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La Victoire de Samothrace, Unknown, 190 BC

The Viaduct at L'Estaque



Welcome to Pompidou!

Pompidou picks up where the Musee d'Orsay left off.

While the Orsay Museum was a treasure trove of 19th century art, Pompidou takes us into the 20th century.

The Viaduct at L'Estaque marks the beginning of Cubism - one of the most revolutionary and influential art movements of all time.

As we've seen, by the end of the 19th century art was increasingly abstract (check out the walks Treasures of the Louvre and Favorites of the Musee d'Orsay).

But art was still figurative.

While many artists challenged the status quo, they were still representing shapes that were instantly recognisable and had clear connections with the real world.

They made it a point to represent the real world as they saw it, in its immediacy.

This changed in the 20th century.

The Viaduct at L'Estaque is the first time an artist chose to dramatically drop the idea of representing the real world in favour of something more abstract.

Braque, in the words of a critic, "reduced everything, places and figures and houses, to geometric schemas, to cubes".

This led to the term Cubism.

It opened the door to the explosion of abstract art in the 20th century.

Fun fact : the village of L'Estaque, in the South of France, was a favorite spot of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist painters.

Cezanne made many paintings of the village.

But Braque went one step further in his abstraction.

With that small gesture, he profoundly changed history of art.