Picasso's "Still Life With Chain Caning"

Cubism (1908-1914) was a radical new direction for art. It was pioneered by Picasso and Braque and used geometric shapes. Cubism was divided into two main movements, analytic and synthetic cubism.

Analytic cubism was the first phase (Picasso's "Girl With Mandolin" shown below). Artists deconstructed reality, breaking up figures into shapes and looked at things from multiple perspectives. A face, for example, would be show in profile and from a ¾ view. Most of these works were monochromatic or near it, depending on values to show forms and separate shapes.

Synthetic cubism synthesized different things. (Picasso's "Still Life with Chain Caning" shown above) It had more color and less values, flattening things. There were more shapes than forms. There was collage work in synthetic cubism, and the synthesizing of different textures and materials was a big part of this part of the movement.

Orphic cubism, or orphism, is the second main phase of cubism, according to arthistory.net (they consider analytic and synthetic the same phase). Wikipedia considers it another art movement entirely. I am inclined to consider it a different art movement. Orphism was more abstract with brighter colors and many works produced had few or no geometric shapes or forms, a main characteristic of cubism.

Picasso’s “Girl with Mandolin”