Who Were the Cubists?

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Cubism was a style of painting explored by two artists – Braque and Picasso – in France at the beginning of the 20th century. Rather than paint an object from one direction, they showed things from a number of different viewpoints – from the front, the side, the top, the bottom. The effect of showing all these viewpoints together was that the painting was flattened out. Instead of using perspective, which is a way of showing distance in a painting, the cubists wanted to show how a painting is actually flat.

Look at Garden Green again. See how the table rises up the painting and look how the spoon and cup sit differently. It seems as though we are looking down on the spoon but looking across at the cup and saucer. If we were looking down at the cup and saucer we would be able to look right into it. Norah McGuinness is using square blocks of colour in this painting – think what a cube is! These cubes of paint are seen on the table, the lemon and particularly the patchwork garden outside.

Norah McGuinness has captured the sense of a lovely warm day. The kitchen table is before an open window with pink climbing roses outside and look at all the different tones of green she has used. There is a girl in the garden. What do you think she is doing? Maybe she is picking something from the garden for dinner!