• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

The aim of this art history essay is to discuss the ways in which primitive, African art affected the style and subject matter of the Cubist art movement.

Extracts from this document...


Art History Essay The aim of this art history essay is to discuss the ways in which primitive, African art affected the style and subject matter of the cubist art movement. Cubism is considered as 'art of abstraction' which makes reference to the visible world but doesn't copy it. It depicts real forms in a simplified way - keeping only an allusion of the original natural subject. Cubism originated from Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque in 1907. Their style was heavily influenced by post impressionist artist Paul Cezanne, who's later work starts to depict the multiple perspectives that defined the cubist period. The cubists felt that the traditions of western art in which subject-matter and style had been depicted had been unchanged since the renaissance and they believed a new challenge was needed to revitalise the conventional methods set by the academy. Most of the cubists were attracted by the anarchist philosophy, and they wanted to create art that would shock the academy, critics and public. About this time Paul Gauguin had travelled to Tahiti were he painted the natives and their natural surroundings, this in itself was revolutionary as no other western artist had explored to such a depth geographically or artistically. ...read more.


There is no perspective, no modulated colours and it is made up of abstract simplifications. After painting Les Demoiselles D' Avignon, Picasso began to paint in a style that was influenced by the two figures on the right side of the painting which have a distinct resemblance to the African mask. The shape of the head, nose, even the eyes and mouth all share a likeness for the mask, this painting is also said to have initiated the so-called 'negro period' (1907-1908). Picasso, Head of Woman, 1907 Dan Mask This is one of Picasso's 'negro period' paintings, there are very clear similarities between the two, the shape of the head, which is an elongated oval, the facial features, being the prominent large nose, sunken eyes, raised eyebrows and small mouth, even the colours are extremely alike . Picasso starts to use a very narrow colour spectrum during this time; this is because the Africans used natural materials like wood, which inspired the cubists to mainly concentrate on the natural brown, yellow and green earth tones. The effect of these colours is to create a sense of the organic, adding to the primitive feel. You can see the painterly brushstrokes and there is little use of modulated colour. ...read more.


Picasso, Glass and Bottle of Suze, 1912 and Georges Braque, Violin and Pipe, 1913 These are both examples of synthetic cubism; they do in fact look very comparable. Picasso and Braque often found it hard to distinguish the differences between their own works. The colours still seem fairly neutral with a hint of brighter colours but there is a distinct lack of primitive influence. So in conclusion, the cubist's aim was to create a new approach to Western art, primitive art was used because they felt that it helped them in achieving this aim, They provided a radical alternative to the traditional Western conventions. It is clear to see how primitive art influenced and ultimately inspired the cubist artists. Pablo Picasso, notably, being the first to make visual reference to the stylistic and simplistic qualities of African art in his own work. Georges Braque, on the other hand, didn't use the African art so obviously; he preferred to paint landscapes and still life. He did however, take on board, the natural colours and stuck to a narrow colour spectrum. Cubist artists only really used elements of primitive art mainly when it suited their own needs. Therefore, primitive art, though not the only source of inspiration, nevertheless had a vital influence on the foundations of cubism. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our University Degree Fine Art, Design Studies, Art History, Crafts section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related University Degree Fine Art, Design Studies, Art History, Crafts essays

  1. Comment on the subject matter of the Narmer palette and its significance for an ...

    The intertwined necks of these creatures can be read as the two halves of Egypt coming together in unison (Shaw, 2004: 4), and one can even interpret the men at either side with leashes around the serpopards' necks, as being enemies to this unison.

  2. Aboriginal Art essay

    Clifford, living at the Papunya Community, was one of the first artists to be involved with the Aboriginal art movement, and in the late 70's he expanded the scope of Pupunya Tula painting by placing the trails of several ancestors on the same canvas in the fashion of a road map - he depicted the land geographically.

  1. By analysing Picassos Guernica and what he meant by his painting, this essay ...

    The official reason was that the painting was too distracting but it still attracted a lot of cynical suspicions. Hersbergen citied that: ?what the picture showed up was the embarrassing contradiction of presuming to take the moral high ground while simultaneously campaigning for war?, (Hensbergen, 2004, p2).

  2. Feminist Art. Representation of Womens Bodies in Art , Rap and Film.

    Judy Chicago?s art can be categorized as women empowerment. Other feminist artists such as Magdalena Abakanowicz have a different approach. Abakanowicz?s Four Seated Figures in an interesting piece of art. The sculptures reflected the tragedies of World War II. The four figures are both headless and handless reflecting her direct experience.

  1. Was Modern Art Greater Influenced by the Invention of the Camera or Kindergarten?

    This is a very broad question, but can be narrowed down by focusing in on a few subjects. Artists under different conditions all create art in different forms. How does time and environment affect a person?s art? This question led to the questioning of whether or not there is a

  2. Natural and synthetic materials and dyes for clothing.

    It is inflammable, crease resistant and very strong, deflecting water and odour. The quality of the wool will depend on the breed of sheep or animal producing it, with some wools feeling coarser than others. ?Very fine quality wool is used to make high-end fabrics for use in luxury garments?

  1. The use of Kabuki Elements in a Performance of Bertolt Brehts The Caucasian Chalk ...

    The drop down sheets can systematically be dropped according to the scenes. Hanamichi: The stage in Kabuki that protrudes into the audience would enable the tale to be brought to the audience. The particular scene which I believe would be performed on the hanamichi stage is the scene where the soldiers are chasing Grusha and Michael.

  2. Jackson Pollock. Pollock defined modern art through two words, freedom and originality.

    The large blue lines show is the control. The dominant dark poles look structured compared to the background because of use of color. The thick blue poles act as an anchor in the picture representing stability and control. The lines in this artwork leave the audiences? eyes to keep following the infinite amount of lines in the painting.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work