What is Modern Art:

Modern art is the designation given to the artistic production that emerged between the late 19th and mid 20th centuries.

Not to be confused with contemporary art, the “modern art” refers to late 19th and early-to-mid 20th century art.

Succeeding romanticism and realism, modern art began to branch into vanguards from the fine arts, with the painters of the so-called Impressionism , who dedicated themselves to portraying exterior scenes of everyday life, such as landscapes and people.

modern art
modern art

Modern art would be the first artistic period that would encompass new ways of making art, such as photography and film, that emerged during the Industrial Revolution.

Modernity was a period of dizzying and chaotic transformations, which was marked by the ephemerality and sense of fragmentation of reality.

So-called modernist artists in the first half of the twentieth century believed that the “traditional” forms of fine arts, design, literature, music, film, and organizational and everyday life became totally outdated. A new culture should be “created” in order to transform already established cultural and social characteristics into new forms and visions.

From the new conception of cultural modernity, after the decline of Enlightenment thinking, the idea of ​​“creative destruction” becomes an essential condition of modernity, and artists are the main protagonists of that era. Artists would now feel responsible (a “heroic function”) for representing and defining the essence of humanity.

See also the meaning of Enlightenment.

modern art
modern art

Wars, new technologies, industrialization, and other “structural evolutions” made artists feel the need to explore all the novelties that came to them.

This condition was conducive to the emergence of several revolutionary vanguards, who saw in artistic aesthetics the opportunity to change the world.

Major Movements

The avant-garde movements aimed to try to solve or find answers to the problems that arose in the modern era, whether in the social or political field. These movements include surrealism , expressionism , futurism , dadaism , cubism and other avant-garde that directed modern art to the revolutionary causes of the time, which paradoxically defended the reality that was at the same time denying it completely.

Learn more about Vanguard , Expressionism and Characteristics of Expressionism.

Modern artists, from these new established artistic forms, developed their techniques of creation and reproduction, subjectively giving rise to a new way of thinking about the current system.

The artist’s way of thinking and the position of the modernity processes (change, ephemerality and fragmentation) were extremely important for the formation of a modernist aesthetic.

Modern Art was officially established in Brazil with the Modern Art Week of 1922 and, according to some researchers, extended until the 1970s.

Brazilian artists were in constant contact with the expanding artistic movements in Europe, a continent known as the “cradle of art” in the world. Based on the concepts of European modernism, they brought to Brazil the characteristics and philosophies of the new avant-garde that, at first, were not well accepted by traditional Brazilian critics.

Among the main Brazilian modernist artists are: Di Cavalcanti, Vicente do Rêgo, Anita Malfatti, Lasar Segall, Victor Brecheret, Tarsilla do Amaral and Ismael Nery.

Modern Art Week

The Modern Art Week, also known as “Week 22,” was an event that took place at the Municipal Theater of São Paulo and marked the beginning of Modernism in Brazil.

See also the meaning of Art, Modernism and Abstract Art.

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