Key Dates: 1908-1914

The Cubist art movement began in Paris around 1907. Led by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque, the Cubists broke from centuries of tradition in their painting by rejecting the single viewpoint. Instead they used an analytical system in which three-dimensional subjects were fragmented and redefined from several different points of view simultaneously.

The movement was conceived as ‘a new way of representing the world’, and assimilated outside influences, such as African art, as well as new theories on the nature of reality, such as Einstein’s Theory of Relativity.

Cubism is often divided into two phases – the Analytic phase (1907-12), and the Synthetic phase (1913 through the 1920s). The initial phase attempted to show objects as the mind, not the eye, perceives them.

The Synthetic phase featured works that were composed of fewer and simpler forms, in brighter colours. Other major exponents of Cubism included Robert Delaunay, Francis Picabia, Jean Metzinger, Marcel Duchamp and Fernand Léger.

Representative Artists:
Georges Braque
Pablo Picasso
Fernand Leger
Piet Mondrian
Sir Jacob Epstein
Juan Gris