Modern and Contemporary Art

Modernand Contemporary Art

Whatis modern art?

Modernis a term that represents things or activities being carried outduring the present times. It is a word associated with artworks thatput aside the traditional artistic expressions and techniques for thepurpose of improvement (Meecham and Sheldon22).It represents the contemporary issues that can be clearly pointed outin the modern paintings, which were created between the 1860s and1970s. For example, Sunrisepainting by Claude Monet has the characteristics that classify it asa modern artwork. Therefore, modern art depicts itself through thestyle and philosophy of the paintings and sculptures produced duringthis era (Meecham and Sheldon23).

Doesmodern mean contemporary?

Theterms modern and contemporary are mostly used interchangeably inconversations by people. Nonetheless, this is not the case in theworld of art. Modern paintings and sculptures were mainly createdfrom 1863 to 1970s (Meecham and Sheldon28).On the other hand, contemporary art revealed itself from the 1970s upto date. Then again, the phrase postmodernism is often used to referto artwork that was created after the modernism period. Consequently,contemporary illustrate how artists became open-minded to new ideasand techniques (Desmond 148). For instance, artists in this erastressed the significance of style as opposed to substance and place.Besides, they paid more attention to the communication with theaudience, which has made contemporary paintings and sculptures arestill relevant today, unlike modern artwork (Pooler123). The modern era was followed by an extended period ofRenaissance-inspired academic art. Conversely, the contemporary artstarted immediately after the Renaissance period from 1970 (Desmond147). Therefore, modern does not mean something that is currently newin the world of art. On the contrary, contemporary art is arepresentation of something new as compared to modern art. Hence,modern and contemporary are two different terms as they representdistinct historical periods in history (Desmond 149).

Whendid the modern era begin?

Themodern art can be traced back to the industrial revolution betweenthe eighteenth and the nineteenth century. The period wascharacterized by rapid changes in manufacturing, transportation, andtechnological advancements that significantly affected the culturaland economic conditions of Western Europe, North America, andeventually the whole world (Pooler39). The period resulted in an increased demand for urbanarchitecture, applied art, and new designs. It was during this timethat art schools were formed such as the Bauhaus School.Additionally, this phase led to the rise of a new class of wealthypeople who turned into art collectors and customers (Pooler39). The wealthy entrepreneurs transitioned to tycoons who graduallyopened up many of the world`s best art museums during the 19thcentury. As such, the rising of modern art during the 19th centuryprompted many artists to start creating paintings and sculpturesabout people, places, or ideas that captivated them. For example,the painters and sculptors illustrated their experiences throughartistic works during the modern era, which made art more attractiveand widened its scope (Anderson and Dyrness 377).

Hasthe modern era ended?

Evenso, modern art ended during the nineteenth century. However,modernism did not just come to an abrupt stop, but various events inthe late 1960s gradually overtook the main artistic ideas andtechniques. The period also witnessed the rise of mass pop-cultureand increased anti-dictatorial opposition in the social-economic andpolitical matters against the status quo (Meecham and Sheldon22).Modernism gradually began to appear even more outdated hence,painters and sculptors started embracing contemporary artisticexpressions. The new form of art reflected the widespreaddisappointment with life that existed since the nineteenth century.Besides, the artists also incorporated the use of technology tointroduce a sense of beneficial change in their artworks.Theartists also embraced the idea that ordinary objects could also bemade into a wok of art, which was very appealing to most viewers andpainters. Thus, the new expressions facilitated the rise of a newperiod and end of modern art (Meecham and Sheldon23).

Howhas modernism changed how we view and value art


Althoughthere are few defining features of modern art, the techniques used inpaintings and sculptures substantially redefined the role of color inartworks (Meecham and Sheldon26).Art became enhanced, which led to the expressive use of color sincethe 1870s. For example, the 1913 DiningRoom in the Countrypainting by Pierre Bonnard has broad use of color to depict variousscenes and objects. The painter’s spatial movement is largelydependent on color, which is also the primary indicator of directionand different objects of the art piece. For instance, the viewer iscarried from indoors to the scene outside the room using the redcolor. Then again, the door has the same color as the landscape,crockery, and table. The artist also uses color to create contrast inthe painting (Pooler 50).


Furthermore,the use of light in art changed significantly during the modern eradue to the introduction of illuminated manuscripts. The artworks werealso heightened with white body color (Carl 100). For example,Chiaroscuro developed during the modern era. The artists worked fromthe paper`s base shade to attain a sense of radiance using whiteopaquewatercolorwhile at the same time creating darker shades through the use of ink,oil on canvas, or body color (Carl 101). For instance, the 1900Table,Napkin, and Fruitart piece by Paul Cézanne was painted using more than one color. Thepainting widened the use of color as the artist applied differentshades to cover all sharp disparities in illumination between lightand dark areas (Carl 103).


Additionally,modernism changed the context used by the artists when creating theirmasterpieces. The perspective of artwork also gradually changed asmore fantasy and use of animation was introduced during this era. Onthe other hand, the schools and movements of modern art encouragedthe use of new painting techniques. The artists also started usingcultural and religious context to convey their emotions and portraydifferent events taking place in their surroundings (Anderson andDyrness 21). Therefore, the artworks used new subject matter thatevolved around human nature, conditions, and events. Besides,modernism portrayed significant relationship to the visual cultureand the historical processes of the nineteenth century. For example,Claude Monet painting, Sunrise,symbolized the use of landscape that was embraced by most modernistartists (MeechamandSheldon 27).

Likewise,the painters used personal views and feelings as a basis of judgmentand expression in their art pieces (Meecham and Sheldon24).Modern artists also started developing a random collection of art, amixture of kinetic art, various types of picture-making techniques,which included earthworks, drawing, and performance art.Additionally, the modern artists used new materials in their work toenhance the idea of self-expression. On the other hand, sculptorsduring this period used manufactured objects such as Marcel Duchamp’sreadymades.

Lastly,the characteristics and application of color, context, and lightingcoincide with my idea of the word modern. The commonly held conceptis that modern art is the current art that exists today and willcontinue to be practiced in the coming future. Consequently, themodern era is a period that was marked by remarkable changes in theworld of art and acceptance of self-expression to reveal the truthabout that society (Meecham and Sheldon30).Accordingly, with the beginning of modernism, artists could freelyand openly express their thoughts through artistic expressions.


Anderson,Jonathan A, and William A. Dyrness. ModernArt and the Life of a Culture: The Religious Impulses of Modernism,2016. Print.

Carl,Klaus H. TheViennese Secession.New York: Parkstone International, 2011. Print

Desmond,Kathleen K. Ideasabout Art.Chichester, West Sussex: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011. Internet resource.

Meecham,Pam and JulieSheldon. Modernart: A critical introduction.New York: Routledge,2013. Print. Second edition

Pooler,Richard.Theboundaries of modern art.Bury St. Edmunds: Arena Books, 2013. Print.