“Les Damioselles d’Avignon” 1907, Picasso Accessed from Khan Academy on 14/10/2016
Cubism was the first form of abstract art and is rarely practiced by artists these days. The most famous Cubist work (above) is titled Les Damioselles d’Avignon (1907) by Picasso. This painting was built up from cubes. Picasso created this work to shock the art world and he certainly succeeded.
Here is another Cubist work by Marcel Duchamp and another fine example of Cubism.
I recently did a workshop on Cubism and will pass on the details here. The first exercise was to do a Cubist sketch followed by a painting.
Firstly I drew an apple and divided it randomly with horizontal and oblique lines. I then extended the edges to abstract the shape even further. I then shaded in starting from the bottom and going around the apple. The dark always touches the light and the light always touches the dark.
To commence the painting I drew a still life with a paint brush and followed the same procedure as above. The rule of thumb is that the objects must be either sitting separately or over-lapping, not touching. Background lines are included and best done more sparingly to subtly delineate background from foreground.
I then proceeded to paint in the shapes being aware of the light which I placed on the left-hand side of the objects. This required some time consuming blending. For the best result it helps to use the paint directly from the tube without any water.
Cubist works were often done in monochromatic tones. The fundamental qualities of Cubism are found in detachment and intellectual control, objectivity combined with intimacy, an interest in establishing a balance between representation and an abstract pictorial structure.
Here is a very powerful nude in the Cubist style by artist Corne Akkers from the Netherlands.