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Cubism, often considered to be the seminal art movement of the 20th century, initiated a pictorial revolution through its radical approach to image-making, invention of the new media of collage and sculptural assemblage, and evolution towards pure abstraction. This work aims to reveal these profound formal innovations as integrally related to rapid changes in French society. It examines the movement's origins in primitivism and engagement with issues of race and colonialism, then considers the Cubists' responses to current anti-Enlightenment philosophies; the relation of Cubist art to the "classical"; the role played by gender conceptually and within particular careers and practice; collage had its interplay with cultural themes; and the impact of anarchism, nationalism and pacifism on Cubism's cultural politics. This is a comprehensive re-examination of Cubism in its wider social, cultural, political, scientific and philosophical contexts, introduces and re-frames the movement, covering the full range of art and artists from the movement's advent in 1908.

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