top of page

SURREALISM vs CUBISM

Updated: Feb 4, 2022

A revolutionary approach that represented reality was invented by Pablo Picasso and George Braque in 1907-08. Different views of figures and objects were brought together which resulted in a fragmented and abstracted piece. This approach was called cubism! It was one of the most influential styles of the twentieth century and began with Picasso’s celebrated piece ‘Demoiselles D’Avignon’. Cubism derives from a comment made by Louis Vauxcelles, a critic who described George Braque’s work as everything from ‘geometric outlines, to cubes. It broke objects and figures into particular areas and showed an array of viewpoints, all at the same point within the same space. This came as a revolution in the European tradition where illusions were created with linear perspectives which later dominated the Renaissance period.


10 Amazing Facts about GUERNICA BY Pablo Picasso. something that you'd like to know more about!





Here are 5 facts about this breakthrough art style:

  • Picasso was inspired by Seurat and Cezanne

George Sauret made Chromoluminarism, which was made completely of tiny dots or color patches. This was done to achieve maximum luminosity and a more realistic reality through abstraction. Cezanne died in 1906 and Picasso paid extra attention to his later works and that is when he noticed the post-impressionism flatness in his works. Cezanne embraced the two-dimension nature but didn’t really focus on depth, this was done to bring attention to the surface and to create a stark difference between painting and reality.

  • First abstract movement

Cezanne started the movement towards abstraction in the late 1800s and cubism is termed as the first movement that aimed towards explicit attempts to abstract the subject matter out of the paintings. It was a scientific approach that involved a very limited color palette. Even the forms were just geometric shapes with limited shading to flatten the surfaces. Using this technique, the piece became abstract (unintentionally) and this, in turn, influences every other abstract art movement in the future.


  • Cubism. A form of realism?

Cubism paradox’s main goal was to achieve a greater sense of reality. It also postulated that reality can’t just be seen from a single perspective, but from a combination of different perspectives and memories and also how objects look at different times of the day. Our minds combine these different perspectives to come up with different viewpoints and form reality. Cubism was an attempt to achieve the same hyper-realistic sense from the lens of abstraction and the style was quite four-dimensional as I combined length, area, volume as well as the passage of time.

  • The first cubism exhibition did not include Picasso

Salon des Independants did not include Picasso or Braque; the 2 founders of cubism in an exhibition they did in 1911 but it did include a lot of their associates such as Metzinger, Albert Gleizes, and one of the few female Cubists, including Marie Laurencin. These influential painters called themselves the ‘Puteaux’ because they regularly met at the studio of Marcel Duchamp and his two brothers, which was located in Puteaux, in the Parisian suburbs.

  • Cubism was originally thought of as scandalous

Abstraction was heretical! The idea of painters was not to replicate the world but induce it to the early 20th-century art critics. The French art critic ‘Louis Vauxcelles’ called Picasso and Braques’ painting as little cubes but another critic Guillaume Apollinaire appreciated them and used cubism to describe the work of the Puteaux Group (France’s lead cubists artists) who had their first exhibition in 1911 at Salon des Indépendants in Paris.

Surrealism as a movement flourished in Europe between both the world wars! It mainly grew out of the Dada movement which produced works of anti-art that deliberately defied reason before the first world war. As per the main spokesperson of this movement


Surrealism was a means of reuniting conscious and unconscious realms of experience so completely that the world of dream and fantasy would be joined to the everyday rational world in “an absolute reality, a surreality.”



In the works of Breton, Reverdy, and Eluard, one can see the juxtaposition of words that was startling and this was just because it was defined from a psychological and not a logical one. The main achievement was in the form of art under surrealism; the painters were not only influenced by Dadaism but also the grotesque images of earlier painters such as Hieronymus Bosch and Francisco Goya! Major surrealist painters include Jean Arp, Max Ernst, Yves Tanguy, and Salvador Dali, and each of these artists sought one unique way and made it their own means of exploration!



Surrealism makes a person question all art! And here are 5 unique facts about this unique art style:

  • Surrealism was inherently political

A lot of surrealist artists were more political than others. Artists such as Frida Kahlo did work that was explicitly political, Breton’s main idea on the other hand revolved around Marxism! He exercises a tyrannical control of sorts over the political groups and even went so far as to remove members who didn’t quite relate to his politics.

  • The most important surrealist art

Salvador Dali is arguably the best surrealist painter there was and his works are also highly recognized, but another painter holds the title for the most expensive surrealist painting sold – Joan Miro! There is always a scope for improvements in the world of art and art auctions but Miro holds that title as of now. His painting makes us realize that not all surrealist work has to be portraits; some o it can be theoretical and abstract as well!

  • Surrealism’s official end

Surrealism officially ended in 1966 with the death of Andre Breton; the man behind


d the whole surrealism movement. Even though it ended soon, it still remains one of the most influential art forms of the 20th century. Cartoons like Ren and Stimpy and other abstract art are all considered a major influence in the world of surrealism. Breton couldn’t make surrealism a bigger movement when he was alive but it certainly broke boundaries after his death!

  • Influence of psychologist Sigmund Freud

Andre Breton was a trained professional in the field of medicine and psychiatry and worked as medical personnel during world war 1. It was that he used the psychoanalysis methods of a renowned psychologist, Sigmund Freud, on the soldiers who suffered from shell shock. Since Freud’s main work is about the unconscious, dream analysis, and free association, it was considered to be of the utmost importance when it came to imagining a piece of art from a surrealist perspective. It was Freud indeed who initiated the psychoanalytic critique of surrealism because the conscious minds of surrealist artists were of a lot of interest to him. “He implied that their works couldn’t be regarded as manifestations of the unconscious as they were highly shaped and processed by the ego.”



  • Surrealism was criticized by feminists as it was considered to be sexist

Surrealism was a highly influential movement and as a result, impacted multiple areas. The slogan ‘All Power to the imagination’ a slogan of revolt came directly from the surrealist movement during the civil unrest movement in France in May 1968. Surrealism might be a popular movement but it has had its share of controversies, especially from the feminists who claimed that the movement “adopted archaic attitudes toward women, such as worshiping them symbolically through stereotypes and sexist norms.”

Both these art forms directly impacted the view society took to create this piece and that the first world war affected both of these. ‘Le Guitariste’ – a chaotic representation as to


what happened to the world during the war and Dali’s ‘persistence of memory, on the other hand, told the story of what happened in the world during the prelude to world war 2! Whatsoever the case may be, both these art forms had their own set of influences in this world of art and each of them is worth studying in their own respect!


TELL US YOUR VIEWS IN THE COMMENT SECTION BELOW IF THIS BLOG INCREASED YOUR KNOWLEDGE!



Wishing you a creative escape ahead!






979 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Comments


bottom of page