What is Modernism:

Modernism or Modern Movement was an artistic and cultural movement that emerged in the early twentieth century, and its purpose was to break with the “traditionalism” of the time, experimenting with new techniques and artistic creations.

Modernism was marked by dizzying and chaotic transformations, as well as the ephemerality and sense of fragmentation of reality. Modernist artists felt the need to change the environment in which they lived by experimenting with new concepts.

The “traditional” forms of fine arts, design, literature, music, and cinema were believed to be completely outdated. A new culture should be “created” in order to transform already established cultural and social characteristics into new forms and visions.

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.

Characteristics of Modernism

  • Liberation of aesthetics
  • Break with Traditionalism
  • Freedom for trials
  • Formal freedom (free verses, abandonment of fixed forms, absence of punctuation and etc.)
  • Language with humor
  • Valuation of daily life

Modernism in Brazil

In Brazil, Modernism was a movement of great importance, as Brazilian artists longed for an aesthetic liberation, that is, to stop “sucking” the avant-garde that emerged in Europe and create a new and independent model of art.

The starting point of Modernism in Brazil is considered the Modern Art Week , which took place between February 11 and 18, 1922, in São Paulo.

Also known as “Week 22”, the event was formed by a group of intellectuals who sought to break with the “old”, bringing influences from the European avant-garde in order to create a new model.

Among the main artists representing and participating in the Modern Art Week are: Graça Aranha, Mário de Andrade, Oswald de Andrade, Menotti Del Pichia, Anita Malfatti, Heitor Villa-Lobos, Tacitus of Almeira, Di Cavalcanti, among others.

Modernism in Brazil is marked by three main moments .

First phase of Modernism

Also known as the “Heroic Phase” , it began with the Modern Art Week in 1922 and was recorded as a time for aesthetic renewals.

The artists were inspired by the avant-garde that emerged in Europe. This phase was also known because of the formation of important modernist groups, such as the Anthropophagous Movement (1928-1929) and the Regionalist Manifesto (1926).

Among the outstanding artists at this stage are: Oswald de Andrade (1890-1954), Mário de Andrade (1893-1945) and Alcântara Machado (1901-1935).

The first phase of Modernism lasted eight years , between 1922 and 1930.

Second Phase of Modernism

The “Phase of Consolidation” , as it is also called the second phase of Brazilian Modernism, is characterized by exploration by nationalist and regionalist themes. The artistic works of the modern movement are maturing

Carlos Drummond de Andrade (1902-1987), Raquel de Queiroz (1902-2003), Jorge Amado (1912-2001), Cecicila Meireles (1901-1964), Vinicius de Moraes (1913-1980) and Érico Veríssimo (1905-1975) ) are some of the highlights of this phase.

The second phase of Modernism lasted 15 years , between 1930 and 1945.

Third Phase of Modernism

This phase is reason for many conflicts among scholars. Some defend it as a “Postmodernist” phase, considering its end in the 1960s, but there are other theories that say its end was in the 80s, and some still consider the third phase of Modernism still present today. .

The main feature of this period is the predominance and diversity of prose (intimate, regionalist, urban and etc). Another highlight was the formation of the group “Generation of 45”, which tried to produce a more neutral poetry, with serious tones, being called “neoparnasians” (classical avant-garde that was rejected by the modernists).

In this phase, the following stand out: Clarice Linspector (1920-1977), Ariano Suassuna (1927-2014) and Guimarães Rosa (1908-1967).

See also the meanings of Vanguard and Enlightenment .


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