Modern Art


Modern Art Essay, Research Paper

I. Introduction

Wherever man lives there is art, because art is anything made or done by man that affects or moves us so that we feel and see beauty. Man uses his imagination to invent a unique beauty in which the artist sees his feelings and inspiration affects on how he will express his art.

Through the major development of technologies and social changes that have taken place in the 19th century, Modern art flourished during this period and caused a lot movements of modern art to form, some of these famous movement are cubism, abstract expressionism, pop art, and surreal art. Modern art also become man’s inspiration in life because these great art can express a unique feeling in which a person is attracted to that kind. This also means that a modern artist learns from himself and does not need any major training, a modern artist learns by himself through his experiences and imagination

Modern art runs a very important role in man’s life throughout history, because it that does not only give us inspiration but also the freedom to express ourselves through the use of different mediums.

II. Statement of the problem

This research aims to answer the following questions:

1. What are the general informations about Modern Art?

2. What is the beauty of Modern Art?

3. What are the different styles in making Modern Art?

III. Presentation

A. Definition of Modern Art

Parallel to the scientific, technological, and social changes that have taken place in the 20th century are the rich varieties of art styles that have developed. Notable are the number of “isms”, such as Fauvism, expressionism, cubism, futurism, constructivism, neoplasticism, surrealism, precisionism.

Modern Art didn’t have a main origin from where it came from. But there is a general agreement that it was first seen between 18th century to 19th century, from the French revolutionist movement.

Art in its broader meaning, however, involves both skill and creative imagination in a musical, literary, visual, or performance context. Art provides the person or people who produce it and the community that observes it with an experience that might be aesthetic, emotional, intellectual, or a combination of these qualities.

Modern Art does not follow any traditional rule, in fact Modern Art breaks this barrier. In the traditional way of painting, you must the true nature of your work; you must have the balance in creating it. The rules that are working on our universe must be applied to the old traditional painting. All of these, are the opposites of the principles of Modern Art. Modern does not follow any rule, for example a modernist painter like Vincent Van Gogh, he used different kind of color pigments that represents the real color of an object like a field for example, he uses the color blue for the ground and red for the sky or yellow for the trees. Modern artist does not just put their painting s on and on, they work also with harmony. (Harmony is the art principle that produces an impression on unity through the selection and arrangement of consistent objects and ideas.) Their work might vary in size, shape, texture and color.

Most people, especially Traditionalists, do not like Modern Art only because it is unconventional. They find it harder to relate a Picasso or a Kandinsky than to a painting or sculpture by Michelangelo. With Modern Art, you are more likely to ask yourself the question: “What is it?” only by reading the title of the painting do you then find out the answer to your question.

An artist’s medium affects the style of the work. Thus, a sculptor must treat stone differently from wood; a musician achieves different effects with drums than with violins; a writer must meet certain demands of poetry that might be irrelevant to the novel. Local tradition also affects art styles. Pottery design in one area and period may be geometric and in another, naturalistic. Indian tradition prescribed closely curled hair in depictions of the Buddha, just as Western tradition decreed blond hair for depictions of Jesus Christ. Eastern artists paid no heed to scientific perspective, which has been a major concern of Western painters since the Renaissance.

The main focus of Modern Art is to portray their subjects in a more abstract level, In which some modern artist uses their feelings and imagination in creating their masterpiece. The freedom to express yourself into some visual medium is also another kind of Modern Art. A person appreciates the beauty of modern art because of the emotional attraction that binds them to the art. Some people say they remember something deeper in their life because they saw a painting that struck them. This happens because a Modern artist uses his freedom to feel and express their work. Sometimes we might look to a painting and might interpret another meaning, this is also one beauty of a modern art because you could look through a painting with many broad meaning, and it may depend on how the person would look at it.

Many people accept Modern Art because of the nature of a man to create things. Knowing that being a Modern Art artist requires a lot of persistence, experience, imagination, freedom to express your feelings, understanding, skill, creativeness constant practice, inspiration and most of all passion lets a modern artist truly a respectable man.

B. History of Modern Art

In the second half of the 19th century painters began to revolt against the classic codes of composition, careful execution, harmonious coloring, and heroic subject matter. Patronage by the church and state sharply declined at the same time that artists’ views became more independent and subjective. Courbet, Corot, and others of the Barbizon school, Manet, Degas, and Toulouse-Lautrec chose to paint scenes of ordinary daily and nocturnal life that often offended the sense of decorum of their contemporaries.

The roots of modern art can be seen in French 19th-century avant-garde painting, which resulted in several movements, including impressionism and postimpressionism. The common denominator among leading late-19th-century artists was a diminished concern for realism and a greater emphasis on personal freedom of expression. About the turn of the century, a group of French painters formed a movement called fauvism, which focused on utilizing dramatic lines and colors and had a significant impact on modern art. French and German artists, including the fauves and a German group known as Die Br?cke, were influenced by the boldness and power of the art of indigenous peoples from around the world. Around 1911 some work of a second group of German artists, Der Blaue Reiter, moved toward semiabstract and abstract painting.

Interested in indigenous sculpture also played a role in the development of cubism, which arose between 1907 and 1914 with the help of Spanish artist Pablo Picasso. The most influential style of the modern period, it emphasized the flat, two-dimensional surface of the picture plane and rejected traditional perspective. Several Italian artists employed the cubist style but emphasized motion. Their movement was called futurism. Cubism was crucial to the development of abstract art, which began to be seen in German and Swiss art around 1910. Simultaneously, Russian artists were aware of cubism and developed two branches of it: suprematism and constructivism.

Dutch artists sought to create a universal, harmonious style suitable to every aspect of contemporary life. Their movement, De Stijl, involved the expression of pure plastics (forms) and often reduced the range of color in a work to just primary colors. The dada movement, which arose both in Europe and America during World War I (1914-1918), comprised a group of war resisters who chose a nonsense word, dada (French for “hobbyhorse”), to describe their antiaesthetic works. By 1922 some practitioners of Dadaism moved to surrealism, in which accident, chance, and the subconscious were employed in the creation of art.

Until the late 1940s, nearly all-modern American art styles originated in Europe. The Ashcan school was a reaction against impressionism and concentrated on ordinary—even ugly—city scenes. Fauvism and cubism were relatively unknown in America until after the Armory Show, an international art exhibition held in New York City in 1913. The precisionist style grew out of cubism and depicted a sharp-focus, stylized realism.

Despite the growing acceptance of European modernism in the United States, exemplified by the 1929 founding of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, the 1930s were also a period of reaction and rebellion against imported styles. Urban realist painters depicted the harsh political, social, and economic conditions of the Great Depression era. Regionalists drew inspiration from rural midwestern life and folklore. A number of American artists after the 1930s created a new movement called abstract expressionism, which derived from the surrealists an interest in the subconscious, symbolism, and myth. In reaction against abstract expressionism, other American artists drew their imagery from everyday, popular-culture objects. They became known as pop artists.

Internationally, abstract painting continued to develop, resulting in op art, in which stark black-and-white patterns or brilliant color contrasts were intended to create optical illusions; and in minimalism, which ranged from geometric forms to serialized patterns and almost monochromatic canvases. Conceptual art, in which the artist’s idea or concept took precedence over the actual work, grew from minimalism. By the 1980s a reaction had developed against abstract styles, leading to a revival of figurative and narrative painting known as neoexpressionism.

Like modern painters, sculptors were influenced by primitive and ancient art. Some reduced form to the simplest level. Others, affected by cubism, depicted the human figure with emphasis on geometric planes. In Russia, constructivists emphasized sculptural space rather than mass. French dadaist Marcel Duchamp made the first mobile sculpture in 1913, using found objects; he was later to give the name mobiles to the movable sculptures of American artist Alexander Calder. The definition of recent sculpture has been expanded to include a wide spectrum of new styles, materials, and techniques. Minimalists, earthwork sculptors, kinetic artists, light artists, video artists, and pop art sculptors have all developed their art. In the mid-1980s organic forms began reappearing in sculpture, a trend known as postminimalist or postmodern sculpture.

C. Forms of Modern Art

The need to create has always been a part of man’s nature. The art he creates always reflects his culture and the time period in which the artist lives. The art he makes reveals feelings, beliefs, ideas and his way of life.

The story of modern painting begins in the 19th century. The industrial and democratic revolutions of this time brought about dramatic social changes and a faster way of life. New art styles developed quickly also. Many styles of art developed as reactions to earlier art styles just as new governments were born out of revolution against the old. The invention of photography and the ability of artists to buy ready-made paint in tubes also led the painter in new directions. Some moved away from copying nature and others moved out-of-doors to paint.

1. Impressionism – The Impressionists were interested in the world outside their studio. Scientific discoveries about light and color led them to use these new principles in their paintings. They focused on the dazzling effects of sunlight on objects and on the landscape. The emphasis is on reflected light rather than the form of objects or realistic representation. The edges of forms melt and blur in the light because the artists used dabs of pure color that are blended in the eye of the viewer rather than mixed by the artist on the canvas. If you stand too close to an Impressionist painting you will only see dots and dabs of color. It is when you step back that your eye will blend the colors and forms will come into view.

2. Post–Impressionism – Post-Impressionists refers to a group of artists who worked with or were influenced by the Impressionists but then moved on to work in other directions. They expanded their own style to create works that led to later developments in the art of the twentieth century. Some focused on the underlying structure and geometry of forms, while others highlighted texture or pattern for expressive effects. Since the Post-Impressionist period many artist have thought about paintings as objects with colorful, lively surfaces rather than scenes.

3. Pointillism – Pointillism was developed by Georges Seurat. The name comes from using just the point of the brush to apply small dots of paint. He placed small dots of pure color next to each other for your eye to blend. Your eye sees the colors as mixed but makes the painting “glow” with color. This style was based on the new scientific theory of light developed during the 19th century. These paintings were very time consuming.

4. Expressionism – Some modern painters were concerned with feelings. One painter, Matisse, was concerned with expressing the feeling he had for life and insisted that his work had but one purpose: to give pleasure. Other Expressionist artists were involved with personal feelings. German artists who had experienced World War I painted emotional subjects that ranged from fear and anger to concern with death. Some expressionist artists use color as their expressive element. They express feelings or create moods with color and will use it arbitrarily rather than use the actual color of objects.

5. Cubism – Cubism was developed by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque. This style emphasizes structure and design and is a prime example of Abstract Art. It was influenced by three basic ideas. First, that all shapes in nature are based on geometric solids such as the cylinder, the sphere and the cone. Second, was the discovery by scientists that all matter is made up of atoms. Finally, European artist were influenced by the cubical forms of African sculpture that had recently been exhibited in Paris. Cubist painters tried to paint three dimensional objects from many different points of view at the same time. Some works appear fractured and objects within them appear at different levels and seen from different angles.

6. Surrealism – Surrealism is based on fantasy and imagination. After World War I, artists rebelled against the culture that had led to such suffering and devastation. Surrealists presented very realistic, almost photographic images, but of crazy situations. The paintings are strange and dreamlike. Some are nightmares while others are funny or mysterious or frightening. Surreal paintings do not make sense to the viewer, but will contain recognizable objects and realistic details.

7. Pop Art – Pop Art refers to an art style based on the products and images of popular culture. These painters used brand-name products, famous people, advertising and comic book images as subject matter. They tried to bring attention to everyday objects that people see and use without much thought or notice. They often poked fun at the American way of life and its dependance on material things.

8. Abstract Impressionism – The art of throwing paint quite liberally and as fast as possible onto a large canvas.

Abstract expressionism arose after the Second World War as a more interesting alternative to geometric abstraction, which had become for many postwar American painters boringly repetitive.

Abstraction is impulsive. You do not have to ponder over the finer details: object, form , colour etc… you just splatter paint on canvas at will. Abstract expressionism is spontaneity.

Wassily Kandinsky and Jackson Pollock are the best known of the abstract expressionism family. Kandinsky stumbled across this new form of art while studying one of Monet’s pictures, The Millstone.

9. Super-realism – Super-realism is also known as Hyper-realism, or Photo-realism. These sculptures and paintings portray subjects realistically, sometimes so real that viewers have been fooled into thinking that sculptures were real people. These artists use a variety of media for their paintings and sculptures but the end result is always a precise and incredibly life-like image or form. They can be life-size or sometimes much larger than life to confront the viewer with a huge close-up.

D. Appreciation of Modern Art

How can we appreciate art?

We can appreciate art if we are experiencing it. I believe that all of us here experience art, because as we all know that art is a great beauty that a man creates from his own will. We can appreciate art if we know the essence of why and how it was created.

Modern Art can be appreciated in many factors; the beauty of the work, the harmony of the work (this includes the shape, size, texture, color of the painting), the emotional attraction to the painting, a deeper understanding to the painting.

The beauty of the work can be seen how the artist manages to make his work a colorful one out of nothing. We could see also the beauty of the art if it symbolizes something else that lets us think a deeper meaning. In a beautiful art requires good harmony to one object to another the color should be balanced and the weight the paintings proportion must be balanced. The emotional attraction is a big deal in Modern Art appreciation, because you could feel the same way that the artist feels when he is creating that art. Other people are emotionally bonded to that painting, they always wanted to see that painting whenever they are sad because that painting give them happiness. Others remember something in their life whenever they’re going to look at their attractive art. Understanding to what the painting means is also an important factor in appreciating art. Because can never appreciate art if you’re not going to understand it, but Modern Art is quite different because a single art could mean a thousand things, because it is the authors work of expressing his feelings and freedom.

Artist like Vincent Van Gogh achieved great impression about his works because he uses different color pigments to express his paintings. If you’re going to look at his work, you will feel a strange feeling because that painting looks as if you are on an alien world. That is why Vincent Van Gogh’s painting is worth more than anything else.

IV. Analysis

Now that I have presented to you the general facts and information about Modern Art and how you should look at it, we must carefully realize how Art is very important to our lives I believe man cannot live without the knowledge of creating art.

Art is a disciplined activity that maybe limited to skill. This means that each one has its own specialty, for example the art of sculpting is very different from Martial Arts. For me I look at art as my inspiration for my everyday life. I like to appreciate those masters that created major masterpieces. My favorite artist is Vincent Van Gogh, I like his style in creating his work, though some say that Vincent is mentally dis-ordered person.

In general, Modern Art was a kind of art the breaks off the traditional rule in making art and it was formed between 18th century and 19th century. There are different styles on Modern Art is made these are, cubism, abstract expressionism, pop art, abstract arts, surreal art. The beauty of Modern Art may vary from people to people and on how they’re going to look at the different works of the artist. The beauty of the modern art is its ability to express itself to the people looking at it. Though it has a lot of meaning to us it is not necessary to debate over which has a better interpretation.

Modern Artist requires a great talent, a talent to create things with deeper meanings. Most of us sometimes experience on how we will make our work a colorful one, imagine how difficult it is for us to think in new ways on how we are going to show our work. In judging an art first we must look at the author’s background to further understand why did he come up to that kind of presentation.

V. Interpretation

The different movements that occur during late 18th century and 19th century gave way to the birth of Modern Art. In those movements, different styles are formed in making art and this all have the same concept, to break free of the old traditional way of making art. Breaking of the traditional way is the common way that defines modern art during those times.

We have learned that Modern Art holds a broad meaning for defining itself. It is sometimes an art of expression and an art of freedom. There are several techniques that are used in making Modern Art, these are mainly the cubism, abstract expressionism, pop art, abstract arts, surreal art. Most of these are movements from the French revolutionist, their way to find a more meaningful one also lead these men in creating the modern art.

VI. Reaction

Modern Art is a new kind of approach of expressing art. It also gave a deeper understanding about art and it showed us how to use our freedom and to express ourselves to our ever-changing world.

Modern Art is a unique art because it does not follow the traditional rule on making art, because in the traditional art, it must be done as realistic as possible, your subject must be true in a sense that it should look like a real one and it must follow the natural laws that govern in this universe. While in the Modern Art, your mind is your work, your imagination is the outcome of your work. That is why Modern Art is very unique, that almost everybody is attached to because they can see their feelings and thought through these great art.

I like Modern Art in the very beginning because I saw how the artist uses his imagination and freedom to his work. I also like the color they put on it, it is like having a different world when you look at it. Our likes and dislikes, our opinions, our criticism varies from people to people. Each has a different way of saying how beautiful modern art is.


VII. Bibliography

Arnold, Nellie D. The Interrelated Arts In Leisure St. Louis California: The C.U. Mosby company 1976.

Encyclopedia Britanica, 1980 ed. M12 “Modern Dance”.

Brockett, Oscar G. The Theatre Hott Rinchart and Winston Inc. 1977 p.3, 6, 8, 14.

Cruz, Nonita L. Art Appreciation; Second Year Home. New York: abiva Publishing Copyright 1949, pg. 1-6, 13-14.

Fawcett, Robert In the Art of Drawing New York. Watson-Guptill Publications pg, 15, 16, 24, 26.

Microsoft Encarta 97, 1997 ed. “Modern Art and Architecture”

Munch, Florenda H. Life and Leisure. New York: Kodanasha Publishing 1980.

Tawes, William I, Creative Sculpture. London: Tide Water Publishing. 1983 pg. 1-3, 5.

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