Abstract depression art photo

What were the Origins of Modern Art?

To understand how "modern art" began, a little historical background is useful. The 19th century was a time of significant and rapidly increasing change. As a result of the Industrial Revolution (c.1760-1860) enormous changes in manufacturing, transport, and technology began to affect how people lived, worked, and travelled, throughout Europe and America. Towns and cities swelled and prospered as people left the land to populate urban factories. These industry-inspired social changes led to greater prosperity but also cramped and crowded living conditions for most workers. In turn, this led to: more demand for urban architecture; more demand for and - see, for instance the - and the emergence of a new class of wealthy entrepreneurs who became art collectors and patrons. Many of the world's best art museums were founded by these 19th century tycoons.

In addition, two other developments had a direct effect on fine art of the period. First, in 1841, the American painter John Rand (1801–1873) invented the collapsible tin paint tube. Second, major advances were made in, allowing artists photo to photograph scenes which could then be painted in the studio at a later date. Both these developments would greatly benefit a new style of painting known, disparagingly, as "Impressionism", which would have a radical effect on how artists painted the world around them, and would in the process become the first major school of modernist art.

As well as affecting how artists created art, 19th century social changes also inspired artists to explore new themes. Instead of slavishly following the and being content with academic subjects involving religion and Greek mythology, interspersed with portraits and 'meaningful' landscapes - all subjects that were designed to elevate and instruct the spectator - artists began to make art about people, places, or ideas that interested them. The cities - with their new railway stations and new slums - were obvious choices and triggered a new class of genre painting and urban landscape. Other subjects were the suburban villages and holiday spots served by the new rail networks, which would inspire new forms of by Monet, Matisse and others. The genre of history painting also changed, thanks to Benjamin West (1738-1820) who painted The Death of General Wolfe (1770, National Gallery of Art, Ottowa), the first 'contemporary' history painting, and Goya (1746-1828) whose (1814, Prado, Madrid) introduced a ground-breaking, non-heroic idiom.

The 19th century also witnessed a number of philosophical developments which would have a significant effect on art. The growth of political thought, for instance, led and others to promote a socially conscious form of - see also ). Also, the publication of The Interpretation of Dreams (1899) by Sigmund Freud, popularized the notion of the "subconscious mind", causing artists to explore Symbolism and later Surrealism. The new self-consciousness which Freud promoted, led to (or at least coincided with) the emergence of, as artists turned to expressing their subjective feelings and experiences.

When Did Modern Art Begin?

The date most commonly cited as marking the birth of "modern art" is 1863 - the year that (1832-83) exhibited his shocking and irreverent painting in the in Paris. Despite Manet's respect for the, and the fact it was modelled on a Renaissance work by Raphael, it was considered to be one of the most scandalous pictures of the period.

But this was merely a symbol of wider changes that were taking place in various, both in France and elsewhere in Europe. A new generation of "" were fed up with following the traditional academic art forms of the 18th and early 19th century, and were starting to create a range of "Modern Paintings" based on new themes, new materials, and bold new methods. and were also affected - and in time their changes would be even more revolutionary - but proved to be the first major battleground between the conservatives and the new "Moderns".

What is the Main Characteristic of Modern Art?

What we call "Modern Art" lasted for an entire century and involved dozens of different, embracing almost everything from pure abstraction to hyperrealism; from anti-art schools like Dada and Fluxus to classical painting and sculpture; from Art Nouveau to Bauhaus and Pop Art. So great was the diversity that it is difficult to think of any unifying characteristic which defines the era. But if there is anything that separates modern artists from both the earlier traditionalists and later postmodernists, it is their belief that art mattered. To them, art had real value. By contrast, their precedessors simply assumed it had value. After all they had lived in an era governed by Christian value systems and had simply "followed the rules." And those who came after the Modern period (1970 onwards), the so-called "postmodernists", largely rejected the idea that art (or life) has any intrinsic value.

In What Ways was Modern Art Different? (Characteristics)

Although there is no single defining feature of "Modern Art", it was noted for a number of important characteristics, as follows:

(1) New Types of Art

Modern artists were the first to develop, assorted forms of, a variety of (inc mobiles), several genres of photography, (drawing plus photography) or earthworks, and.

(2) Use of New Materials

Modern painters affixed objects to their canvases, such as fragments of newspaper and other items. Sculptors used "found objects", like the "" of, from which they created works of Junk art. Assemblages were created out of the most ordinary everyday items, like cars, clocks, suitcases, wooden boxes and other items.

(3) Expressive Use of Colour

Movements of modern art like Fauvism, Expressionism and Colour Field painting were the first to exploit colour in a major way.

(4) New Techniques

Chromolithography was invented by the poster artist Jules Cheret, automatic drawing was developed by surrealist painters, as was Frottage and Decalcomania. Gesturalist painters invented Action Painting. Pop artists introduced "Benday dots", and silkscreen printing into fine art. Other movements and schools of modern art which introduced new painting techniques, included: Neo-Impressionism, the Macchiaioli, Synthetism, Cloisonnism, Gesturalism, Tachisme, Kinetic Art, Neo-Dada and Op-Art.

How Did Modern Art Develop Between 1870 and 1970?

1870-1900

Although in some ways the last third of the 19th century was dominated by the new Impressionist style of painting, in reality there were several pioneering strands of modern art, each with its own particular focus. They included: Impressionism (accuracy in capturing effects of sunlight); Realism (content/theme); Academic Art (classical-style true-life pictures); Romanticism (mood); Symbolism (enigmatic iconography); lithographic poster art (bold motifs and colours). The final decade saw a number of revolts against the Academies and their 'Salons', in the form of the Secession movement, while the late-1890s witnessed the decline of "nature-based art", like Impressionism, which would soon lead to a rise in more serious "message-based" art.

1900-14

In many ways this was the most exciting period of modern art, when everything was still possible and when the "machine" was still viewed exclusively as a friend of man. Artists in Paris produced a string of new styles, including Fauvism, Cubism and Orphism, while German artists launched their own school of expressionist painting. All these progressive movements rejected traditionalist attitudes to art and sought to champion their own particular agenda of modernism. Thus Cubism wanted to prioritize the formal attributes of painting, while Futurism preferred to emphasize the possibilities of the machine, and expressionism championed individual perception.

1914-24

The carnage and destruction of The Great War changed things utterly. By 1916, the Dada movement was launched, filled with a nihilistic urge to subvert the value system which had caused Verdun and the Somme. Suddenly seemed obscene. No imagery could compete with photographs of the war dead. Already artists had been turning more and more to non-objective art as a means of expression. of the time included Cubism (1908-40), Vorticism (1914-15), Suprematism (1913-18), Constructivism (1914-32), De Stijl (1917-31), Neo-Plasticism (1918-26), Elementarism (1924-31), the Bauhaus (1919-33) and the later St Ives School. Even the few figurative movements were distinctly edgy, such as Metaphysical Painting (c.1914-20). But compare the early 20th century and (1906-30).

1924-40

The Inter-war years continued to be troubled by political and economic troubles. Abstract painting and sculpture continued to dominate, as true-to-life representational art remained very unfashionable. Even the realist wing of the Surrealism movement - the biggest movement of the period - could manage no more than a fantasy style of reality. Meantime, a more sinister reality was emerging on the Continent, in the form of and Soviet agit-prop. Only Art Deco, a rather sleek design style aimed at architecture and applied art, expressed any confidence in the future.

1940-60

The art world was transformed by the catastrophe of World War Two. To begin with, its centre of gravity moved from Paris to New York, where it has remained ever since. Nearly all future world record prices would be achieved in the New York sales rooms of Christie's and Sotheby's. Meantime, the unspeakable phenomenon of Auschwitz had undermined the value of all realist art, except for of those affected. As a result of all this, the next major international movement - Abstract Expressionism - was created by American artists of the. Indeed, for the next 20 years, abstraction would dominate, as new movements rolled off the line. They included: Art Informel, Action-Painting, Gesturalism, Tachisme, Colour Field Painting, Lyrical Abstraction, Hard Edge Painting, and COBRA, a group best known abstract depression art photo for its child-like imagery, and expressive brushstrokes. During the 1950s other tendencies emerged, of a more avant-garde kind, such as Kinetic art, Nouveau Realisme and Neo-Dada, all of which demonstrated a growing impatience with the strait-laced arts industry.

1960s

The explosion of popular music and television was reflected in the Pop-Art movement, whose images of Hollywood celebrities, and iconography of popular culture, celebrated the success of America's mass consumerism. It also had a cool 'hip' feel and helped to dispel some of the early 60s gloom associated with the Cuban Crisis of 1962, which in Europe had fuelled the success of the Fluxus movement led by George Maciunas, Joseph Beuys, Nam June Paik and Wolf Vostell. Down-to-earth Pop-art was also a welcome counterpoint to the more erudite Abstract Expressionism, which was already started to fade. But the 1960s also saw the rise of another high-brow movement known as Minimalism, a form of painting and sculpture purged of all external references or gestures - unlike the emotion-charged idiom of Abstract Expressionism.



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