Pablo Picasso


Cubism

Before Cubism, the lifelikeness was the major problem in the European art. Art had been evolving several centuries without bringing this concept into question. Even the impressionists, who started a new chapter in the history of painting devoted to light and fixation of fleeting impressions, were faced with the problem: how to capture the world on canvas.

The impetus for the development of a new art language was the following question: why make paintings? By the beginning of 20s century, just about anyone could learn the basics of “correct” drawing. Photography was actively developing, and it became clear that its domain would be the capturing of reality. The following question arose before the artists: how would art remain alive and relevant in a world where visual images were becoming more accessible and easier replicated? Picasso’s answer was extremely simple: the battery of art consists of its specific means, such as plane, line, color, and light, and it is not necessary that these means are put at the service of nature. The outside world only gives rise to the expression of the creator’s identity. Rejection of a life-like imitation of the objective world opened incredible opportunities to artists. This process occurred in several ways. “Liberation” of color was headed by Matisse, whereas the founders of Cubism, Braque and Picasso, were more inclined towards shape.

Originally, under the influence of Iberian and African art, as well as the ideas of Cezanne, Picasso began roughening and simplifying the outlines of figures and objects (during the period of early Cubism, 1906/07-1909). Examples include the 1908’ works. The figures in "Farmer’s Wife", "Dryad", "Three Women" and "Friendship" are easy to distinguish in the context of paintings, but are reduced to a certain combination of volumes conveyed with color. Cezanne said: “Treat nature by means of the cylinder, the sphere, the cone. Using these simple basic elements you can do anything”. The work "Two Nudes" is very Cezannesque, in this sense; human bodies are likened to the shapes of the surrounding world, they almost merge with it. Cezanne proclaimed: “Nature is a thing that cannot be reproduced, but must be represented by something else – by color”. He was echoed by Picasso: “Cubism has never been anything but art for the sake of art, which excludes all concepts of immaterial reality. Color is important only insofar as it helps to portray volumes”.

Many 1909’ still lives are playing with the viewpoint on the objects: for example, in the work "Bread and Fruit Dish" on a Table there is a topview on the dish and the fruits, whereas the inverted cup is seen from the side and slightly from the bottom up, as we do not see its bottom. Picasso was more freely manipulating the artistic means and was enabled to do all he pleased.

It was followed by Analytic Cubism (1909/10-1912). This style can be seen in "Portrait of Ambroise Vollard", on which Picasso worked in 1910. The merchant’s face is lit with a natural color, so it easily stands out from the blending of faces, fragmentary figures and lines (unlike it is with the Portrait of "Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler", where the face is not highlighted and the piece seems to be more formal and cold). The color in the works of this period underlines the dimensions and allows to reveal the sculpturesque essence of the object. Picasso on consistent object decomposition into heterogeneous details: “The viewer sees a painting in parts; one fragment at a time: for example, the head, but not the body, if it is a portrait; or eyes, but not the nose or the mouth. Consequently, everything is always right”.

Pablo Picasso. Green Bowl and Black Bottle, 1908
Green Bowl and Black Bottle, 1908
Pablo Picasso. Pot, Wine-Glass and Book, 1908
Pot, Wine-Glass and Book, 1908
Pablo Picasso. Decanter and tureens, 1908
Decanter and tureens, 1908
Pablo Picasso. Flowers in a Grey Jug and Wine-Glass with Spoon, 1908
Flowers in a Grey Jug and Wine-Glass with Spoon, 1908
Pablo Picasso. Two Naked Figures, 1908
Two Naked Figures, 1908
Pablo Picasso. Swimming, 1908
Swimming, 1908
Pablo Picasso. Vase of flowers, glass of wine, and spoon, 1908
Vase of flowers, glass of wine, and spoon, 1908
Pablo Picasso. Portrait of Fernarde, 1909
Portrait of Fernarde, 1909
Pablo Picasso. Bread and Fruit Dish on a Table, 1909
Bread and Fruit Dish on a Table, 1909
Pablo Picasso. Woman Playing the Mandoline, 1909
Woman Playing the Mandoline, 1909
Pablo Picasso. Man with Arms Crossed, 1909
Man with Arms Crossed, 1909
Pablo Picasso. Woman with a Fan, 1909
Woman with a Fan, 1909
Pablo Picasso. Nude, 1909
Nude, 1909
Pablo Picasso. Compotier, Fruit, and Glass, 1909
Compotier, Fruit, and Glass, 1909
Pablo Picasso. Young Woman, 1909
Young Woman, 1909
Pablo Picasso. Factory in Horta de Sant Joan, 1909
Factory in Horta de Sant Joan, 1909
Pablo Picasso. Head of a Woman (Fernande), 1909
Head of a Woman (Fernande), 1909
Pablo Picasso. Portrait of Ambroise Vollard, 1910
Portrait of Ambroise Vollard, 1910
Pablo Picasso. Nude Woman, 1910
Nude Woman, 1910
Pablo Picasso. Portrait of Daniel-Henry-Kahnweiler, 1910
Portrait of Daniel-Henry-Kahnweiler, 1910
Pablo Picasso. Still-Life with Chair Caning, 1911 - 1912
Still-Life with Chair Caning, 1911 - 1912
Pablo Picasso. Violin, 1912
Violin, 1912
Pablo Picasso. Nude, I love Eva, 1912
Nude, I love Eva, 1912
Pablo Picasso. The Restaurant: Turkey with Truffles and Wine, 1912
The Restaurant: Turkey with Truffles and Wine, 1912
Pablo Picasso. Bottle of Pernod (Table in a Cafe), 1912
Bottle of Pernod (Table in a Cafe), 1912
Pablo Picasso. Musical Instruments, 1912
Musical Instruments, 1912
Pablo Picasso. Tavern (The Ham), 1912
Tavern (The Ham), 1912
Pablo Picasso. Violin and Guitar, 1913
Violin and Guitar, 1913
Pablo Picasso. Clarinet and Violin, 1913
Clarinet and Violin, 1913
Pablo Picasso. Guitar, 1913
Guitar, 1913
Pablo Picasso. The Card-Player, 1913 - 1914
The Card-Player, 1913 - 1914
Pablo Picasso. Composition. Bowl of Fruit and Sliced ​​Pear, 1913 - 1914
Composition. Bowl of Fruit and Sliced ​​Pear, 1913 - 1914
Pablo Picasso. Fruit Vase and Bunch of Grapes, 1914
Fruit Vase and Bunch of Grapes, 1914
Pablo Picasso. Harlequin, 1915
Harlequin, 1915
Pablo Picasso. Polichinelle with Guitar Before the Stage Curtain, 1919
Polichinelle with Guitar Before the Stage Curtain, 1919
Pablo Picasso. Three Musicians, 1921
Three Musicians, 1921
Pablo Picasso. Three Musicians, 1921
Three Musicians, 1921
Pablo Picasso. Still Life with Guitar, 1921
Still Life with Guitar, 1921


All works of cubism period by years