When we think of the most famous artists of our time, artists such as Van Gogh, Claude Monet, and Pablo Picasso come to mind. Something that often doesn’t occur to many people is, where exactly did these artists develop their signature style of art, and what influenced them to create it? Claude Monet created the impressionistic style when quickly trying to catch the beauty of a sunset before it disappeared, spurring a new style of art that eventually influenced Van Gogh. But what exactly influenced Pablo Picasso’s seemingly bizarre style of cubism? In my paper I’ll be exploring how Pablo Picasso and other artists were influenced to create the cubism style, and how these influences were the cause of an entire art movement.
In the early 20th century, the French Empire was beginning to expand into Africa, in John Richardson’s book ‘A Life of Picasso, The Cubist Rebel’ he describes how the newspapers at the time were filled to the brim with exaggerated accounts of the cannibalistic savages that were inhabiting Africa. When colonists began bringing back artifacts of African art, the posh masses of France flocked to see the ‘art’ created by such savage and animalistic beings (.48).
When this Art was brought back to France, it inspired Pablo Picasso to create one of the first works of cubism. In 1907 Picasso visited the Trocadero Museum of Paris; He stated “the masks were not like any other pieces of sculpture, not at all. They were magic things.” In the same year, Picasso created