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What Is Considered Abstract Art?

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In this article on Arthive, you will learn about abstract art in paintings and Cubism
Avant-garde is how modern art critics refer the general trend of new artistic directions that arose in world art at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. A very thin line separates it from the concept of “modernism”. Read more
The art movement developed in the first quarter of the 20th century, mainly in Italy and Russia. Some ironically called it scandalous cubism. The founding fathers urged to stop adoring the art of the past, and to exalt the industrial spirit of the future: to draw airplanes, cars, metal bridges, steamers and other achievements of the progress. Read more
Cubism (fr. cubisme) is a recognizable art movement that originated at the beginning of the 20th century, and many of its techniques are still in demand. Its distinctive features are the direct use of geometric shapes, a narrow circle of subjects (portraits, still lifes or buildings), deformation, angularity, complete lack of realism. In Cubism, shape is more important than colour. Read more
by Pablo Picasso. Read the reports and reviews of the authors of Arthive.
What Is Considered Abstract Art?
If you are a part of the art community or interested in contemporary art, you must have come across the phenomenon of ‘abstract art.' Although it is very common, it can be quite difficult to understand for any first-timer. The most common examples of this kind of art can be Picasso’s abstract portraits.
Abstract art is essentially any form of painting that does not try to portray any set tone for the depiction of visual reality. Instead, it will use colors, shapes, gestural marks, and other forms to achieve its full effect.
As per the dictionary, the word abstract means to distinguish or withdraw from something. Its application in art can be based on an object, landscape
The development of the genre from antiquity to the present day: how did religion and the invention of oil painting contribute to the development of the genre in Europe, and why was the Hudson River so important? Read more
, or figure, where all the forms are schematized and simplified.
It can also be used in art that uses other forms like gestural marks or geometric shapes, which do not have any source in the external visual reality. A number of artists in this sector of art have referred to it as non-objective art or concrete art; however, abstract art remains the most commonly used name since the other has no obvious way of distinction.
You will always find abstract art carries a moral dimension. This essentially means that the art stands mostly on virtues like purity, order, spirituality, and simplicity. Abstract art has been a significant part of modern art from as early as the 1900s.
Until the middle of the 19th century, Western Art had been hugely influenced by perspective and its attempt to recreate the visible reality. However, by the end of the 19th century, many artists thought there should be a new form of art that could help encompass the main changes in technology, perspective, philosophy, and science.
Theoretically, even art that aims to picture a real-life depiction can also be called abstract. To put it in simpler terms, abstraction means the departure from reality in the portrayal of imagery and art. The extent of the deviation, however, can be partial, slight, or even complete. This is mainly because perfect representation can never be possible through art.
If you are well-versed with this art form, you might have heard of Picasso’s abstractionism. Pablo Picasso was one of the major influences in popularizing this art form and encouraging other artists to be a part of the movement. This article further discusses his styles and techniques of work, along with mentioned some of the most famous Picasso abstract paintings.
What Is Considered Abstract Art?

How Did Pablo Picasso Illustrate Abstract Art?

It all started in the year 1945, when, in a famous abstract art series Picasso produced 12 lithographs, called the Bull. He started the project with a very realistic drawing of a bull and gradually progressed to removing the unnecessary elements from it. This further led to an image that had rather linear lines and simple abstraction.
This was one of the introductory pieces to Picasso’s abstract art and showed the process of his approach. It essentially was an experiment in the reduction of representation, but the image never lost the real depiction.
What Is Considered Abstract Art?

What Abstract Art Style Did Pablo Picasso Invent?

If you have ever closely noticed Picasso’s abstract art faces, you will surely see some relevance to reality in it.
Picasso’s abstract art never reached the extreme levels as the pioneering minds like Delaunay, Mondrian, and Kandinsky did. Their idea was more bent on the fact that art could exist on its own, with complete separation from the representations of the real world. Picasso was focused more on showing how you can take references from real life yet make it look abstract and innovative.
Even though the idea can be dated back to Plato, the birth of abstract art is now considered to be in 1910, when Picasso was experimenting with Cubism
Avant-garde is how modern art critics refer the general trend of new artistic directions that arose in world art at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. A very thin line separates it from the concept of “modernism”. Read more
The art movement developed in the first quarter of the 20th century, mainly in Italy and Russia. Some ironically called it scandalous cubism. The founding fathers urged to stop adoring the art of the past, and to exalt the industrial spirit of the future: to draw airplanes, cars, metal bridges, steamers and other achievements of the progress. Read more
Cubism (fr. cubisme) is a recognizable art movement that originated at the beginning of the 20th century, and many of its techniques are still in demand. Its distinctive features are the direct use of geometric shapes, a narrow circle of subjects (portraits, still lifes or buildings), deformation, angularity, complete lack of realism. In Cubism, shape is more important than colour. Read more
. However, like Kandinsky’s Black Box, true abstract art did not appear until a few years later.

Picasso and Cubism
Avant-garde is how modern art critics refer the general trend of new artistic directions that arose in world art at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. A very thin line separates it from the concept of “modernism”. Read more
The art movement developed in the first quarter of the 20th century, mainly in Italy and Russia. Some ironically called it scandalous cubism. The founding fathers urged to stop adoring the art of the past, and to exalt the industrial spirit of the future: to draw airplanes, cars, metal bridges, steamers and other achievements of the progress. Read more
Cubism (fr. cubisme) is a recognizable art movement that originated at the beginning of the 20th century, and many of its techniques are still in demand. Its distinctive features are the direct use of geometric shapes, a narrow circle of subjects (portraits, still lifes or buildings), deformation, angularity, complete lack of realism. In Cubism, shape is more important than colour. Read more

For the longest time, Picasso was working with Georges Braque, who was also an artist. While experimenting on new ideas with him, Picasso founded the Cubism
Avant-garde is how modern art critics refer the general trend of new artistic directions that arose in world art at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. A very thin line separates it from the concept of “modernism”. Read more
The art movement developed in the first quarter of the 20th century, mainly in Italy and Russia. Some ironically called it scandalous cubism. The founding fathers urged to stop adoring the art of the past, and to exalt the industrial spirit of the future: to draw airplanes, cars, metal bridges, steamers and other achievements of the progress. Read more
Cubism (fr. cubisme) is a recognizable art movement that originated at the beginning of the 20th century, and many of its techniques are still in demand. Its distinctive features are the direct use of geometric shapes, a narrow circle of subjects (portraits, still lifes or buildings), deformation, angularity, complete lack of realism. In Cubism, shape is more important than colour. Read more
movement. It was with him that Picasso reached his most abstract work, deserting traditional viewpoints of art, including some of Picasso’s abstract faces.
While these faces became quite a popular treat for his viewers and art critics at the time, it was not very well credited. Most people thought this kind of art was baseless. His cubist movement, however, had two phases.
The first phase of the cubist movement was popularly known as Analytical Cubism
Avant-garde is how modern art critics refer the general trend of new artistic directions that arose in world art at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. A very thin line separates it from the concept of “modernism”. Read more
The art movement developed in the first quarter of the 20th century, mainly in Italy and Russia. Some ironically called it scandalous cubism. The founding fathers urged to stop adoring the art of the past, and to exalt the industrial spirit of the future: to draw airplanes, cars, metal bridges, steamers and other achievements of the progress. Read more
Cubism (fr. cubisme) is a recognizable art movement that originated at the beginning of the 20th century, and many of its techniques are still in demand. Its distinctive features are the direct use of geometric shapes, a narrow circle of subjects (portraits, still lifes or buildings), deformation, angularity, complete lack of realism. In Cubism, shape is more important than colour. Read more
. In this process, one had to rearrange a clear image by mixing up the elements on the canvas. This further left behind a somewhat obscure yet discernable picture of the subject.
You can find traces of such processes in some of Pablo Picasso’s abstract paintings, such as the Seated nude
The nude is the genre focused on the aesthetic aspect of the naked human body. The term traces its origin to the Latin nudus (“naked, bare”) and is cognate with the French nudité (“nudity”). Read more
. As Analytical Cubism
Avant-garde is how modern art critics refer the general trend of new artistic directions that arose in world art at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. A very thin line separates it from the concept of “modernism”. Read more
The art movement developed in the first quarter of the 20th century, mainly in Italy and Russia. Some ironically called it scandalous cubism. The founding fathers urged to stop adoring the art of the past, and to exalt the industrial spirit of the future: to draw airplanes, cars, metal bridges, steamers and other achievements of the progress. Read more
Cubism (fr. cubisme) is a recognizable art movement that originated at the beginning of the 20th century, and many of its techniques are still in demand. Its distinctive features are the direct use of geometric shapes, a narrow circle of subjects (portraits, still lifes or buildings), deformation, angularity, complete lack of realism. In Cubism, shape is more important than colour. Read more
developed gradually, he started dissecting his subjects further. This led to the movement reaching its peak and gave fruition to Picasso’s famous abstract art, Still Life with Bottle of Rum, in the year 1911.
In that painting, the still life figure was abstracted to a point where it became an overlapping pane of spindly lines, which were painted in a pallet of blacks, greys, and browns.
The next phase of Cubism was even more interesting and was known as Synthetic Cubism
Avant-garde is how modern art critics refer the general trend of new artistic directions that arose in world art at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. A very thin line separates it from the concept of “modernism”. Read more
The art movement developed in the first quarter of the 20th century, mainly in Italy and Russia. Some ironically called it scandalous cubism. The founding fathers urged to stop adoring the art of the past, and to exalt the industrial spirit of the future: to draw airplanes, cars, metal bridges, steamers and other achievements of the progress. Read more
Cubism (fr. cubisme) is a recognizable art movement that originated at the beginning of the 20th century, and many of its techniques are still in demand. Its distinctive features are the direct use of geometric shapes, a narrow circle of subjects (portraits, still lifes or buildings), deformation, angularity, complete lack of realism. In Cubism, shape is more important than colour. Read more
. In this, Picasso incorporated the already existing elements to form a larger collage
Collage (fr. collage — “gluing”) is a method used in the fine arts to create an appliqué of various fragments, different in colour and texture. This term also denotes the work performed in this technique. It was first introduced into the visual arts by the futurists and cubists, in particular, Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque. They combined scraps of fabric, photographs and wallpaper on canvases. Famous collage makers include film director Sergei Parajanov, who combined photographs, lace scraps, porcelain and dried plants.
They often try to diversify the decorating technique with pictorial tools: a brush with paint or a pen with ink. The creative genre is notable for its variegation and bold ideas. A related technique is assemblage, which involves combining various objects and their parts on a surface. Photo collages are very popular today. Read more
. Similar to the earlier phase, Pablo Picasso’s abstract art in this phase would seldom cater to the replication of reality.
Instead, it took reference from it but later finished the collages with simple lines and shapes, often with cut-out paper and other materials.
Some of the most famous abstract paintings by Picasso at this time include Bottle of Vieux Marc, Guitar, and Newspaper and Glass. These paintings diligently emphasize the importance of flat shapes and materials, which blatantly represent their own artificiality.
The fundamental principle of abstract art, as put by Picasso, was to it is expressive in its own terms, without trying to mimic reality.
What Is Considered Abstract Art?

How Did Picasso Impact Art?

If you are talking about the most notable 20th Century movements that have helped significantly extend the boundaries of art as a concept, Cubism
Avant-garde is how modern art critics refer the general trend of new artistic directions that arose in world art at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. A very thin line separates it from the concept of “modernism”. Read more
The art movement developed in the first quarter of the 20th century, mainly in Italy and Russia. Some ironically called it scandalous cubism. The founding fathers urged to stop adoring the art of the past, and to exalt the industrial spirit of the future: to draw airplanes, cars, metal bridges, steamers and other achievements of the progress. Read more
Cubism (fr. cubisme) is a recognizable art movement that originated at the beginning of the 20th century, and many of its techniques are still in demand. Its distinctive features are the direct use of geometric shapes, a narrow circle of subjects (portraits, still lifes or buildings), deformation, angularity, complete lack of realism. In Cubism, shape is more important than colour. Read more
by Picasso is the first name that comes to mind.
This movement paved the way for similar future movements like Constructivism
Constructivism art arose in Russia, among the artists and architects who actively welcomed revolutionary sentiments, and subsequently the proletarian revolution itself, as the beginning of a new epoch, designed to qualitatively change the inner world of man and his environment. Read more
, Orphism
Orphism was invented by Robert Delaunay, because he felt too tight within Cubism. The opportunity to experiment with shape fascinated Delaunay much less than playing with light and colour. Orphism is characterized by concentric circles and discs of contrasting colours that create a sense of movement and rhythm. Orphist paintings are either painted on a plane, or represent an intersection of different planes. Read more
, Futurism
Avant-garde is how modern art critics refer the general trend of new artistic directions that arose in world art at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. A very thin line separates it from the concept of “modernism”. Read more
The art movement developed in the first quarter of the 20th century, mainly in Italy and Russia. Some ironically called it scandalous cubism. The founding fathers urged to stop adoring the art of the past, and to exalt the industrial spirit of the future: to draw airplanes, cars, metal bridges, steamers and other achievements of the progress. Read more
, and even Vorticism
Vorticism (it. vortice — whirlwind, vortex) is the direction of the English avant-garde, which originated in 1914. Its name was chosen by the Italian futurist Umberto Boccioni who claimed that all creative art emanated from an emotional vortex. Read more
. In a more generic sense, it helped revolutionize and lay the groundwork for the entire 20th-century modern art as you know it.
That said, one thing that was linked at the bottom of Cubism was the abstraction for Picasso. His works did pursue abstraction, but in all the abstract Pablo Picasso paintings, you will find reality as a reference and starting point. Starting from Pablo Picasso’s abstract faces to the altering of elements for still life, there was a lot to see and to learn from this movement.
With that at the base, he worked his way up to his painting. This further helped him always leave an imprint of what was real on his canvas, in spite of the abstract appearance.
To sum it up, Picasso’s abstract painting, more importantly, his approach to abstraction, changed the art community drastically and undoubtedly for the better. His contribution to his century’s modern art cannot be forgotten and has not been even in the 21st century.
What Is Considered Abstract Art?

Famous Paintings by Pablo Picasso

While there are a number of Pablo Picasso’s abstract portraits that are revered around the world, there are some that are rather notable. Further mentioned below are some of the best-known works of Pablo Picasso
1. The Old Guitarist (1904)
2. Les Demoiselle (1907)
3. Bather (1909)
4. Ma Jolie (1912)
5. The Musicians (1921)
6. Le Reve (1932)
7. Guemica (1937)
8. The Weeping Woman (1937)
9. Bull’s Head (1942)
10. Sylvette (1954)
What Is Considered Abstract Art?