Instead of backing down after the fiasco of the Demoiselles, Picasso embarked on another confrontational composition, this time depicting Three Women, their bodies divided into hard-edged facets coloured orange and brown. A success with both collectors and artists, the 1908 canvas inspired a brief vogue for depiction of hulking “primitive” figures. Long-term, the facets had a more profound effect. Beginning an artistic dialogue with Georges Braque, Picasso imagined a world shattered into geometric planes, held in place by a lattice extending across the canvas. A critic dubbed the new style “Cubism”.
With paintings like Girl with a Mandolin (1910), Picasso shifted into a calm, meditative mood. The sharp-edged planes were softened by shimmering strokes of translucent green, grey and brown, so that they seemed to glow from within. In the pictures that followed, planes broke loose from the bodies and objects they described, overlapping and advancing toward the viewer. In 1912-13, Picasso abandoned delicate brushwork in favour of flat colours, wood-graining, stencilled letters, and strips of newspaper. His pictures became surfaces littered with the detritus of the real world. His sculptures were constructed from cardboard scraps or wooden slats.