Beginner's guide

Cubism is a terrible name. Except for a very brief moment, the style has nothing to do with cubes.

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The Cubist City – Robert Delaunay and Fernand Léger
The Cubist City – Robert Delaunay and Fernand Léger

Delaunay and Léger used Cubism’s abstract language of fractured forms and spatial dislocations to express the modern urban experience.

Salon Cubism
Salon Cubism

Cubism claimed to represent the modern world in new, specifically modern ways.

Georges Braque, <em>Violin and Palette</em>
Georges Braque, Violin and Palette

Despite its often baffling innovations, one of the defining features of Cubism is its engagement with the Western painting tradition.

Pablo Picasso, <em>The Three Musicians</em>
Pablo Picasso, The Three Musicians

Three Musicians looks like a collage made from cut out pieces of colored paper — but it is an oil painting.

Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso: <em>Two Cubist Musicians</em>
Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso: Two Cubist Musicians

When we consider what a Cubist painting represents we engage in an intellectual or conceptual activity rather than a merely perceptual or visual one.

Cubism and multiple perspectives
Cubism and multiple perspectives

This use of multiple perspectives was a hallmark of the Cubist style, but Braque and Picasso never explained why they employed this technique.

Pablo Picasso, <em>Portrait of Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler</em>
Pablo Picasso, Portrait of Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler

Picasso’s portrait of Kahnweiler presents the essential innovations of Analytic Cubism.

Cubist Sculpture I
Cubist Sculpture I

Guitar demonstrates the breakdown between art and life that becomes a key theme of twentieth-century sculpture.

Synthetic Cubism, Part II
Synthetic Cubism, Part II

Cubist collage had an enormous influence on modern art in the 20th century.

Synthetic Cubism, Part I
Synthetic Cubism, Part I

How did pieces of newspaper, wallpaper, construction paper, cloth, and even rope — end up in art?

Pablo Picasso and the new language of Cubism
Pablo Picasso and the new language of Cubism

Picasso was a technically skilled draftsman—so why did he choose to take his forms apart?

Pablo Picasso, <em>The Reservoir, Horta de Ebro</em>
Pablo Picasso, The Reservoir, Horta de Ebro

Ostensibly a landscape, this painting has little to do with nature.

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