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CUBISM , DE STIJL AND NEW
CONCEPTION OF SPACE
NEW CONCEPTION OF SPACE- 15th Century
• Around 15th Century , Florence was not merely as the home of social and
political experiments but it was also the place where the espiril noureau of
the Renaissance broke through most strongly .
• In Florence, This conception of space was translated into artistic terms
through discovery of perspective.
• To the 15th Century the principle of perspective came as a complete
revolution , involving an extreme and violent break with the medieval
conception of space , and with the flat , floating arrangements which
were its artistic expression.
• The most significant thing was the mixture of art and science, indeed one
rarely sees so complete a unity in thinking and feeling- art and science.
• It is the very perspective , the scientific conception that finally takes the
space measurable from a perception point of view , leading to the
creation of an architecture made in its own likeness.
• Generally , we think of
from the conception of space
that generated it , as though
there was an Absolute space
where one can find
architecture coming from
extremely different periods .
• However architectures are
not natural objects , they are
artificial constructions : they
depend on the mind-set of
• For example, the Pantheon , it
was the result of an extremely
calculation , something the
Romans had got down to a
DUOMO OF FLORENCE
• The person generally credited with originating the Renaissance view of
architecture is Filippo Brunelleschi (1377-1446), whose first major
commission--the enormous brick dome that covers the central space of
Florence's Duomo or cathedral--was also perhaps the architecturally most
• The Duomo was begun in 1296 in the Gothic style and completed structurally
in 1436 with the dome engineered by Brunelleschi. While it retains the Gothic
pointed arch and the Gothic ribs of the original 13th-century design, its dome
is structurally influenced by the great domes of Ancient Rome such as
the Pantheon , and it is often described as the first building of the
• The dome is made of red brick and was ingeniously constructed without
supports, using a deep understanding of the laws of physics and mathematics.
• It remains the largest masonry dome in the world and was such an
unprecedented success at its time that the dome became an indispensable
element in church and even secular architecture thereafter .
• Entering the cathedral, one is struck by the building's vastness and
the sobriety of its furnishings. the colour and rich patterning of the
exterior, which serve to relate the mass of the structure to the
smaller scale of surrounding buildings, here give way to a simplicity
that underscores the titanic dimensions of this church (the largest
in europe when it was completed in the 15th century; 153 meters
long, 90 wide at the crossing, and 90 meters high from pavement to
the opening of the lantern)
• The relative bareness of the interior of santa maria del fiore
corresponds to the austere spiritual ideal of florence in the middle
ages and early renaissance; It suggests, in architectural terms, the
spirituality of the great reformers of florentine religious life.
• The formal matrix is two-fold: on the one hand, the rude strength
of romanesque country churches, and, on the other, an elegant
simplicity typical of mendicant basilicas like santa croce .
The construction of the dome of
florence cathedral was one of the
germinal events of renaissance
The problem had been posed in the
middle of the fourteenth century
when the definitive plan for the
octagonal crossing had been laid
The diameter of the dome at 39.5
metres (130 feet) precluded the
traditional use of wooden
structuring to support the
construction of the vault, while the
use of buttresses as in northern
gothic cathedrals was ruled out by
the building's design."
CONCEPTION OF SPACE- 20th Century
• In the early and mid-20th century, the concept of space was
critical in defining the modern movement in architecture.
• Notions of architectural space related to the coherence
between the interior and exterior of buildings emerged as a
• Counteracting previous understandings of architecture as a
progression of styles, space became a privileged quest of
• In time, however, space was actively reclaimed by artists,
geographers, sociologists, and others as their domain of
intervention and reflection.
• As proposed by French philosopher Michel Foucault, ours is
the epoch of space, an expanded field imbued with complex
Thus, we can conclude that:
-The Conception of Space is a mind-set that varies from period
- The different mind-sets of space find their own concretisation
• The cubism started in France in the early 20th century (around 1907), but its
ideas and concepts have continued to influence art today.
• The early 20th century was a time of change in the art world in France, yet
cubism was still highly rejected. Many people said it was ugly and they could
not understand it.
• The scientific and philosophical changes at the time influenced the subject
matter within cubist artwork and peoples ability to accept the changes cubism
the Angolans’ building in Estoril Montreal housing
• The name cubism was suggested by Henri Matisse in 1909.He observed that the
pictures themselves consisted of “nothing but little cubes”.
• The idea behind cubism is to show the essence of an object by displaying it from many
angles and points of views at the same time. An object is broken up, analysed from
different perspectives and reassembled in abstract form.
• An object could be reconstructed using separate views which overlapped and
• The cubists wanted to make pictures that reached beyond the rigid geometry of
perspective.They wanted to introduce the idea of “relativity” which is how the artist
perceived and selected elements from the subject, fusing both their observations and
memories into one concentrated image. The cubist pallete was restricted to a
narrow,almost monochromatic scale, dominated by grays and browns.
• Cubist art always has an ultimate reference to external reality without which it could
not express the fundamental tension between the demands of nature and the demands
• The subjects were represented in the form of basic geometric shapes (cube , sphere ,
cylinder and the cone).
• Cubism formed an important link between early-20th-century art and architecture. Most
often the connections are made by reference to shared formal characteristics: faceting of
form, spatial ambiguity , transparency and multiplicity.
• Architectural interest in Cubism centered on the dissolution and reconstitution of three-
dimensional form, using simple geometric shapes, juxtaposed without the illusions of
• Diverse elements could be superimposed, made transparent or penetrate one another,
while retaining their spatial relationships.
• Cubism had become an influential factor in the development of modern architecture from
1912 (La Maison Cubiste, by Raymond Duchamp-Villon and André Mare) onwards
• It led to simplification of building design, the use of materials appropriate to industrial
production, and the increased use of glass.
CUBISM AND ARCHITECTURE
Jan Gokar ,
CHARACTERISTICS OF CUBIST BUILDINGS
• Each of the buildings has a basic geometric
design, often a cuboid shape.
• Simplicity is often an overriding
• The buildings have sharp, clean lines,
ensuring that the building is viewed in
perspective with ease.
• Positive and negative spaces are marked
• Cubist buildings are often designed to be
manufactured as prefabricated buildings
and moved from the factory to the building
site where they are assembled.
• The windows have a cube/rectangular form
and do not necessarily line up with each
other, as in traditional/conventional
• Subtle colors dominate the design, with one
or two colors prominent.
Guernica By Pablo
Use of positive and
negative space in
Housing by VIDZ
• Czech Cubism (referred to more generally as Cubo-Expressionism) was an avant-
garde art movement of Czech proponents ofCubism, active mostly in Prague from
1912 to 1914. Prague was perhaps the most important centre for Cubism outside
Paris before the start of World War One.
• Czech Cubists distinguish their work through the construction of sharp points,
slicing planes, and crystalline shapes in their art works. These angles allowed the
Czech Cubists to incorporate their own trademark in the avant-garde art group
• They believed that objects carried their own inter energy which could only be
released by splitting the horizontal and vertical surfaces that restrain the
conservative design and “ignore the needs of the human soul.” It was a way to
revolt from the typical art scene in the early 1900s in Europe.
Cubist Villa ,
The house of
Black Madonna ,
Prague , Czech
• After Czechoslovakia's founding in 1918, architectural Czech Cubism gradually
developed into Czech Rondocubism, which was more decorative, as it was
influenced by traditional folk ornaments to celebrate the revival of Czech national
Rondocubist building of Legiobanka,
Prague, Czech Republic
The Adria Palace , Prague, Czech
"We speak of concrete and not abstract
painting because nothing is more
concrete, more real than a line, a colour,
(1917 – 1931)
De Stijl means "the style" in Dutch, emerged
largely in response to the horrors of World War I
and the wish to remake society in its aftermath.
Viewing art as a means of social and spiritual
redemption, the members of De Stijl embraced
a utopian vision of art and its transformative
The movement proposed ultimate simplicity and abstraction through which they could
express a Utopian idea of harmony and order.
The harmony and order was established through a reduction of elements to pure
geometric forms and primary colours, black, white and grey. .
From the flurry of new art movements that followed the Impressionist revolutionary
new perception of painting, Cubism arose in the early 20th century as an important
and influential new direction. In the Netherlands, too, there was interest in this "new
art". However, because the Netherlands remained neutral in World War I, Dutch
artists were not able to leave the country after 1914 and were thus effectively isolated
from the international art world—and in particular, from Paris, which was its centre
During that period, painter Theo van Doesburg started looking for other artists to set
up a journal and start an art movement. Van Doesburg was also a writer, poet, and
critic, who had been more successful writing about art than working as an
independent artist. Quite adept at making new contacts due to his flamboyant
personality and outgoing nature, he had many useful connections in the art world.
Theo van Doesburg,
Composition VII (the three
HOW DE STIJL STARTED?
"The three principal colours are essentially yellow,
blue, and red. They are the only colours existing ...
Yellow is the movement of the ray (vertical) ... blue
is he contrasting colour to yellow (horizontal
firmament) ... red is the mating of yellow and
- M. H. J. Schoenmaekers
De Stijl – The Style
Led by the painters Theo van Doesburg and Piet Mondrian.
Promoting their innovative ideas in their journal of the same name, the members envisioned
nothing less than the ideal fusion of form and function, thereby making De Stijl in effect the
ultimate style. To this end, De Stijl artists turned their attention not only to fine art media such
as painting and sculpture, but virtually all other art forms as well, including industrial design,
typography, even literature and music.
De Stijl's influence was perhaps felt most noticeably in the realm of architecture, helping give
rise to the International Style of the 1920s and 1930s.
Their works of art helped the public along the path to truth and purity.
The Netherlands-based De Stijl movement advocated pure abstraction and universality
by a reduction to the essentials of form and colour; they simplified visual compositions
to the vertical and horizontal directions, and used only primary colours along
with black and white and the relationship between positive and negative elements in
an arrangement of non-objective forms and lines.
“Only primary colors and non colors,
only squares and rectangles, only
straight and horizontal or vertical lines.”
- Piet Mondrian
DE STIJL or NEO - PLASTICISM
Originally a publication, De Stijl was founded in 1917 by two pioneers - Piet
Mondrian and Theo van Doesburg. The magazine De Stijl became a vehicle for
Mondrian’s ideas on art, and in a series of articles in the first year’s issues he defined
his aims and used, perhaps for the first time, the term neo-plasticism. This became the
name for the type of abstract art he and the De Stijl circle practised.
DI STIJL, NUMBER 1, 1917
Red and Blue Chair designed
by Gerrit Rietveld in 1917
“This new plastic idea will ignore the particulars of appearance, that is to
say, natural form and colour. On the contrary, it should find its expression in
the abstraction of form and colour, that is to say, in the straight line and the
clearly defined primary colour“
- Piet Mondrian
The works avoided symmetry and attained aesthetic balance by the use of opposition. This
element of the movement embodies the second meaning of Stijl: "a post, jamb or support";
this is best exemplified by the construction of crossing joints, most commonly seen
In many of the group's three-dimensional works, vertical and horizontal lines are
positioned in layers or planes that do not intersect, thereby allowing each element to
exist independently and unobstructed by other elements. This feature can be found in
the Rietveld Schröder House and the Red and Blue Chair.
Rietveld Schröder House
De Stijl was influenced by Cubist painting as well as by the mysticism and the ideas
about "ideal" geometric forms (such as the "perfect straight line") in the neoplatonic
philosophy of mathematician M. H. J. Schoenmaekers.
In music, De Stijl was an influence only on the work of composer Jakob van Domselaer,
a close friend of Mondrian. Between 1913 and 1916, he composed his Proeven van
Stijlkunst ("Experiments in Artistic Style"), inspired mainly by Mondrian's paintings.
This minimalistic—and, at the time, revolutionary—music defined "horizontal" and
"vertical" musical elements and aimed at balancing those two principles. Van
Domselaer was relatively unknown in his lifetime, and did not play a significant role
within the De Stijl group.
COMPOSITION WITH RED, BLUE AND YELLOW
NEO PLASTICISM - 1930
"Why should something that no one finds strange in music, be
impossible in the art of painting/sculpture? By comparing works of
art that do not represent an object, is in our experience, the most
fruitful way of exercising our receptivity for them."
- Piet Mondrian
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