So far in this series, we’ve studied several fairly well-known painters, ranging from Michelangelo to Monet. We’ve studied everything from the Northern and Italian Renaissance to Post-Impressionism. This week, we’re going to delve further into the 20th century, starting with modern art and cubism.
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There are several artists to choose from, and many of them created incredible pieces. The artist we’re going to focus on today is one whose name may not be well-known, but his work is stunning.
Born Frantisek Kupka in Eastern Bohemia (what is now the Czech Republic), Frank Kupka became one of the founding painters of the modern art movement.
Kupka was born in 1871, just a few years before the beginning of the Impressionist movement. He lived at a time of great change and new ways of thinking. Europe was coming out of the Enlightenment and into the Modern Age, and its art world led the way.
Frank Kupka was a student of philosophy, theology, and science. He found a lot of his inspiration in the mixture of these three fields. Kupka was also deeply influenced by music and color. He constantly tried to convey the movement and boldness of these two in his work.
Kupka and Cubism
Kupka worked in a special type of cubism called “Orphic Cubism.” This was a type of art that focused on bold colors and movement to present different ideas. This type of art took the bright colors and ideas that artists like van Gogh and Cezanne painted and presented them in abstract ways.
You can find out more about Kupka’s works at the following sites.
Note: At the time this post was written, the following websites did not feature works that include nudity. However, I have no control over content updates. I encourage you to scan the sites before allowing your children to view them.
The Art Story – Biography and timeline of Kupka’s life as well as many of his works.
Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) – Biography of Kupka, an analysis of his works, and a virtual tour through the MoMA exhibits that feature him.
Guggenheim – Biography of Kupka and a tour through his works housed at this museum.
Artnet – Many of Kupka’s works not seen on other sites are available for viewing here. There are some fascinating pieces!
Tate.org – A fantastic explanation of Orphic Cubism as well as many examples of this style from Kupka and other artists. There are also suggested videos, sites, and other resources.
Ideel Art – A history of Orphic Cubism and features on Kupka and his fellow artists.
Be sure to record Frank Kupka on your Timeline of the Arts. He lived from 1871 to 1957, so he lived through many important events, including:
- World War I
- The sinking of the Titanic
- The Jazz Age
- The Great Depression
- World War II
- The beginning of the Cold War
My Famous Artists Unit Study board on Pinterest has a bunch of great resources for cubism, modern art, Frank Kupka, and more. I update it often, so be sure to follow it to get my newest finds!
If you have (or have been waiting to get) a Spirograph, it’s a wonderful tool for this project. It’s really fun to use and gives you incredible patterns to color in!
Modern Art Activity Book – This fun activity book offers projects in Impressionism, Fauvism, Surrealism, Cubism, Pop Art, and more to introduce kids to Modern Art.
Don’t forget to subscribe to my newsletter so you can keep up on the latest news and resources, as well as access to my subscribers-only Resource Library. You’ll also be able to download a unit study planner to use with this study (and many others). Have fun!
Edgar Degas (+ free art visuals of Degas’ Dancers!)
Claude Monet (+ free art study cards!)