What is the difference between Analytic and Synthetic Cubism? What is the overall impact of Cubism? Use examples to illustrate your points.

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rareynolds eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Analytical cubism, cubism’s earliest phase, is marked by the dissection or “deconstruction” of the object. The painting represents the object from multiple viewpoints, with many overlapping planes. This sort of cubism had its roots in Paul Cezanne’s paintings, in which he simplified natural objects, concentrating on basic forms and color. Analytical cubism has a similar emphasis on geometry, although the color palette tends to be more muted than Cezanne’s. Picasso and Braque are often mentioned as the inventors of analytical cubism. Braque’s Glass on a Table is one example of this kind of painting. It began around 1907.

Synthetic cubism followed analytical cubism. Synthetic cubism differs from analytical cubism in that it involves adding textures and patterns to the painting, and introduces mixed media (in particular, collage using bits of old newspaper). Synthetic cubism also differs from analytic cubism in that it seeks to remove all traces of three-dimensional space— the represented space is flattened, and objects can appear to be ”squashed.” See, for example, Juan Gris’s The Sunblind. This movement began around 1912.

Cubism is important because it made possible much of the abstract art of the twentieth century. In emphasizing the two-dimensionality of the canvas, Cubism made a radical break from earlier European art which, since the Renaissance, sought to create realistic three-dimensional spaces.

epic-art-time eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Analytic cubism involved portraying an object or objects from many different points of view at once in an attempt to depict space in a different way.  An example of Analytic cubism is Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’ Avignon.

Synthetic cubism was more about breaking an object or space into parts that could be represented with varying textures and shapes that would ultimately engage the viewer in a kind of game to figure out the reference and meaning behind each part.  An example of Synthetic cubism would be Georges Braque’s Fruit Dish and Cards.

In reference to the change over from Analytic to Synthetic cubism Picasso is quoted in Gardner’s Art Through the Ages (10th edition), as saying,  “we didn’t any longer want to fool the eye; we wanted to fool the mind ”  (page 1050.)

The overall impact of cubism was giving the artist the power to portray reality in whatever way he or she wanted.  What Braque and Picasso did with the cubist movement was more than just artistic self expression.  It involved a different method of perceiving the world.