Jacques Barzun Covers the Cubist Term Paper

Total Length: 1300 words ( 4 double-spaced pages)

Total Sources: -3

Page 1 of 4

c. If we look at modern culture and modern technology, the first connection that can be made with Cubist culture characteristics is its populist nature. We are free to state that the modern culture has gained a populist reverberation and that it is created for the masses. It has lost its elitism and its way of addressing a specific, well-determined and well-defined segment of consumers.

If we look at art history from Barzun's perspective, after the Renaissance, art and culture has gradually lost its elitism, its normality and sensibility. In the Renaissance, portraits were usually painted only on request from important persons who could afford one. Plays and performances had a limited auditorium. It was Shakespeare who started to produce the first mass shows and the process has gradually assimilated all other forms of manifestation.

As such, in the beginning of the 21st century, art and culture in general are more populist that ever and modern technology helps propagate this deep in the masses. Let's take the film industry, for example. The fact that a film is produced with the numerous special effects is destined to impact the masses and, intrinsically, determine and manipulate their reaction to the movie. The role of modern technology in the production of modern cultural elements has become essential and we have reached a point where the success of a cultural manifestation can be determined by the success the technical achievement has reached (we are referring to other cultural manifestations, such as the theatre, exhibitions, etc.).

If we look at mass culture nowadays, simultaneity is also manifested at an intrinsic level and this is definitely something interconnected with modern technology. Modern technology has achieved an universal stature and its use in cultural manifestations such as art festivals, cultural exhibitions, theatre representations, fashion shows or exhibitions may, at times, determine the actual success of the manifestation. People have begun to associate a cultural representation with a necessary spectacular component.
On many occasions, it is simple to associate the needed spectacular component with a technological representation which helps bring out the extraordinary.

In this sense, we may draw a certain correlation between the Cubist Decade and its need to break away with the tradition and reveal the extraordinary and the cultural manifestations we have nowadays, when the modern technology helps create the proper premises for a successful representation. Besides the simultaneous and populist aspect, the need to break away with tradition, correlated with the need to bring about something new, something which will reform the human perception on art. Decadence, as Barzun may say, has its say here. However, can we actually associate the modern technological postmodernism and new cultural perceptions with the loss of sensibility and absurd recognition that Barzun refers to when discussing the Cubist Decade of 1905-1914?

In many ways, this type of answer seems a natural and reasonable one. On the other hand, we may point out that, similarly to Cubism and the Cubist Decade, the modern period has an original and innovative component, one that is always assimilated to progress, no matter what the domain may actually be and including the cultural area.

The modern technology plays a great role in defining and creating perspectives for cultural manifestations in present times. On the production side, it helps create the necessary premises for a successful marketing of the product. Multiple launches of movies, special effects, quality productions are just several examples of how modern technology helps modern culture be simultaneous, populist and innovative, similar to Cubism and its reverberations at the beginning of the 20th century.


1. Barzum, Jacques. From Dawn to Decadence: 500 Years of Western Cultural Life, 1500 to the Present.

2. Barzun, Jacques. A Jacques Barzun Reader: Selections from His Works (Perennial Classics). Harper Collins Publishers. 2002


Have Any Questions? Our Expert Writers Can Answer!

Need Help Writing Your Essay?