In the very early part of the 20th century when Einstein developed the theory of relativity, it gradually became clear that reality was not as it seemed to be, that time and space were relative. Nothing travels faster than the speed of light and when one massive object passes close to another space bends.
At about the same time artistic expression made a significant turn and began presenting the world in a different way than it appeared. Objects were broken down and reassembled in an abstracted form. Objects within a painting were looked at from multiple points of view, creating a new direction in art that became know at Cubism. Pablo Picasso is generally regarded as having invented this new school of art which lasted from about 1906 until 1921. Still, the movement influences subsequent movements in art and remains influential today.
Both Picasso and Braque, two major contributors to Cubism, resisted total abstraction while changing perceptive common to observation. This was clearly experimentation with new geometric perspectives of the world, an interesting direction in view of the fact that Einstein’s theories were pointing toward a new geometry in the universe. While this does not mean that new developments in science and art are related, it does mean that at the beginning of the last century both science and art were looking at the world in different if not identical ways.
As I noted in an earlier post “found art” fragments were sometimes added creating a collage or partial collage within the painting. This established the possibility for a serious juxtaposition of ideas within the painting as well as an opportunity for humorous effect and an occasional Cubist caricature. Cubism also influenced sculpture, architecture, literature and poetry. Also, Cubism flourished at a time when photography came into its own. The photograph in a sense took over the representation of the world as we see it, leaving the Cubists to experiment and re-create the world in a variety of novel ways.