Cubism was part of a larger revolutionary atmosphere in the arts in the early 20th century that would come to be known collectively as the avant garde (a French term derived from the words for the front forces in an army). Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso were the first practitioners of the school, which radically reinterpreted the perspective from which real-life objects were depicted in art.
Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, Pablo Picasso (1907)
One of the most important roots of cubism is primitivism, which emphasised tribal representations like the flattened faces of African masks. This can be seen in Pablo Picasso's proto-cubist "Les Demoiselles d'Avignon" (1907).
Analytical cubism was cubism's first movement (1908-12). During this time, Picasso and Braque pulled an object apart by depicting it from all possible angles on just one plane.
Color was de-emphasised by the analytical cubists, who used dark and monochromatic schemes. This was a major shift for Braque, who had been a fauvist (a movement that exaggerated colour).
Portrait of Daniel-Henry Kahnwelier, Pablo Picasso, 1910
Influenced by Paul Cezanne, the analytical cubists reduced forms to their geometric components, such as spheres as cones.
As opposed to analytic cubism, which deconstructed one object, synthetic cubism brought multiple objects into the same perspective simultaneously.
Synthetic cubism marked the first time techniques like collage, d�coupage and stuck paper were seen as art (as opposed to craft).
The Sunblind, Juan Gris, 1914
While Picasso and Braque continued to work in cubism during its synthetic period, the Spaniard Juan Gris joined them and became an important contributor.