Pop art vs. Cubism: V stark differences to look at

Pop Art and Cubism are two of the most popular artistic movements of the 20th century.  Both fuelled by a need for a change they have more in common than one can expect.

While Pop Art is known by its bright colors, defined line works and some kind of iconic element used as the main subject, cubist painters were not bound to copying form. Instead, they presented a new reality in paintings that depicted radically fragmented objects.

To give you a better idea about the differences between cubism and pop art, we have compiled a TON of information with five stark differences to look at.

Difference between pop art and cubism

POP ART

Marylin - Andy Warhol, pop art
Marylin – Andy Warhol

Undoubtedly, Pop-Art emerged in both New York and London during the mid-1950s. Becoming the dominant avant-garde style until the late 1960s. In the United States, pop art was a response by artists. They used impersonal, mundane reality, irony, and parody to “defuse” the personal symbolism and “painterly looseness” of abstract expressionism.

This movement aimed to solidify the idea that art can draw from any source, and that no hierarchy could disrupt this. The bright colour schemes also enabled this form of avant-garde art to emphasise certain elements in contemporary culture.

Pop Art helped to narrow the division between the commercial arts and the fine arts. It was the first Post-Modernist movement (where medium is as important as the message) as well as the first school of art to reflect the power of film and television, from which many of its most famous images acquired their celebrity. Common sources of Pop iconography were; advertisements, consumer product packaging, photos of film-stars, pop-stars and other celebrities, and comic strips. Famous Artists of this movement include, Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein.

Cubism

Three Musicians, 1921 by Pablo Picasso
Three Musicians, 1921 by Pablo Picasso

Cubism emerged in in Paris between 1907 and 1914. The Cubist painters rejected the inherited concept that art should copy nature, or that artists should adopt the traditional techniques of perspective, modeling, and foreshortening. They wanted instead to emphasize the two-dimensionality of the canvas. In order to achieve that, they reduced and fractured objects into geometric forms. And then realigned these within a shallow, relieflike space.

Differences between pop art and cubism

Colour

Pop Art

Color Wheel

Pop art is characterized by vibrant, bright colors. Primary colors red, yellow, and blue were prominent pigments that appeared in many famous works, particularly in Roy Lichtenstein’s body of work.

Cubism

Cubism is known by the use of a nearly monochromatic scale (hues of tan, brown, gray, cream, green, or blue were preferred). This is intencional, in order not to distract the viewer from the artist’s primary interest—the structure of form itself.

Forms

Pop Art

Roy Lichtenstein - Nurse Pop art vs. Cubism
Roy Lichtenstein – Nurse

The main inspirations of pop art are regular items we use in our day-to-day lives. A water bottle, tumbler, mobile phone, anything could be an inspiration for an artist of this genre. The motive is to connect with the viewer on a fundamental level. Consequently, when a person sees an item he or she uses regularly, he is able to relate with the image quickly.

Cubism

Juan Gris - Portrait of Pablo Picasso
Juan Gris – Portrait of Pablo Picasso

In Cubist work up to 1910, the subject of a picture was usually discernible. Although figures and objects were dissected or “analyzed” into a multitude of small facets, these were then reassembled, in order to evoke those same figures or objects. 

Techniques

Pop Art

Many Pop artists engaged in printing processes, which enabled them to quickly reproduce images in large quantities. Andy Warhol used silkscreen printing. Roy Lichtenstein used lithography, or printing from a metal plate or stone, to achieve his signature visual style. Mixed media and collage also got popular among this style. Artists as Tom Wesselmann and Richard Hamilton combined seemingly disparate images into a single canvas to create a thoroughly modern form of narrative.

Cubism

Cubism abandoned traditional notions of perception. It aimed to represent solidarity and volume in a three-dimensional plane without converting the two-dimensional canvas. The outcome was to be of intellectual vision rather then spontaneous. “The aim of Analytical Cubism was to produce a conceptual image of an object, as opposed to an optical one” 

Important dates

Pop Art

Late 1940s to the mid- to late-1950s The movement presented a challenge to traditions of fine art by including imagery from popular and mass culture, such as advertisingcomic books and mundane mass-produced cultural objects.

Although pop art began in the early 1950s, in America it was given its greatest impetus during the 1960s. In December 1962 The term “pop art” was officially introduced.

Cubism

Cubism emerged between 1907 and 1911.

Early Cubism: 1909–1914 here was a distinct difference between Kahnweiler’s Cubists and the Salon Cubists. Prior to 1914, Picasso, Braque, Gris and Léger (to a lesser extent) gained the support of a single committed art dealer in Paris, Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler. He guaranteed them an annual income for the exclusive right to buy their works.

Crystal Cubism: 1914–1918 A significant modification of Cubism was born due to a shift towards a strong emphasis on large overlapping geometric planes and flat surface activity.

Cubism after 1918: The most innovative period of Cubism was before 1914. After World War I, with the support given by the dealer Léonce Rosenberg, Cubism returned as a central issue for artists, and continued as such until the mid-1920s.

Geographic area

Pop Art

Pop-Art emerged in both New York and London during the mid-1950s becoming the dominant avant-garde style until the late 1960s. In the United States, pop art was a response by artists.

By contrast, the origins of pop art in post-War Britain, while employing irony and parody, were more academic. Britain focused on the paradoxical imagery of American pop culture as powerful, manipulative symbolic devices that were affecting whole patterns of life. Fuelled by American popular culture when viewed from afar, early pop art in Britain was a matter of ideas.

Cubism

Cubism, was created between 1907 and 1914 in Paris. Principally by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque. The Cubist style emphasized the flat, two-dimensional surface of the picture plane, rejecting the traditional techniques and refuting time-honoured theories that art should imitate nature.

Famous Artists

Cubism

Notoriously, Pablo Picasso, Braque, Gris, Léger, Gleizes, Metzinger, Stuart Davis and the Englishman Ben Nicholson are some of the most important cubist painters.

Pop Art

Andy Warhol,  Tom Wesselmann, Richard Hamilton , Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein were the principal names behind this movement.

Conclusion

  • Pop Art emerged in the mid-1950’s while cubism was created between 1907 and 1914
  • Pop Art uses bright colors. Cubism, in the other hand prefers the use of a nearly monochromatic scale
  • Cubism was born in Paris, moreover Pop Art was born in the U.S.
  • While Cubist painters rejected the inherited concept that art should copy nature, Pop Artists seek inspiration on regular items we use in our day-to-day lives.

Why does Pop Art Use Such Bright Colors?

Pop art is probably the most well-known artistic movement of the 20th century. Fueled by consumerism, mass media and popular culture, pop art can be easily recognized by its bright colors, defined line works and some kind of iconic element used as the main subject.

So, why does pop art uses such bright colors? Pop Art emerged in the mid-1950’s, and became popular when Great depression and World war II ended. Due to what was happening in that point of time new generation artists wanted something new. Pop art used bright colors highly because of its ability to grab the attention quickly.

The use of bright colors to catch attention is actually a clever move. Therefore is more complex than what looks like. So, we’re going to be reviewing what pop art is, how it started, principal artists and the complex side of the bright colours.

What is Pop Art ?

Pop Art is a movement that emerged in the mid-20th century. It is characterised by simple, everyday imagery, and vibrant block colours. This movement aimed to solidify the idea that art can draw from any source, and that no hierarchy could disrupt this. The bright colour schemes also enabled this form of avant-garde art to emphasise certain elements in contemporary culture.

Pop Art helped to narrow the division between the commercial arts and the fine arts. It was the first Post-Modernist movement (where medium is as important as the message) as well as the first school of art to reflect the power of film and television, from which many of its most famous images acquired their celebrity. Common sources of Pop iconography were; advertisements, consumer product packaging, photos of film-stars, pop-stars and other celebrities, and comic strips. Famous Artists of this movement include, Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein.

History of Pop Art

Pop-Art emerged in both New York and London during the mid-1950s becoming the dominant avant-garde style until the late 1960s. In the United States, pop art was a response by artists. They used impersonal, mundane reality, irony, and parody to “defuse” the personal symbolism and “painterly looseness” of abstract expressionism.

By contrast, the origins of pop art in post-War Britain, while employing irony and parody, were more academic. Britain focused on the paradoxical imagery of American pop culture as powerful, manipulative symbolic devices that were affecting whole patterns of life. Fuelled by American popular culture when viewed from afar, early pop art in Britain was a matter of ideas. Similarly, Pop art was both an extension and a repudiation of Dadaism.While pop art and Dadaism explored some of the same subjects, pop art replaced the destructive, satirical, and anarchic impulses of the Dada movement with a detached affirmation of the artfacts of mass culture.

Bright Colours and Pop Art

Advertisers began using pop art highly because of its ability to grab the attention quickly. It does so because it uses bright and vivid colors. You should take a look at some of the famous pieces of pop-art and you will see the extensive use of bright colors. In total, the ability of pop art to connect with the viewer makes it one of the most powerful media in the modern world. Whether you want to boost customers or master art, you’ll be able to do so with the help of pop art.

The Color Whell

The Color Wheel is a visual representation of the spectrum of color. It consists of twelve warm and cool hues (Hue is the word used to describe a pure color) and visually describes the relationship between them.

colour wheel
Colour Wheel

Pop art and color

Primary Colors (red, yellow and blue) are the three hues that cannot be mixed or formed by any combination of other colors. All other colors are created from combining these three hues. Those colours are highly present in the works of Roy Lichtenstein, and is due to them that his works stand out so much.

Primary Color Weel and Oh, Jeff… I Love You, Too… But… by Roy Lichtenstein Picture by Gautier Poupeau

Secondary Colors (green, orange and violet) are the colors that are form by mixing the primary colors. These colors are also highly present in the Pop Art movement as we can see in the image bellow.

Andy Warhol - Two Marilyns,
Andy Warhol – Two Marilyns, 1962. Acrylic, silkscreen and pencil on linen (1928-1987) Broad Collection Picture by rocor

What makes pop art stand out?

The main inspirations of pop art are regular items we use in our day-to-day lives. A water bottle, tumbler, mobile phone, anything could be an inspiration for an artist of this genre. The motive is to connect with the viewer on a fundamental level. When a person sees an item he or she uses regularly, he is able to relate with the image quickly.

The context of the image / recognizable imagery:

The context is the most important part of an image. The most attractive feature of these images is the unusual context and object used. This was the chief reason behind the success and huge popularity of this art form. It’s also the reason why it is so popular in the current world. So while creating a piece of pop art, you’d be placing a regular item of daily use in an unconventional place. Some of the most successful artists who performed this task skillfully were Jasper Johns and Andy Warhol. 

Combining humor with art:

Irony and satire are two of the most important aspects of this art form. One combines a usual item with an unconventional setting. To display a unique connection, you’ll have to use satire or irony. It will make the artwork more attractive and sensible. Otherwise, it’d be too difficult for the viewer to interpret the artwork properly. Apart from that, as pop art has become popular in advertising, you can see a large number of examples in this field. Advertisers use wit and humor in these artworks to ensure that the viewer admires it considerably and remember the message of the art too. 

Using colors that strike attention

Pop art is characterized by vibrant, bright colors. Primary colors red, yellow, and blue were prominent pigments that appeared in many famous works, particularly in Roy Lichtenstein’s body of work.

Innovative techniques

Many Pop artists engaged in printmaking processes, which enabled them to quickly reproduce images in large quantities. Andy Warhol used silkscreen printing, a process through which ink is transferred onto paper or canvas through a mesh screen with a stencil. Roy Lichtenstein used lithography, or printing from a metal plate or stone, to achieve his signature visual style. Pop artists often took imagery from other areas of mainstream culture and incorporated it into their artworks, either altered or in its original form. This type of Appropriation art often worked hand in hand with repetition to break down the separation between high art and low art, which made the distinction between advertising and media from fine art.

Mixed media and collage

Pop artists often blended materials and utilized a variety of different types of media. Like Robert Rauschenberg, whose works anticipated the Pop art movement, artists Tom Wesselmann and Richard Hamilton combined seemingly disparate images into a single canvas to create a thoroughly modern form of narrative.

Conclusion:

  • Pop Art emerged in the mid-1950’s, and became popular when Great depression and World war II ended;
  • Pop art used bright colors highly because of its ability to grab the attention quickly;
  • The bright colour schemes also enabled this form of avant-garde art to emphasise certain elements in contemporary culture;
  • Advertisers began using pop art highly because of its ability to grab the attention quickly;
  • Primary Colors are highly present in the works of Roy Lichtenstein;

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