What Are the Characteristics of Cubism Art?

Kahana Sunset by Robert Lyn Nelson


Though it’s not much published, Cubism is a highly influential art style. It emphasizes a two-dimensional way of capturing the same information to provide different angles or viewpoints which changed the direction of art. Created between 1907 and 1914 by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque, Cubism rejects the traditional art strategies of foreshortening, modelling, and perspective arts.

It also invalidates the long-time belief that art should only imitate nature and it does not conform to texture, space, or color. Instead, it presents information and ideas in paintings achieved through fragmented or geometric objects like triangles, rectangles or cubes. Cubism is symbolic, a pretty form of visual art that is challenging but full of ideas.


Characteristics of Cubism

The primary characteristic of Cubism was the simplification of arts and the refusal of the single viewpoint of art in favor of multiple points of view of binocular vision.

The cubist artist was much concerned with the structure, breaking down ideas and objects into smaller parts, and emphasizing different art angles. This led to two categories of Cubism: Analytical Cubism and Synthetic Cubism.


Characteristics of analytical Cubism

Before Cubism, artists painted a picture with a different viewpoint; artists painted images with one view. They created the depth and movement illusion using standard convention through linear perspective. For instance, they showed object objects smaller as they receded.

To achieve a 3-D effect diagram, they painted figures with rounded shade surfaces to bring out the effect. Also, it could take a long time to complete a design as every scene was painted at a particular period in time.

Later, Braque and Picasso brought the idea of multi-viewpoint. They believed that the significance of an object could be captured by bringing it out from different viewpoints. And so is the diversity of views.

Therefore, analytical Cubism was majorly concerned with breaking objects into simplified geometrics to bring out ideas. They were like drawings with no color or monochromatic concentration on line or form.


Characteristics of synthetic Cubism

This is the second stage of Cubism that introduced mixed media or adding other materials into the composition. It was based on the re-composition of objects to capture physiognomy or reduce objects to simple shapes built on each other.

This stage also saw an increase in colors and decorative effects, plus predominant forms or use of daily life elements to bring a global image.

In a nutshell, the characteristics of Cubism included:

  • It involved multiple perspectives to simultaneously represent the totality of all objects in the same plane
  • The color management of Cubism was based on a palette of green, brown and gray colors with little light
  • It majorly focused on how to represent the coals
  • The cubist styles emphasized the flat, two-dimensional surface of an image plane
  • It rejected most traditional techniques of perspective, modelling, foreshortening and chiaroscuro.
  • It refuted the time-bound theories that dictated art should imitate nature


Cubism made the world less seeing and more about the color of play of form. Also, the invention of collage reshaped how the artists painted; it promoted surrealists, such as this Across the Universe painting, through color and shape.


Spanish dancer cubist portrait
View Cubist Art HERE


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