3 Different Types of Cubism in Art

Cubism is a revolutionary art movement that emerged in the 20th century. It is known for its unique approach to depicting the world through fragmented, geometric shapes.

The movement was founded by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque in Paris, and it quickly spread throughout Europe and beyond.

There are three main types of Cubism, each with its own distinct characteristics:

  • Proto-Cubism
  • Analytical Cubism
  • Synthetic Cubism

Proto-Cubism introduced the use of simplified forms and flattened planes, which would become a hallmark of Cubist art.

Analytical Cubism, for example, is characterized by its use of monochromatic colors and its emphasis on breaking down objects into their component parts.

The Weeping Woman

Synthetic Cubism, on the other hand, is known for its use of collage and its incorporation of everyday objects into artwork.

Other kinds of Cubism include Orphic Cubism, which emphasizes bright colors and abstract shapes, and Futurist Cubism, which incorporates elements of the Futurist movement, but these are seen as only very minor movements.

Different Kinds of Cubism

1. Proto-Cubism

Proto-Cubism is the early stage of the Cubist movement that emerged in the early 20th century. It was characterized by the use of geometric shapes and the fragmentation of form, as well as an interest in the depiction of multiple viewpoints.

Proto-Cubism was influenced by the work of Paul Cézanne, who sought to break down traditional perspective and represent form in a more abstract way.

In Proto-Cubism, artists began to experiment with the use of multiple viewpoints and the representation of form through geometric shapes. This led to the development of Analytical Cubism, which is characterized by the use of multiple viewpoints and the fragmentation of form.

Bibemus Quarry

Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque were the pioneers of Analytical Cubism, and they used this style to create works that were highly abstract and difficult to decipher.

One of the key techniques used in Proto-Cubism was the use of papier collé, or “glued paper.” This technique involved the use of cut-out pieces of paper, which were glued onto the surface of the canvas. This allowed artists to create complex compositions that were made up of multiple layers and textures.

Late Cubism, which emerged towards the end of the movement, was characterized by a return to more representational forms. This was in part a response to the growing popularity of abstraction in the art world, and artists sought to create works that were more accessible to a wider audience.

Proto-Cubism was a highly influential movement that paved the way for the development of Analytical Cubism and other forms of abstraction in art.

It was characterized by a fascination with form, perspective, and the use of geometric shapes, and it remains an important part of the history of modern art.

2. Analytical Cubism

Analytical Cubism is a style of Cubism developed by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque in the early 1900s. This style of art sought to break down objects into their basic geometric shapes and analyze them from multiple viewpoints.

The artists would then reconstruct the objects in a two-dimensional space, creating a new, abstracted version of reality.

Cubist Self-Portrait, 1923 - Salvador Dali

One of the key features of Analytical Cubism was the use of multiple viewpoints. The artists would depict an object from different angles and perspectives, creating a fragmented and abstracted image.

This technique allowed them to explore three-dimensional space on a two-dimensional picture plane.

Modeling, shading, and textures were not as important in Analytical Cubism as they were in other styles of art. Instead, the artists focused on the underlying structure of the object and how it could be broken down into basic shapes. This resulted in a flatter, more abstracted image.

Newsprint was often used in Analytical Cubism as a way to add texture and depth to the artwork. The artists would glue pieces of newsprint onto the canvas and then paint over them. This created a layered effect and added to the overall complexity of the piece.

La Femme au Cheval

Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler was an art dealer who played a significant role in the development of Analytical Cubism. He was one of the first people to recognize the potential of Picasso and Braque’s work and helped to promote their art to a wider audience.

Overall, Analytical Cubism was a groundbreaking style of art that pushed the boundaries of traditional representation. By breaking down objects into their basic shapes and exploring them from multiple viewpoints, the artists created a new way of looking at the world.

3. Synthetic Cubism

Synthetic Cubism is a later phase of Cubism, which emerged in the early 20th century. It was developed by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque, and it lasted from 1912 to 1914.

This phase of Cubism is characterized by the use of collage, which involves the incorporation of everyday objects, such as newspaper clippings, into the artwork.

Three Muscians - Picasso

In Synthetic Cubism, artists began to move away from the monochromatic color schemes of Analytic Cubism and started to use brighter and more vibrant colors.

They also started to use stenciling, lettering, and other graphic elements in their artwork. The use of these techniques helped to create a more decorative and playful style of Cubism.

One of the most notable features of Synthetic Cubism is the use of collage. Picasso and Braque used collage to incorporate everyday objects into their artwork, such as newspaper clippings, sheet music, and even pieces of furniture.

By doing so, they were able to create a new visual language that reflected the modern world.

Portrait of Josette

Another important aspect of Synthetic Cubism is the use of sculpture. Picasso and Braque began to create sculptures that were made up of everyday objects, such as bottles, glasses, and pipes.

These sculptures were often referred to as “constructed sculptures” and were a way for the artists to bring their Cubist ideas into three-dimensional space.

Late Cubism

Late Cubism, also known as Synthetic Cubism, emerged around 1912 and lasted until 1914. During this period, artists like Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque began to experiment with different materials, such as paper, fabric, and newsprint, to create collages and mixed media works.

In contrast to the earlier Analytical Cubism, which focused on breaking down objects into smaller geometric shapes, Late Cubism aimed to create a more cohesive image by incorporating real-life elements into the artwork. This resulted in a more decorative and playful style, with vibrant colors and patterns.

One of the key features of Late Cubism was the use of the flattened picture plane, where objects were depicted as if they were pressed against the surface of the canvas. This created a sense of depth and space, while also emphasizing the two-dimensional nature of the artwork.

Late Cubism was influenced by a range of artistic movements, including Realism, Romanticism, and Art Nouveau. It also had a significant impact on the development of modern art, inspiring artists like the Surrealists and Abstract Expressionists.

Late Cubism represents a significant shift in the way artists approached the creation of art, emphasizing the importance of experimentation and innovation in the artistic process.