Art: At the Cubist Root

The most illuminating discovery of the Renaissance painters was perspective and how to use it. Georges Braque did away with all that. "Perspective forces objects to disappear away from the beholder instead of bringing them within reach," he protested. So he brought objects up to the picture plane, as if squashed on a window. His cubism gave man a new perspective that indifferently abandoned the third dimension and then thoughtfully added the fourth, time, by giving multiple views of the same object.

Like his paintings, Braque was a man of many facets. He was an avid swimmer, a boxer, a wrestler. He...

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