The Dead BirdS - An introduction to Cubism

In the next few rooms, we will be taking a look at several examples of Cubist art. By incorporating modern, alternative approaches, they led to the first of the Avant-garde movements to revolutionize the 20th-century cultural scene: Cubism.

Alongside Georges Braque and Juan Gris, the Cubist painter par excellence was the great Malaga-born artist, Pablo Picasso. In his painting The Dead Birds, which you can see here, several views, from the front and in profile, can be seen simultaneously, with no background perspective. The odd feather, a bit of wing, the eye and beak of the birds… are all shown by simplifying the details to the extreme; things are suggested by using angular outlines and unarranged, superimposed planes.

This movement provided a new paradigm in the art world, creating a new artistic language that forced everyone who saw it to take sides, to interpret the artist’s meaning and to experiment with their own reaction to the work.

This new process made interpreting an artwork a more complex business, not only because of the deconstructed outlines, but also by altering natural colours.

This additional complexity increased the need for commentary on the works – either in verbal or written form, in talks or in articles. Art hence matured as an expression of the artist’s subjective nature. This was something Goya had put into practice a century before.

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