Google celebrates the 125th birthday of Spanish artist Juan Gris today with a Cubism-inspired Google Doodle, honoring one of the form's lesser known but most talented painters.
Along with pioneers Pablo Picasso (Spanish) and Georges Braque (French), Juan Gris, who came some decades later, is one of the three great masters of cubism, a modern art movement aimed at capturing multiple perceptions (and realities) within one object or viewpoint.
As Jonathan Jones writes in his tribute to Gris for the Guardian: Why should painting only be about looking? Cubist paintings try to somehow grasp the tactile, tangible reality of everything.
Gris, who despite being Spanish lived most of his life in France, rose to that challenge.
Born on March 23, 1887, the painter and sculptor studied mechanical drawing at the Escuela de Artes y Manufacturas in Madrid from 1902 to 1904, before studying painting under the artist José Maria Carbonero.
Some of his first significant work, in fact, was in design, creating ballet sets and costumes for Sergei Diaghilev and the Ballet Russes.
By 1924, however, Gris had begun to shape his own definitive voice within the Cubist art form.
Becoming close with fellow artists like Henri Matisse and Amodeo Modigliani, Gris took it upon himself to paint Picasso, whom he saw as a mentor of sorts. His 1912 portrait of the fellow artist has been called the first work of Cubism not painted by either Picasso or Braque.
Soon, however, Gris was creating his own form of Cubism, crafting starkly sharp, obtuse and angular works featuring his distinctive layering style and often focusing on musical instruments.
In 1924, Gris delivered one of Cubism's most famous lectures, Des possibilités de la peinture (On the Possibilities of Painting), at the Sorbonne. His work began to be exhibited in Berlin and in Paris, and his work began to bend steadily more towards the jarring and the surreal.
After October 1925, however, Juan Gris began to suffer more and more from uremia (the illness accompanying renal failure) and heart problems.
Gris died of chronic kidney failure in Boulogne-sur-Seine, France, on May 12, 1927. he was only 40 years old.
The Juan Gris Google Doodle does the master of Cubism credit. using a basic overlay pattern, the Cubist-inspired drawing features many of the primary contrasting colors used in Gris' work, as well as the musical instrument and sharp, block-like angles his paintings are known for.
The image of the spliced blue violin to the left and the flat guitar to the right, especially, trigger comparisons to masterwork Violon et Guitare, a work which combined the two instruments through a prism of shattered mirror images. That piece sold at a New York auction in 2010 for $28.6 million.
Clicking on the Google Doodle brings users to information about Juan Gris, including a web museum dedicated to The Third Musketeer of Cubism and an online archive of his complete works.
Below, watch a video dedicated to the Google Doodle honoring Juan Gris, featuring some of his early and late-period work. Then, click through our slideshow to see some of his most iconic pieces.