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Historical Art: Classical Art and Cubism History and Comparison Essay


Art history generally refers to the academic study of objects of art in history and their development styles. This study will examine several methods used by historians to answer questions that help them come up with data on various historical periods.

Art history began in the 19th century but with dating of the ancient past. The reason it had not been perfected earlier was that many people were illiterate. Art history as a discipline is a chronology of advanced styles of an object commissioned by individuals or public bodies in Western Europe. The works of art vary with time and across genres.

For instance, some works were done as a continuation of others using same styles while others were originally done by individuals. The two major ways that historians use to find information on arts are archaeology and the study of source texts such as recordings. The study of these arts played a big role in beginning of history as history means the study of man’s past events. This discussion will be based on two historical periods, classical art period and cubism art period (Harline, 1987).

Classical Art Period

The classical period is simply the period of cultural history concerned with old civilizations of ancient Greece and ancient Rome. The artists who were involved in studying this period were Johann Christian Bach, Ledwig Van Beethoven, Franz Joseph Haydn and Wolfgang Amadeus. This period is concerned with the study of music and its developments.

This art has strong linkings connecting the art and philosophy of old Greece and Rome. This style became as an advancement of the prior Baroque style (Murray, 2003).The classical style was mainly dominated by homophonic music whereby the melody and the accompaniment of the melody are studied differently.

This simply means that new forms of composing melodies were discovered to enable the transformation. The most important form of this style was the sonata and it continued evolving and advancing. In this period, the sonatas became different and better. This meant that it was possible for composers to survive in the industry of music without being employees of one party. Concerts were also done publicly as composers organized the concerts featuring their own music.

Cubism Art Epoch

Cubism was a very influential art style whose artists were painters Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque in France between 1907 and 1914. This style was mainly embarking on the flat, two-dimensional surface of the picture plane. These painters did not depend on direct copying of objects but they painted paintings that presented fragmented objects.

The cubism period is further divided into two phases as each shows certain advancements. Construction of right angle and straight lines as some parts of the paintings appeared sculptural. Mandolin puts this by quoting Picasso, “At that time I painted a lot of musical instruments, firstly because I was surrounded by them and then because their form, their volume, came into the realm of the still life exactly as I wanted.

I was seeking a tactile, palpable space as I like to call it, and musical instruments, as objects have this characteristic that can bring them to life through touch” (Monod-Fontaine, 1982, p. 65). In the analytical cubism phase, color schemes were made monochromatic to suite the presentation of complex objects.

This also reduced the multiple views to opaque and transparent planes. The forms were also denser at the center of the paintings as they diffused towards the edges of the drawing papers. In the second stage of cubism technique, artificial cubism continued the concluding work and highlighted amalgamation of diverse appearances in the picture.

The new paintings made many people to start doing paintings in their homes as they painted walls. Dancers also used the paintings to decorate themselves and thus look better. The musical instruments were painted and this was mostly in churches and other religious organs that existed then. This style has remained in practice even to date and it was worthy to be continued on


The two periods, classical and cubism have various differences and similarities although they are all connected to historical art. Firstly, the two periods depended on materials and knowledge from their prior arts. The classical and cubism styles were only advancing on their prior styles. In addition, it is clear that both the artist of classical style and cubism style were in total control over what, when and where they produced.

They could record all what they came up with for future references and use. The two styles also had great impact to the society as people found the new techniques admirable and worthy (Harline, 1987). They also both contributed much to the field of art and made art popular among many people in Greece and other parts of the world. Differently it was seen that the classical period had greater impact on the society than the cubism style.

Many people got interested in music as the public concerts were done and thus classical period had influence on large numbers of people. The classical art was also important to some features in the community like the church were people could sing using the new orchestra instruments and with due time choirs were formed in churches. While the subject matter in classical art was music, the subject matter in cubism style was painting.

The aim of classical art was to make music better, romantic and publicize it while the aim of cubism art was to make paintings more colorful and admirable. In classical art more knowledge and time was required to make the process a success as compared to cubism period, which required more interest and observations. The classical period required knowledge on music while the cubism period relied on knowledge in paintings (Monod-Fontaine, 1982).

Divergence between the Two

Cubism did not deviate from classical art, even though some differences can be observed. The two works of art had more in common as opposed to differences. What had changed was time, place and the influence they had in society. While classical was more promoted by political class, cubism was taken and understood as a major works of trade.

It had a well-established society and a lobby group as well. The lobby group ensured that the rights of artistes were guaranteed and that protection was offered artistes. On the side of influence, Classical art had more impacts to the lives of people because it was integrated to religious and socio-cultural life.

It did not deviate from classical period despite the difference of years between the two periods. This period was greatly appreciated and after it, no other period based on the technique of painting followed. People just did advancements on what had already been got in the cubism period. Other styles like the romantic period concerned with music. The dancers in performing in the concerts also began painting themselves to make good look (Harline, 1987).

Impact of Cubism

Cubism had both positive and negative impacts to other works of art. Its styles and architectural designs shed some light to subsequent works, such as those of Surrealists.

Other artistes borrowed heavily from cubism. Another impact is that cubism gave rise to other competing artistic societies, which were determined to overthrow the existing style and establish a fresh design. Generally, in society, it can be concluded that Cubism brought about improved artistic designs and styles. It transformed the older works of art into something fairly simple and clear.

The type of art was later on associated with elites; those who could acquire them in society occupied high positions. Cubism period contributed greatly to the world of art by perfecting the colors and combination of different forms of the picture. The Fauve period that came later after cubism period relied greatly on this period. The Fauve period made more advancement like mixing of colors that were not in the cubism period.

Works of Art and Artistes

Cubism was a 20th century ultramodern art faction, founded by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque, that transformed European painting and figurine, and motivated allied groups in song, writing and structural design. The earliest division of cubism, referred to as critical Cubism, was equally fundamental and dominant as a squat but extremely important art society between 1907 and 1911 in France.

In its subsequent stage, artificial Cubism, the faction broadened and continued being imperative until about 1919, after the Surrealist group got recognition. In classical period of historical art, animal and human statues were made through carving.

The materials used in carving include the limestone, bronze and wood. Disco bolos which is a sculpture representing a person throwing a discus is an example of work of art in roman by Myron the artist. Other famous artists in classical period include the following Johann Christian Bach, Ledwig Van Beethoven, Franz Joseph Haydn and Wolfgang Amadeus.


History art forms a great base of history as it entails ancient activities. As different periods came, better and new techniques were added on the works.

Each period relied on some information from the latter period. The classical era brought out advanced symphonic music that enhanced public concerts. In this period, many people were interested in music due to the concerts and the orchestra grew bigger than in the Baroque’s era. The cubism period perfected on paintings making them more decorative and new shapes that were better than the prior ones.

The two periods were relying on knowledge and materials from their prior periods. The two arts also made great impacts on the art field. Classical period for instance introduced the public concerts that are even valued to date. The two arts had different subjects they were interested in. classical period was interested in music while the cubism period was interested in paintings. The artistes in the two periods were also using different knowledge.


Harline, C.E. (1987). Pamphlets, printing, and political culture in the early Dutch Republic. London: Springer.

Monod-Fontaine, et al. (1982). Braque, the papiers collés. Washington, DC: National Gallery of Art.

Murray, C. (2003). Key Writers on Art: The twentieth century. London: Routledge.

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