that is a little bit tilted. Her cheekbones aregeometrically sharp and they break her face into a number of picture planes that are separate. Her face is framedby a mantilla that is also simplified into geometric shapes. The other sketches on the wall, when being observedcarefully, can show that before putting the shapes of geometry together, Picasso has worked on each element ofthe composition. That seems to be what he did for not only this painting but also the ones that are around it.Nevertheless, it is easier to recognize that the reconstruction in terms of concepts of dimensional association. Ithas become the characteristic of this painting are eye-captivating and might have been visually inspired byJouffret Traite?.
All of those investigations make it become more surprising that literature has not given it muchattention when it comes to Cubist geometry. The fact that Picasso’s way of constructing this piece isrepresentative of multiple perspectives and picture planes intersection, is relatively noticeable. What is moreinteresting is that this component has also been pointed out in a painting of Picasso in 1910, which is called”Portrait of Ambroise Vollard”.
This discovery connects this piece to the four-dimensional solid projections ofEsprit Jouffret. It is argued that there was a visual similarity between Cubist geometry, which includes themultiple viewpoints and other documentaries, namely Jouffret’s Traite?. Despite being known later, artists ofCubism has utilized it, as said by Henderson “If someone familiar with n-dimensional geometry, such asMaurice Princet had pointed out a visual similarity between Picasso’s latest painting and a geometrical diagramsuch as Jouffret’s, it would have seemed to confirm the direction Cubism had taken.” Therefore, it might makemore sense if the beginning time of Cubism is pinned in 1910, rather than 1907, which is earlier.
Picasso’s painting of his mistress is an example of the direction of geometry being applied as well as the possible use ofJouffret’s Traite? before the Portrait of Ambroise Vollard is finished (Ambrosio 212-213) . It is incredible how aphotograph can reveal so much about one of the greatest art movements of the 20th century. As our history progresses, Cubism continues to prove its place in our society. Cubism was claimed, bythe Metropolitan Museum of Art as “the most influential art movement of the early 20th century,” and themuseum itself also held an exhibition of approximately 80 Cubist artworks.
This statement has proved itself tobe correct as “Femme assise”, a painting Picasso created with the subject of his lover Fernande Olivier, has beensold for approximately $63.6 million, or $61.3 million with fees. Before this, in 1997, “Femme assise dans unfauteuil (Eva)”, a Cubist oil painting of Picasso that was painted in 1913, one that is museum-quality, was alsosold for $24.
8 million. However, the prices offered for those paintings above are still nothing compared to theamount of money paid for “Les Femmes d’Alger (Version ‘O’) in May 2015, which was $179.4 million(Reyburn) . Even though Cubism is often thought of as not-easy-to-sell, once its paintings are bid, it has provenits place in the history of art as one of the peak time of creativity, not only for Picasso but also for generations ofartists.
It takes a lot of talent, a lot of hard work to create such a wonderful movement, an amazing art stylelike Cubism. It has introduced us to new ways of perceiving our surroundings and helped us to become moreflexible in terms of viewing our world. Cubism is unique because of the intellectuality lying in the way that it isformed, namely Picasso’s use of the principles of fourth dimensions.
It is different because of its palette that isoften simple, monochromatic but still wonderfully efficient. Cubism’s contributions to the art are undeniable,and it will always hold a high place in the art world, in particular, and in our past, contemporary, and futuresociety, in general.