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La Victoire de Samothrace, Unknown, 190 BC

The Viaduct at L'Estaque

Braque

1908

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Welcome to Pompidou!

While the Louvre stopped at the 19th century, and the Orsay Museum is 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 influential art movements of all time.

As we've seen, by the end of the 19th century, with artists like Cezanne and Van Gogh, art was becoming increasingly abstract.

But art was still figurative.

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

This changed in the 20th century.

Indeed, 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 and 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.

But Braque went one step further in his abstraction.

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