Evolution of Cubism

According to Kahnweiler, "Picasso left behind what he himself had created, and transformed Cubism, which began as a school of severe discipline, into a doctrine of freedom." This puts it rather well: today the concept of Cubism is far broader than its original meaning based on the cubic formal structure of the works of 1908 and 1909. Analytic Cubism, which breaks up natural objects, was followed by Synthetic Cubism, the second great phase of the movement, which aims at reassembling the fragmented objects in the picture in accordance with the artist's formal intentions.

Note 11

This fundamentally new approach was first clearly formulated by Juan Gris, who in 1910 began to paint in a style very similar to Picasso's and Braque's. In 1921 he discussed the principles of his aesthetic system and briefly reviewed his experiences, defining the new creative process as a "synthesis," and describing it as a path leading from abstraction to reality, from the general to the particular—the reverse of that followed by Cézanne and Analytic Cubism. "Cézanne transformed a bottle into a cylinder," Juan Gris declared, "but I start from the cylinder to create an individual object of a specific type: from a cylinder I make a bottle. For Cézanne, architecture is the goal; for me, it is the starting point." The new objective is to "re-humanize" the abstract, to transmute spots of color into real objects. In conclusion Juan Gris likened the new "synthetic" way of painting to metric poetry, and the older way of painting, which tarts with the object, to prose: "This new painting is to the other as poetry is to prose."

Note 12

The comparison is exact. Impressionist painters liked naturalistic and psychological novels; the Cubist and lyric poet Picasso scorned them. Synthetic Cubism affirms and emphasizes the creative potential of pure form. The historical impact of Cubism, whose influence cannot be gauged even today, began to be felt only when it entered the second phase of its development, even though this second phase is inconceivable without the first, and even though both are the work of the same artists. The change of direction took place—if a date must be given—around 1912; but the first signs can of course be discovered earlier.

For many years it was to be the aim of Cubist painting to combine

-165-

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Picasso
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 2
  • Contents 5
  • Preface 7
  • Thoughts About Picasso 9
  • Introduction I: Nature and Abstraction 71
  • Introduction Ii: Range of Styles 95
  • Early Years in Barcelona and Paris 109
  • The Blue Period 120
  • The Rose Period 131
  • Origins of Cubism 141
  • Evolution of Cubism 165
  • Classical Interlude 175
  • Picasso and Surrealism 193
  • Symbolic Themes 206
  • Guernica 225
  • Portraits and Landscapes 240
  • Antibes 262
  • Vallauris: Ceramics 278
  • Sculpture 285
  • Ornament and Image. War and Peace 295
  • Notes and References 350
  • Classified Catalogue 453
  • Bibliograpby 516
  • Index of Names 523
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