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Home >> Popular Painting Styles >> Modernism


Modernism is all about embracing change and the present, it encompasses the works of artists, thinkers, writers and designers who rebelled against late 19th century academic and historic traditions, and confronted the new economic, social and political aspects of the emerging modern world.

Modernism encourages an interdisciplinary approach linking music, architecture, literature, and paintings

History of Modernism

Modernism as an art form emerged in the mid-19th century, mainly in France, and was rooted in the idea that "traditional" forms of art had become outdated, and that it was therefore essential to sweep it aside. It was akin to previous revolutionary movements like liberalism and communism. Modernism encouraged the reconsideration of every aspect of existence, from commerce to philosophy, with the goal of finding that which was "holding back" progress, and replacing it with new, and therefore better, ways of reaching the same end. In essence, the modernist movement argued that the new realities of the industrial and mechanized age were permanent and imminent, and that people should adapt their worldview to accept that what was new was also good and beautiful.

Impressionism under the umbrella of Modernism

Impressionism was a school of painting that initially focused on work done, not in studios, but outdoors (en plein air). Impressionist paintings demonstrated that human beings do not see objects, but instead see light itself. The school gathered adherents despite internal divisions among its leading practitioners, and became increasingly influential. Imporessionism embodied the modernist philosophy in the truest sense.

Cubism under the umbrella of Modernism

Cubism was an avant-garde art movement of the early 20th century that revolutionized European painting and sculpture, and inspired similar movements in music and literature. In cubist artworks, objects are broken up, analyzed, and re-assembled in an abstracted form -instead of depicting objects from one viewpoint, the artist depicts the subject from a multitude of viewpoints to present the piece in a greater context. Often the surfaces intersect at what seems like random angles presenting no coherent sense of depth.

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