When focusing on such avant-garde art movements of the 20th century as Cubism and Futurism, it is possible to notice that they both were based on abstract tendencies. As a result, the viewers of Futurist and Cubist artworks can pay attention to certain similarities in the approach to representing reality and objects in paintings. However, the underlying principles of these two movements are rather different, and they need to be explained with reference to manifestos and statements created by the developers of Cubism and Futurism. The purpose of this paper is to determine the priorities in the Cubists’ and Futurists’ art and compare their artistic and political interests.
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The Cubists’ and Futurists’ Statements and Priorities
The representatives of Cubism and Futurism determined rather specific priorities selected as underlying principles and ideas for their art movements. Thus, the Cubists mostly cared about the representation of reality through artists’ points of view, focusing on “conceptualized reality or creative reality” (Harrison, Wood, & Gaiger, 1998, p. 182). The statement of Cubism, in this case, is that it “differs from the old schools of painting in that it is not an art of imitation, but an art of conception which tends towards creation” (Harrison et al., 1998, p. 182). As a result, the focus is on using forms and objects that are not real ones, but they are still pure and presented from a specific perspective.
The Futurists cared about dynamism in their works and the focus on the future full of innovations rather than on the traditional past. Thus, the Futurists proclaimed: “the world’s magnificence has been enriched by a new beauty: the beauty of speed … We want to hymn the man at the wheel.”1 (Apollonio, 1973, p. 21). From this perspective, it is possible to assume that the Futurists were interested in accentuating the movement and progress in contrast to stability and stagnation.
Similarities and Differences in Cubism and Futurism
The artistic interests of the Cubists and Futurists can be viewed as similar in terms of their emphasis on abstractionism in their works and the rejection of art traditions in representing objects and nature. They proposed an innovative approach to depicting the world around them in a subjective manner. However, there were differences in techniques and accentuated objects as the Cubists were famous for the use of geometric forms.
There were also similarities and differences in these artists’ political interests and visions. On the one hand, both Cubists and Futurists declared their nationalist and anarchist views. On the other hand, the Futurists’ ideas were more violent in their character, and they were more interested in promoting militarism and aggression in contrast to stability and democracy than the Cubists (Apollonio, 1973). If the Cubists were not extremely active anarchists in their views, the Futurists were highly oriented toward war and violence.
The comparison of Cubism and Futurism allows for determining the key aspects in their statements that explain the use of specific forms and techniques reflected in these artists’ works. The Futurists selected aggression and dynamism as their moving forces to represent their particular attitude toward reality and the present through accentuating the future and rejecting the past. The Cubists’ approaches to promoting their art views were also innovative and provocative, but they seem to be less belligerent than the Futurists’ ones.
Apollonio, U. (Ed.). (1973). The documents of 20th-century art: Futurist manifestos. (R. Brain, R. W. Flint, J. C. Higgitt & C. Tisdall, Trans.), New York, NY: Viking Press.
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Harrison, C., Wood, P. W., & Gaiger, J. (Eds.). (1998). Art in theory 1815-1900: An anthology of changing ideas. Oxford, UK: Blackwell.
- The full variant of the statement: “We want to hymn the man at the wheel, who hurls the lance of his spirit across the Earth, along the circle of its orbit” (Apollonio, 1973, p. 21).