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Cubism has been defined in different ways by artists, critics and historians. Some have written about cubism as a form of plastic geometry.

Appolonaire's definitions

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At Section d'Or in 1912, Guillame Apolonaire gave a lecture outlining 4 types of Cubism :

Scientific Cubism

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Including Picasso and Braques

Physical Cubism

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Le Fouconnier - who didn;t break fully with traditional perspective


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Duchamp, Picabia, Delauney


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those jumping on the bandwagon!


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Analytic v Synthetic

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Analytic Cubism

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Coined by Juan Gris a posteriori . Goes from 1910 to 1912 in France. Main practiced by Braque

  • Use of Trompe-l'œil
  • Refusal of perspective
  • Multi-angled (dimension of time)
  • Use of collage
  • monochromatic colours.

Synthetic Cubism

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  • fewer and simpler forms based to a lesser extent on natural objects.
  • Brighter colors
  • more decorative effect,
  • more use of collage and other two-dimensional materials.

until around 1919, when the Surrealist movement gained popularity.

Early/ High/Late

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English art historian Douglas Cooper describes three phases of Cubism in his book, The Cubist Epoch.

Early Cubism

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1906 to 1908 - developed in the studios of Picasso and Braque;

High Cubism

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1909 to 1914 during which time Juan Gris emerged as an important exponent (after 1911)

Late Cubism

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from 1914 to 1921) as the last phase of Cubism as a radical avant-garde movement. Douglas Cooper's restrictive use of these terms to distinguish the work of Braque, Picasso, Gris (from 1911) and Léger (to a lesser extent).

The assertion that the Cubist depiction of space, mass, time, and volume supports (rather than contradicts) the flatness of the canvas was made by Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler as early as 1920,[15] but it was subject to criticism in the 1950s and 1960s, especially by Clement Greenberg.[16] <wikipedia>

see w:Cubism