Picasso’s Analogy

Posted in: Art | (Français) le25 September 2011

Picasso is arguably the most famous artist of the twentieth century, and, along with Georges Braque, was one of the first to develop cubist painting.


Cubism rejects the traditional notion that art should replicate natural objects. Cubists do not follow traditional styles of perspective to create real three-dimensional depth in their composition. Instead, their composition is fractured into cube-like geometrical forms.


Cubism has long evolved since Picasso’s pioneering work in the early 1900s. Cubists have not limited themselves to the use of cubical shapes since then but also use cylinders, spheres and cones to represent their subjects.


This is the portrait of Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler painted by Picasso in 1910. The portrait has been fragmented into small cube-like structures and simple geometric shapes. To produce such an artwork, the artist has to mentally transform everything into cubical shapes. When the artist looks at the eyes, the nose or the mouth of the subject, he visualizes an arrangement of cubical structures. The artist’s mind compares everything to cubes and transforms everything into cubical shapes. However, the transformation is not radical because you can still understand the composition through the cubical representations.


There is a process of analogical thinking in Picasso’s cubist painting. I have explained in a previous post that in analogical thinking, you search for the existence of a common logic between two things that are alike in some way such as the analogy between the heart and a pump or the solar system and an atom. In cubism, instead of looking for a common logic between two things, the artist’s mind looks for a common pattern. As in analogical thinking, there is a distant logic between the subject and the way it’s being represented.


Analogical thinking is at the basis of creative thinking and it can be applied in various fields such as arts, science, business and even law to stimulate creativity.

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