Contrastive Analysis of Cubism and Fauvism

by Charlene Tinker, June 2014

600 words

2 pages


The significance of two artistic styles of Cubism and Fauvism is seen in the way their pictorial methods succeeded in introducing new perspectives, while their most famous visionaries managed to substitute the worn-out dogmas about artistic approaches to pictorial representation. While, the two styles are quite often considered to be kindred in their origin and approaches, Cubism and Fauvism are dramatically opposed, one being centered around light and pleasurable sensations, while the other being concerned with form and a solid independent reality.

Cubism was ushered from behind the scenes of artistic invention in Paris between 1906 and 1908 by the Spaniard, Pablo Picasso, and the Frenchman, Georges Braque, in order to replace the Renaissance tradition of depicting the incomplete truth that could be only captured by the eye of an artist (Cottington 16). A new approach was launched based on a renewed conceptual principle, in which an artist was endowed with a potential of managing pictorial elements, such as color, form, light, and space. Cubism presupposed the creation of paintings with their own independent reality equal in its standing to the visual impressions of reality caught by the human eye (Cooper 11).

The development of Fauvism shares a lot of common features with the initiation of Cubism. The former was introduced around the same time, in 1905, when a group of artists presented the paintings that violently revolutionized the use of color and form. Unlike Cubists with their desire to alter the methods of perceiving reality, fauvists (“the wild beasts”) pursued the only goal of discarding all traditional values. The following principal characteristics are peculiar to Fauvism: startling, violent contrasts of color, the decorative arrangement of elements, and the interpretation of nature as being subjected to the spirit of the artist and his feelings; the form of objects is disturbed by the deliberately crude technique (Cunningham & Reich 480).

The difference in the approached of two styles can be observed in the works of two artists, Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse, the representatives of Cubism and Fauvism respectively. The work of Pablo Picasso under the title Nude with Drapery was painted in the fall of 1907. Picasso treats various parts of women’s bodies individually depicting them in terms of cylinders and cones embraced by heavy contours. With help of colored striations that go in multiple directions Picasso evoked a sense of volume. This painting represents his aim to succeed in truly representing his objects by using geometrical forms and setting these objects against several faceted planes.

In the fall of 1907 Pablo Picasso created his Three Nudes or Friendship. The strategy of faceting also took place with regard to this painting. Furthermore, one can notice the “primitive” simplifications through substitution of masks for personalized faces to be depicted. The latter strategy was exploited by the artist in order to detach himself emotionally from the human beings represented as figures, as well as to abstain from considerations of beauty and ugliness. The sole purpose of …

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