The term cubism derives from the Latin “cubus”, which means “cube”. Cubism primarily deals with the artistic reduction of an object to geometric figures, such as spheres, cones or pyramids. Cubism developed between 1906 and 1908. Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque and Juan Gris are among the most important representatives of Cubism.
Cubism is primarily divided into two styles: analytical and synthetic cubism. Orphism or colour cubism is also known. They are characterized by the fact that on the one hand the sides of the object are subdivided (analytical cubism) and the summary of all sides of an object can be seen in one picture (synthetic cubism). It’s like standing not only in front of the object, but also laterally, behind, above and below it.
In the early days of Cubism, Cubists painted their pictures with only a few and rather pale colours. In their opinion, the forms and figures in the foreground would be lost through a lavish choice of colors. Only later did Cubist artists dare to experiment more with colors. In analytical or early Cubism, created around 1907-1911, it is purely a matter of dismantling the object. Geometric figures are used that fit together to represent the object composed of these figures. Here, as described above, the colors are kept pale in order not to separate the forms too strongly from each other, which together form an object.
The “synthetic” cubism
In synthetic cubism, c. 1912-1924, the object, which was divided into geometrical figures, was assembled to represent different perspectives on one and the same object. The Cubists now also use objects that do not belong together but flow into each other. In this direction the artists dare to add more colours to their pictures.
Synthetic cubism is also associated with the emergence of “collage”. Pablo Picasso glues real objects onto the canvas like sand or wood, mixing them with other elements like charcoal. In this way he creates a plastic view, for the materials emerge plastically from the picture.
Colour Cubism (or Orphism, which refers to the ancient singer Orpheus) was coined by the writer Apollinaire and represented above all by Robert Delaunay. It is understood as a higher degree of abstraction in which musicality, round forms, bright colours and even pure colour are expressed. In Orphism the colours are broken, colourful prisms are created which leave a light and musical impression. The colours are represented in a circle, based on the Michel Eugene Chevreul colour system (French chemist, 1786 – 1889).
The followers of colour cubism wanted to contrast pure painting with pure music. Cubofuturism also developed. Cubofuturism is a fusion of futurism and cubism. Characteristic for this style is the decomposition of the object into cylindrical forms. It was developed in Russia before the First World War and led to pure abstraction as can later be seen in Constructivism. Representatives of Cubos futurism are Kasimir Malevich and Ivan Puni, but also Lyubov Sergeyevna Popova.