Cubism – The Very First Abstract Art Genre

Cubism artworks are easy to recognize. These are characterized by a flattened appearance which is 2D in more cases than not.

Another very characteristic feature of artworks from the cubism fine art is the delightful use of geometric lines and shapes. These angles and implements may give rise to something such as a human figure.

The color palette used in Cubism artworks is neutral in more cases than not.

Origins of Cubism:

Cubism artists Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso are the pioneers of the genre of art. Their painting styles gave birth to cubism, which was adored by the people and finds a large number of admirers to date.

What is Cubism?

Cubism is often referred to as the very first style of abstract art, and it came to fore at the start of 20th century. This was at a time when the technological advancement was transitioning the shape of the world to as we know it today.

When one goes through some fine art created in the cubism genre of art, we find that one of the key differences lay in the representation of the elements of art.

Artworks based upon cubism represent an image such that it is a reflection of the times.

The Cubist Vision

Cubist artists often garnered the opinion that an image must represent more perspectives than one, such that a viewer has the liberty to choose the viewpoint from which he observes an image.

The concept of relativity was a prevalent theme in cubism artworks. So an image created using this methodology had an artist’s observation and memories fused into one.

An image from the cubism era speaks of multiple subjects at the same time, even while it depicts real themes such as objects, people or places. That way, front, back and sides of an image are interchangeable elements, and the perceptions of the image are subject to a viewer’s perception.

Let’s take a look at some of the common themes expressed in cubism by going through the various phases in the development of cubism.


Analytic cubism gave rise to images that were created when an artist worked towards and analyzed an image from numerous viewpoints. As an artist recreated the image using geometric frameworks, these expressed the underlying idea of the theme as a whole.


The creative impetus of cubism was not at an all-time high. Artists made up for the void by turning to a college style of painting, which gave rise to synthetic cubism.

Synthetic cubism was characterized by the use of bold and simple collage shapes. In a nutshell, the style was more decorative and colorful while being more direct.

Synthetic cubism finds a place in modern art as well, wherein this may involve stacked objects, sometimes combined with fonts that are reminiscent of the times. There is a smooth transition from the geometric style of painting to a style which is more freehand, wherein the objects recede into a certain rhythm across the entire canvas.

Types of Cubism

Paul Cezzane is often considered one of the greatest painters ever and was one of the pioneers of the cubism style of art. His paintings lay a great influence over the cubism style of paintings, in particular in midst of the years 1908 and 1909.

Paul Cezzane’s works were focused on the creation of flat images wherein surfaces and colors almost form a grid-like work in his images. Another prominent feature of Cezzane’s paintings was monochromatic shades, such as black, brown and gray.

Cubism in Sculpture

Cubism rendered a great deal of influence not just on paintings, but on sculptures as well. This is said to have begun around 1909, in and around Paris, wherein the artists took up a liking for the cubist methodology for creating sculptures.

Cubism sculptures and cubism in painting had a host of similarities. Paul Cezanne again was a pioneer of cubism sculpture, and some of the key themes in his sculptures include representation of real-life objects by use of geometric solids, which may be cubes, spheres, cylinders or cones.

This way, an object could be represented in a manner such that it had multiple interpretations, subject to a viewer’s outlook. Some people even have the viewpoint that Cezanne’s sculptures in cubist genre bring about a shift in the viewpoint of mass or volume.

Interesting Facts about Cubism

Cubism eventually found a way into abstract cubism, and Robert Delaunay is the artist most often credited for the same. Now Picasso is more often known for his paintings than sculptures. But, he created a sculpture titled ’Head of a woman’. The sculpture was based on cubism.

If we take a look at paintings created from the cubism genre, we come to find that nearly negligible amongst these are landscapes. The most common subjects in the cubist art include musical instruments, people, glasses and even playing cards.

Some external influences were very commonly found in cubism. These included African and Native American art.

If you liked out the blog on Cubism, let us know in the comments. Have you ever seen a cubism painting or sculpture? What are your thoughts?