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Cubism: A History

            Cubist's stylistic and technical innovations are easier to understand than its place in the Art History world as a concept. A clear sequence of events can be outlined and this makes invariably easy to grasp. In Cubism, there is a notion of essentialist cubism. This refers to the techniques introduced by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque that were thought of as the leaders of Cubism. Their methods were highly influential because they were so open to different and often contradictory adaptations. It is important to note that the geometric simplifications of form that led to art critic Louis Vauxcelle's reference to "cubes" in 1908 were not in themselves innovative. Instead it was the rendering of three dimensional spaces, shifting viewpoints and of volume or mass in terms of flat planes that was seen as innovative and different. This did not actually simplify, rather it complicated the problem of depiction. .
             Les Demoiselles d"Avignon (1907) is often seen as the painting that opened the way for cubism. It is based on the exaggerated changes of viewpoints that is applied to all figures, especially to the crouching nude on the right whose head seems to have swivelled free of the shoulders. Contrasting viewpoints became an important idea for Cubists in general which led to the assertion that cubism was basically conceptual rather than being perceptual. Maurice Rayneal, a supporter of Cubism, was responsible for this claim. The art critic argued that the rejection of consistent perspective represented a break from the insistence of spontaneity that had characterised Impressionism. Optical exploration of the world was important in the world as never before. Art was no longer just an examination of the world around an artist; it was the result of intelligent, mobile investigation.
             Braque's L"Estaque landscapes of 1908 are also argued as the first Cubist paintings but for a different reason.

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