September 22, 2023


How Art Works

Cubism, Trompe l’Oeil, and Juan Gris – The Artsology Weblog

3 min read

I loved a go to to the Metropolitan Museum of Artwork final week, and one of many exhibits I used to be trying ahead to seeing was “Cubism and the Trompe l’Oeil Tradition,” which in contrast these two inventive kinds. I’ve lengthy been a fan of cubist art, and was anticipating to be wowed by cubist work by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque, who had been the first pioneers of this model. However I got here away from the present pondering that Juan Gris was in actual fact the standout star of this present. Maybe it’s because I’m very aware of Picasso’s and Braque’s cubist works, having seen a lot of them reproduced in artwork books many occasions in addition to on this and different museums prior to now. And whereas I’m aware of the work of Juan Gris, the work included on this present had been both new to me or just stood out as one thing contemporary and totally different from the Picassos and Braques that I like.

Right here’s a pair of Juan Gris cubist work from the present: beneath left, “Violin and Engraving,” 1913, and beneath proper, “Bottle and Fruit Dish,” 1916.

Juan Gris cubist paintings
Cubist work by Juan Gris, seen within the Cubism and the Trompe l’Oeil Custom exhibition on the Met.

If I can higher clarify why these appealed to me, one of many issues that appeared contemporary and totally different was Gris’ expanded use of coloration. Picasso and Braque typically stayed in a spread of earth tones, so the usage of blue by Gris (above left) and different daring colours, corresponding to purple, yellow and inexperienced (seen in different works not proven right here), actually made his works pop. The Met really has a really in-depth evaluation of Juan Gris within the context of cubism and this exhibition, try their coverage of him here.

Don’t get me improper, I liked seeing the Picassos and Braques, and to a lesser-extent, the trompe l’oeil work, which – to me – appeared extra like comparability factors on this exhibition for the way the cubist artists had been radically altering a more-traditional nonetheless life model. This subsequent pairing helps clarify what I imply: at left is “Nonetheless Life with Violin, Ewer, and Bouquet of Flowers,” 1657, by J.S. Bernard, and at proper is “Nonetheless Life with Compote and Glass,” 1914-15, by Pablo Picasso. The Bernard portray is beautiful, I like the folds and shadows of the oriental rug overlaying the desk and the precise particulars and lighting of the varied objects on this nonetheless life. However then one can check out Picasso doing the identical factor – so far as portray objects on a desk – however he’s distorting the objects, breaking them up and reassembling them in an abstracted type, and flattening out the sense of area.

A trompe l'oeil painting next to a Picasso cubist painting
Seeing a trompe l’oeil nonetheless life by J.S. Bernand alongside a cubist nonetheless life by Pablo Picasso. Seen on the Metropolitan Museum of Artwork in New York Metropolis.

The exhibition is up via this coming Sunday, January 22, 2023, so in the event you get an opportunity to catch it on certainly one of its final days, I’d extremely counsel it. There’s a lot extra to the present than what I coated right here, however hopefully I supplied an introduction that may result in additional investigation. You can even get data on planning a visit to the Met here.

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