Cubism: Picasso

Picasso's Still Life with Chair Caning 1912 characterises Cubism's divergence from more conventional, academic styles of painting previously dominating French art. Marking a transition between the Analytic and Synthetic phases, Still Life with Chair Caning expresses Cubism's innovations regarding pictorial form and space, rejecting conventional techniques such as perspective, chiaroscuro and tonal modeling, and the desire to imitate nature'as if seen through a window'.
Two prominent influences accounting for Picasso's rejection of conventional forms of painting include Iberian and African sculpture and the Post-Impressionist Paul Cezanne.Picasso admired the bold shapes and energy conveyed in'primitive' artand was inspired by Cezanne's experiments with space and form and his treatment of nature in terms of the"cylinder, sphere and cone," to explore the inherent structure of an object.
Reflecting these influences, Picasso's treatment of form in this work strongly contrasts to conventional forms of painting at the time.Rather than careful rendering of forms and detail to induce the illusion of reality, Picasso fragments the still life into a myriad of transparent geometric planes that intersect at different angles, dismantling conventional ideas of integral three dimensional forms. Simplifying forms geometrically and defining them with definite contours and sharp edges indicates the influence of Cezanne and African sculpture in the way Picasso reveals the essence of the forms. For example, the transparent goblet in the centre is reduced to lines and various planes. Typical of Analytical Cubism there is a strong focus on the structure of each object and what one knows to be there, which Picasso and the Cubists considered a more truthful solution to depicting reality than the illusion of three dimensionality conveyed through conventions such as tonal modeling and c…


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