Cubism logo


Cubism is like standing at a certain point on a mountain and looking around. If you go higher, things will look different; if you go lower, again they will look different. It is a point of view.

sculptor Jacques Lipchitz


In around 1907 two artists living in Paris called Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque developed a revolutionary new style of painting which transformed everyday objects, landscapes, and people into geometric shapes. In 1908 art critic Louis Vauxcelles, saw some landscape paintings by Georges Braque in an exhibition in Paris, and described them as ‘bizarreries cubiques’ which translates as ‘cubist oddities’ – and the term cubism was created.


Cubists abstracted from real life to make their work, but most often maintained small identifiable clues to a realistic figure. The artists started with a neutral palette of browns and blacks, intending the viewer to focus on the geometric composition rather than the color. Cubism marks a pioneering moment in the history of art—one that ended when many of its leading practitioners, Braque among them, enlisted to fight in World War I.


Cubism can be split into two distinct phases. The first phase, analytical cubism, is considered to have run until around 1912. It looks more serious. Objects are split into lots of flat shapes representing the views of them from different angles, and muted colours and darker tones or shades are used.

The second phase, synthetic cubism, involves simpler shapes and brighter colours which looks much more modern and fun.

Analytical Cubism

1908 - 1912

Analytical Cubism sample: Girl with a Mandolin - Pablo Picasso

Synthetic Cubism

1912 - 1914

Synthetic Cubism sample

Meet the Cubist




Born in Malaga, Spain, in 1881, Picasso studied art briefly in Madrid in 1897, then in Barcelona in 1899, where he became closely associated with a group of modernist poets, writers, and artists.

The artistic genius Pablo Picasso has impacted the development of modern and contemporary art with unparalleled magnitude. He has created over 20,000 paintings, prints, drawings, sculptures, ceramics, theatre sets and costumes that convey myriad intellectual, political, social, and amorous messages.


Picasso was baptized Pablo Diego Jose Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno Maria de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santisima Trinidad Martyr Patricio Clito Ruiz y Picasso. He was named after various saints and relatives. The "Picasso" is actually from his mother, Maria Picasso y Lopez. His father is named Jose Ruiz Blasco.

His creative styles transcend realism and abstraction, Cubism, Neoclassicism, Surrealism, and Expressionism.


It's like Picasso was born an artist: his first word was "piz", short of lapiz the Spanish word for 'pencil'. His father Ruiz, an artist and art professor, gave him a formal education in art starting from the age of 7. By 13, Ruiz vowed to give up painting as he felt that Pablo had surpassed him.

Pablo Picasso picture