Cubism was an art movement meant to refresh art. The old styles of painting were growing boring as photography took over the realistic documentation of life. Cubism was split into analytic cubism and synthetic cubism. Analytic cubist paintings featured objects fractures into geometric shapes, drawn flat on the canvas with contrasting vantage points and little to no depth. However, the paintings soon echoed each other to the point where one smear of squares looked no different than another. Look at the header image; there's actually two paintings there. So, synthetic cubism was a response to this. Synthetic cubism featured paintings with newspaper or other papers cutgeorges Braque
and pasted on top of it.
Two influential painters of the time were Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque. They painted the two above paintings: Picasso painted the left one and Braque painted the right one.
Picasso (1881-1973) was a founder of cubism. At 14, he could paint so well that we was accepted into Barcelona's School of Fine Arts. However, he thought the techniques they taught were old and boring and continuously skipped class to paint the world around him.
Picasso started out painting in an expressionist style. He wanted to do something new and different, so he started to paint using African masks as inspiration. Soon, he painted in fractured geometric shapes. He always tried to renew his paintings, painting newer, more radical works. Soon, in response to the growing monotony of analytic cubism, he added shapes cut out of paper into his work. This was called synthetic cubism.
Th painting on the right is "Violin" by Picasso. The yellow is cut newspaper.
Braque (1882-1963) was a French painter who was also a founder of cubism. Originally, he disliked Picasso's African mask work, saying it was awful. "'It made me feel as if someone was drinking gasoline and spitting fire,' Braque said." (from http://www.biography.com/people/pablo-picasso-9440021) However, he soon warmed to the cubism movement and painted in that style for the rest of his life.
He still disagreed with Picasso on some aspects. He painted purely for harmony and composition. He also added things like sand, paintings of wood grain, and paintings of marble to his art.
Although he later moved away from cubism, some aspects on it were still in his art.
Below: Port en Normandie by Braque.
Futurism was created to celebrate the futuristic inventions of the time. Because Italy was still in the past as far as technological advancements, a group of painters decided to break free from the Italian art movements and paint for the modern times. They wanted to destroy art history, and when they became history, be destroyed themselves. Cars and trains were practically revered. A futurist founding and manifesto document calls the cars "snorting beasts" and says that they "lay amorous hands on [them]." They also celebrated violence and destruction for the change they thought it would bring to Italy, and wholeheartedly supported WW1. Most of the futurists enlisted.
Two futurist artists were Giacomo Balla and Umberto Boccioni.
Balla (1871-1958) attempted to recreate speed in his works to fit with the speed on the new technology. his "Dynamism of a Dog on a Leash," on the right, superimposed different stages of the running dog in order to show speed. He also painted abstract images such as "Abstract speed- the Car has Passed" above.
Balla loved technology so much that he named his daughter the Italian word for "propeller."
Boccioni (1882-1916) showed the movement of a figure by showing its surroundings. He sculpted a piece called "Unique forms of Motion in Space" shown at the bottom. The figure has no arms, enormous muscles, and flowing air ribboning off its legs. It wears what is possibly a warrior's helmet. It is supposed to show the speed and movement of the figure.
The figure actually breaks a lot of the rules Boccioni laid down for himself. He had decided that straight lines made a futuristic figure- "Unique Forms of Motion in Space" is curvy. He also decided that single medium sculptures were overdone- the sculpture was done solely in plaster. He also said that nudes were overdone- the figure is a nude man (albeit an abstract one.)
This quote makes sense in this situation:
"Nothing is absolute in painting. What was truth for the painters of yesterday is but a falsehood today." -Boccioni