You are on page 1of 8

Page 1 of 8

Arts and the Crafts Movement , De Stijl and Cubism

Term Paper History of Architecture

Samridhi Sharma
Roll Number: 15
Sushant School of Art and Architecture

Art is no recreation , it can not be learned at spare moments , nor pursued when
we have nothing better to do. It is no handiwork for drawing room tables , no
relief for the ennui , it must be understood and undertaken seriously or not at all.
To advance it mens lives must be given , and to receive it , their hearts. John
Ruskin, Modern Painters , 1843.

The primary motive of the arts and crafts movement was , as the name implies,
the association of art and labour. Initially an English movement , it slowly
emerged from the general industrial field for over about forty years, though its
differentiation into a distinct phase of industrialism belonged to last 10 years. The
year 1860 was counted as the approximate year of its beginning, when William
Morris built his famous Red House on the outskirts of London, and served his
apprenticeship to the industrial arts by designing and executing the decoration
and furniture of his home.
The paper will compare the works of the three architects, who initiated
the arts and crafts movement, i.e.William Morris, C.R. Ashbee and
Page 2 of 8

The arts and crafts theory appeared in 1860 though , through the writings of
Ruskin and Morris.
Architects, designers and artists began to find new approaches to design and the
decorative arts. Theatres and crafts movement was predominantly initiated by a
group of architects, namely William Morris, C.R. Ashbee and W. R. Lethaby . These
architects and the movement, in general, placed great value on handwork,
the joy of craftsmanship and the natural beauty of materials. The
movement aimed to create affordable art and architecture for the
common man of the times. One of the important principles of the arts
and crafts movement was to revive traditional forms, which were seen
to be lost due to industrialization. It is important to note that the
architects, who were a part of the movement, viewed the interior and
the exterior of buildings as a whole. They worked along with artists, as
a result of which the buildings included a lot of sculpted elements and
symbolic imagery. Other than this, the arts and crafts movement
followed an open mindset, being accessible and visible to everybody.
Arts and crafts architecture strongly demonstrated the principles and
ideals of the movement. One of the typical features of arts and crafts architecture
was the usage of elements of the vernacular. This feature augments the open
mindset that exists in the movement. Extreme importance was given to the
usage of locally available materials, in their natural form. The open mindset
is well reflected in the plans and details of the buildings of the arts and crafts

Page 3 of 8

1. The Red house, designed by Philip Webb for William Morris, in
1860, is the first example of the arts and crafts movement and
is considered to be a building of importance. The design of the
house is known to be inspired by Gothic architecture, which is visible
in its false Gothic arches, tall windows, steep roofs emphasizing on
verticality, to name a few. The design of the house was highly
influenced by the beliefs of John Ruskin. He was of the opinion
that the function of each room in a building should be visible from
outside. This is well reflected in the plan of the Red House.

The plan of the house shows that Philip Webb designed the house such
that there are a series of room slinked by a corridor. The plan of the
house is L-shaped, which allows the gardens to be a part of the interior
of the house. Other than this, the L-shaped plan also allows the
formation of a courtyard, which is another prominent feature of the arts
and crafts architecture. A courtyard also extends the open mindedness
seen in design, as it allows visibility and light. Furthermore, the
openness is reflected in the materials used in the house. They are
rustic; local bricks, tiles and timber are used, which were local
Page 4 of 8
materials, used in their natural form an important element of the arts
and crafts architecture.

2. The Melsetter House, built for a retired businessman, by William
Lethaby, in 1898, is another house that exemplifies the domestic
architecture of the arts and crafts movement .Located in Oarkney,
Scotland, the house portrays many of the underlying principles of
the movement - simplicity, strength, and harmony with nature. The
house is a three- storey country mansion built around a paved
courtyard, with walled gardens. The arts and crafts movement
involved affordable crafts, for the common man of the times, as
opposed to Art Nouveau, which was ideally meant for the elite.
The architecture reflected the same idea. The Melsetter House,
like many houses of the arts and crafts movement, is a simple
building, such that everyone understands its design and

Page 5 of 8
Cubism was a truly revolutionary style of modern art developed by
Pablo and Georges Braques. It was the first style of abstract art which
evolved at the beginning of the 20
t h
century in response to a world that
was that was changing with unprecedented speed. Cubism was an
attempt by artists to revitalise the tired traditions of western art which
they believed had run their course. The cubists challenged conventional
form of representations such as perspective.
By 1909, Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque both felt that cubism was becoming
stagnant because the two of them had already pushed their original analytical
investigations to their logical conclusions and that, consequently, it was their
duty to regenerate cubism if it was not to degenerate into just another banal
picture formula. Their next step was to focus on the structure of objects by
depicting them through a grid-like scaffolding system on which the objects' many
aspects, including those hidden from sight, are displayed in a facet-like,
fragmented manner.
Picasso's Woman with Mandolin (1910) further illustrates the groundwork that
was being laid by these two artists. Picasso fragmented the girl's body into facets
that were modeled to stimulate their projection out of the flat picture plane
toward the viewer and that portray her in movement as she strums her mandolin.

Page 6 of 8
Furthermore, they no longer concerned themselves with the representation of
space because now the emphasis was on digesting multiple layers of information
and shapes. The end results were compositions that were simpler, brighter, and
bolder accomplished through the following techniques:
bringing together familiar scraps and unfamiliar forms in order to give shape to a
particular sense of urban life
exploring the individual experiences associated with public spaces and urban
using the language of publicity and commerce in an ambiguous manner to
suggest a multiplicity of contradictory meanings, especially through puns
capturing the new sense of simultaneity of diverse experiences-the fusion of
objects, people, machines, noises, light, smells, etc.

What Are the Characteristics of Cubism?
Braque and Picasso thought that the full significance of an object could
only be captured by showing it from multiple points of view and at different
times. So, they abandoned the idea of a single fixed viewpoint and instead
used a multiplicity of viewpoints.
The object was then reassembled out of fragments of these different
views, rather like a complex jigsaw puzzle. In this way, many different
views of an object were simultanously depicted in the same picture.
As far as artistic technique was concerned, Cubism showed how a sense of
solidity and pictorial structure could be created without traditional
perspective or modelling.
thus the Cubist style focused on the flat, two-dimensional surface of the
picture plane, and rejected the traditional conventions and techniques of
linear perspective, chiaroscuro (use of shading to show light and shadow)
and the traditional idea of imitating nature.
Cubists sought to depict the intellectual idea or form of an object, and its
relationship to others.
Page 7 of 8
Geometricity, a simplication of figures and objects into geometrical
components and planes that may or may not add up to the whole figure or
object known in the natural world.
Approximation of the Fourth Dimension. Conceptual, instead of perceptual,
Distortion and deformation of known figures and forms in the natural world.
Passage, the overlapping and interpenetration of planes.
Simultaneity or multiple views, different points of view made visible on one

The violence and destruction of World War 1 shocked the world and group of
artists responded in various ways. For Dutch painter and architect Theo Van
Doesburg (1884-1931) and Dutch painters Piet Mondrian (1872-1944) and Bart Van
Der Neck (1876-1958), the goal was to create art that promoted universal peace
and harmony , both visually and politically. They named their movement De Stijl :
which simple means The Style .
De Stijl is characterized by flat colors and simplified , rectilinear forms .
As a movement, De Stijl influenced painting, decorative arts (including furniture
design), typography, and architecture, but it was principally architecture that
realized both De Stijl s stylistic aims and its goal of close collaboration among
the arts.
The Cubist artists themselves were unwilling to take the final step into total
abstraction and to relinquish their hold on reality, but the De Stijl artists were
concerned with concepts that were abstract compared to the more mundane
sources of Cubism.
In addition, Cubism was a pre-War movement and De Stilj was a post-War
movement with the goal of rethinking the world. But the impact of Cubism upon
De Stijl would be a strong one, particularly the author of the 1920 series of
Page 8 of 8
articles on Neo- Plasticism , Piet Mondrian, who used cubist ideas as a vehicle
through which he made concepts concrete through painting.

1. De Stijl Continued: The Journal Structure (1958-1964) : an Artists' Debate
By Jonneke Jobse
2. De Stijl and Dutch Modernism By Michael White
3. The Handy Art History Answer Book By Madelynn Dickerson
4. Ching D. K. (2006) A Global History of Architecture
5. Jarzombek Mark M. (2010). A Global History of Architecture 2nd Ed.