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Cubism began around 1907 in Paris.  It was led by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque. The movement broke the barrier on how art could be portrayed on a canvas.  It wasn't meant to be realistic or life-like in any way.  Instead it was meant to challenge the artist to go beyond a two-dimensional appearance. To look at a subject from every possible angle and then piece together fragments from different vantage points to create the image. Instead of appearing as one piece or single image, the painting was meant to look like something that was built by assembling different pieces into a collage of sorts. The result was an almost unrealistic 3-D image which looked like altered reality and paved the way for the next movement...Surrealism. 

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Picasso's full name was Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Ruiz y Picasso. With a name like that, you are destined for great things. Picasso was very productive as an artists during his life time.  He was obsessed with challenging himself to constantly do something new and different and prove that he was, in fact, the best. The total number of artworks he produced has been estimated at 50,000, comprising 1,885 paintings; 1,228 sculptures; 2,880 ceramics, roughly 12,000 drawings, thousands of prints, and numerous tapestries and rugs. Read more at:

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Below is some basic information on Cubism and its characteristics and influences. If you would like to print off a copy of this page along with samples of art from this period, you can download the Cubism above.

Pablo Picasso
Pablo Picasso

Picasso is one of the most influential artists of the 20th century and the co-creator of Cubism. This piece titled The Young Ladies on the Bank of the Seine is derived from a painting of Gustave Courbet’s with the same name.

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Georges Braque
Georges Braque

Along with Picasso, Braque was the co-creator of Cubism, but his paintings continued beyond the movement. Braque sought balance and harmony in his pieces, especially his collages. He also achieved extreme dimension in his paintings by stenciling letters, mixing sand with his paint and other techniques.

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Juan Gris
Juan Gris

Gris’s chief purpose was to please the eye. He took Cubism and moved it in a different direction from Picasso and Braque. His work is easily distinguishable from theirs which is apparent in this Portrait of Pablo Picasso. Gris was an important forerunner of Dada and Pop art.

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Quick Facts:
  • Created by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braques; inspired by Paul Cézanne

  • Artist blended the foreground and background letting the subject of the artwork unify with the canvas

Characteristics and/or Types of Art:
  • First example of abstract art

  • Challenged traditional form

  • Abandoned perspective

  • Used multiple viewpoints

  • The late works of Paul Cézanne

  • African Art and Tribal Art

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