View Full Version : Cubism? I erm don't get it.

04 April 2005, 01:46 AM
Ok just came on the forums and found this new board. Thought I'd try it out...

I need to put together a project on cubism, but I never really got taught it. Yeah I can look at an image and know its cubist but what is it?!

How for example do I go about creating a cubist piece? I'm not sure how it works or what the images try to achieve? its all so abstract to me, probably all this 3d and direct observation has turned me into a logical unimaginative robot. I've copied some Picasso's and tried to get a feel for it, but I dont feel like I really know what Im doing.

I know a few ground rules about the use of tone and the use of multiple sides of an object but other than that Im lost...

Do I need to be on drugs to make cubist art?!!?



04 April 2005, 01:51 AM
A cube has 6 sides, but you can only see 3 at a time. Cubism is showing all six sides in one image. How you show that? dunno, maybe drugs like you said.

04 April 2005, 01:56 AM
A cube has 6 sides, but you can only see 3 at a time. Cubism is showing all six sides in one image. How you show that? dunno, maybe drugs like you said.

lol that's the farthest thing from cubism ever. In a small bit: Cubism is the ability to show the space inbetween objects while looking at what you are depicting as a whole. Not necessarily the objects in the image, but rather the space as an entity itself. This I gathered was what we were doing when I was painting in the style in my painting class. Regardless of this is exactly right or not (I can't "define art" very well), I am certain that danistheman's response is not very accurate.

04 April 2005, 02:04 AM
The key concept of Cubism is that the essence of objects can only be captured by showing it from multiple points of view simultaneously. (

I think we're both kind of right.

04 April 2005, 02:22 AM
hmm yea I think so too. I never really studied it with trying to objectify different objects though through different angles. It was always "the space between the objects". But yea, it's hard as hell and I only got it in the last painting I did in the study. :\

04 April 2005, 02:26 AM
Thanks for that link. :) More research for me.

Its so hard to understand how I could compose and image and such. Especially when there are no hard rules.

But yea, it's hard as hell :\

Encouraging. :scream:


04 April 2005, 02:45 AM
I think the basic aspect of cubism was to view the subject from many different locations, that were not in any particular order. Such as seen in the works of Braque and Picasso, where you see a "discord" of different squares that cannot be arranged correctly even if you tried.

04 April 2005, 02:56 AM
Yes, it sometimes show more than a side of an object, but there are lot more than it in this art movement.

Let´s say it started a little before Picasso, with Cezanne. Hope you like the explanation.

Cezanne painted ignoring the rules of perspective, so he could compose his painting the way he wanted. The key idea is to stop understanding the canvas as a windown to the world, and realize it´s a flat, 2D space were you put paint to form images. Being so, it´s less important if a table is in the correct rules of perspective than the fact that it´s shape are well putten to form the composition. It´s a way of constructing your images with the pictorial elements, without trying to mimetize the world.

Just to enfatize what i´m saying, later in time, Magrit painted a Pipe and wrote underneath it "It´s not a Pipe". So what in hell is that thing tat looks so much like a Pipe? A painting, of course. For us today that may seen normal, but back then it was a inovating tought.

Picasso took the Cezanne way to construct his image to the extreme, and created a way to make a 3D scene into his 2D canvas, without trick us to think it´s 3D!

In his 2 Dimensional Space Quest, he had to use less colours, so his paintings wouldn´t be so damn confuse, hehe... He also started to use Types in the paintings, collages, and in the process of desconstructing the images he created the "Tableau - Object", that was a 3D painting in a 3D space, leaving the surface of the 2D canvas.

There´s a lot more to talk about this art movement, but i hope it helps you understand it!

04 April 2005, 03:01 AM
Cubism also has very specific subject matter; I believe pleasures of the kitchen, pleasures of the cafe, and pleasures of music are the main ones.

04 April 2005, 03:22 AM
This goes along with what DoInferno wrote concerning Cezanne. You can't just study one art movement and understand it. You need to go back and find out where Cubism came from to understand it more. Then you need to go forwards and see what came of cubism.

For starters (going backwards in time) look @:
Pablo Picasso's pre-cubist works
Henri Mattise
Cezanne (as mentioned before)
Van Gogh (Post Impressionism)
Claude Monet
Manet (Realist)
Daurnier (Realist)

One thing that you will notice from around the Realist (maybe eariler, cant remember exactly) movement is that painting started to go from very 3 dimensional to very flat. Pretty much a transformation. Then past cubism things get even flatter until you hit Kandinsky, Piet Mondrian, even to American Abrstract Expressionist painter, Jackson Pollock. Do a google search on each, lots of good info.

Good luck!


04 April 2005, 03:49 AM
A cube has 6 sides, but you can only see 3 at a time. Cubism is showing all six sides in one image. How you show that?

Oh, that's easy! It's called UV unwrapping. :)

04 April 2005, 04:30 AM
Yeh, Cubism was an art movement in early 20th century that started and ended with Picasso, but Cubism as a way of thinking had spawned a historical revolution in the art and representation of the idea. By itself, is a way of thinking, knowing, and expressing. It took several forms and evolved into different media from simple 2D collage work to architecture. So, yes it is about multiple view points that extends through time, synthetically assembled and explicitely demonstrated.

How to paint like a Cubist? well, there is not even a guideline, what ever you do will be received as an imitation of Picasso. But to take advantage of this great movement, you will need to understand the essence of it. Cubism is not a style, as declared by some art historians who like to label anything so they are coined with being the first to recognize such and such. Cubism, is deeply rooted in the development of human thinking from Classicism to the Avant-Garde work of artists, architects, philosophers, physicists, playwriters, etc.

Sorry, I will contribute more into this thread, but have to run.

I am not what I am. I am what I am not. (Hegel)

04 April 2005, 04:34 AM
Oh, that's easy! It's called UV unwrapping. :) That or painting/depicting objects that are shatered and lay on some surface in front of you.

I had this painting assignment in college and we were supposed to do it in cubist style. I got yelled at with my first attempt. So I took the objects, smashed and tore them all apart, set up a still-life, painted that and got an "A". I was told that I cheated though :rolleyes: :D

04 April 2005, 10:24 AM
Cubism also has very specific subject matter; I believe pleasures of the kitchen, pleasures of the cafe, and pleasures of music are the main ones.

yeah, and war.

04 April 2005, 12:33 PM
I can imagine that drawing/painting a cubist piece of art from observation would be extremely hard and time consuming. I have done a project on cubism before and needed to do a cubist painting as part of that project. To make it easy for myself this is what I did:

From looking at past and famous cubist works, you have probably noticed that the “subject” of the painting is predominantly still-life. Therefore, I arranged my inanimate objects on a table, set up good lighting and took many photographs of it many different angles and distances. Later, after discarding some of the “less good” photographs, I opened them all up in Photoshop. After carefully looking at the shape of the “fragments” in famous cubist works, I continued to cut angular sections out of my photographs with the polygonal lasso. At the same time I composed what my painting would look like in a fresh canvas (considering dpi), and gradually built up my image, much like a jigsaw puzzle. I was sure to have a nice range of different angles in my choice of photographs. When I had all my chosen photograph fragments laid out, I then merged them all together and carried out minor adjustments, (brightness/contrast, colour balance, saturation, levels, blahblahblah) - I also colourised mine blue as I wanted to add something a little different in to my painting. But, a suitable colour would be dark, under-saturated browns, greens, etc. Once I was satisfied with my image, I then got a high-quality print of a suitable size. I could then use this print to paint from. I found it much easier, as I’m sure everyone would.

Of course, instead of using photographs, you could easily model something in a 3D app, and then render it at many different angles and views.

04 April 2005, 07:57 PM
I certaily hope that this isn't a thread on how to do a cubist piece for a class project. If so it is extremely damaging. It is good to have discussions, but I think that it is important that in this case for example for sake of arguement that it is? Then we completely spoon feed the central themes, (sort of) and how exactly to do the assignment (Xeophex).

Man I certainly pity the professors and teachers who have to figure out how to deal with these issues of gauging what exactly the type of work students are actually doing? I guess ultimately it is based on the honor system of the student. God help us all.

So on the subject.
Not that I am an art historian, but I am a fan of history and certainly have some thoughts. Firstly I think that vrljc and DoInferno are the ones I would most agree with. A lot of these subjects are some times most rewarding when one does the research and thinking themself. Since a lot of the concepts of modern art particularly the period of the late 20th early to mid 21 century are all asking themselves the same question which is what is art, going beyond conventional symbology and abstraction? Picasso is not the end all be all of this cubicm movement (reference danistheman vbmenu_register("postmenu_2128149", true); link if you want more examples), but is I think unfairly attributed to being its daddy, much like Salvador Dali is commonly thought of as of with surrealism though technically he was kicked out of the surrealist guild if you will, do to his political views, which is a fun bit of irony. Picasso could certainly be considered one of the masters of the cubist movement, and his international fame and influence certainly help project it into the public conciousness more so than the other players.

Another artist that I think is worth mentioning to look into which is one of my favorites, though not mentioned here is Marcel Du Champ who was certainly influenced by the cubists and did some rather famous work like "Nude Descending Staircase No2" 1912 and many more. But more importantly he wrote extensively about the goals and exploration of contemporary artists of the time period and poked some fun here and there as well from time to time. I wish I had time to write some more, but I don't. Hope this helped.


04 April 2005, 03:22 AM
personally I dont think theres a need to understand or master cubism, especially not as a student. if Picasso and the other guys created it in order to express their ideas or views of the world, then all I have to do is be as innovative in expressing mine. paintings should come from within, not from some books or instructions. (god, that last part was probably the most pretentious thing Ive ever written on the internet. oh well. =)) wouldnt "mastering" or using cubism just be plagiarism?

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