modern art refers to artistic works produced during the period extending roughly from the 1860s to the 1970s, and denotes the style and philosophy of the art produced during that era. The term is usually associated with art in which the traditions of the past have been thrown aside in a spirit of experimentation. Modern artists experimented with new ways of seeing and with fresh ideas about the nature of materials and functions of art. A tendency toward abstraction is characteristic of much modern art. More recent artistic production is often called Contemporary art or Postmodern art.
The notion of modern art is closely related to Modernism.
Roots in the 19th century
Although modern sculpture and architecture are reckoned to have emerged at the end of the nineteenth century, the beginnings of modern painting can be located earlier. The date perhaps most commonly identified as marking the birth of modern art is 1863, the year that exhibited his painting in the _Salon des _Refusés in Paris. Earlier dates have also been proposed, among them 1855 (the year Gustave Courbet exhibited The Artist’s Studio) and 1784 (the year Jacques-Louis David completed his painting _The Oath of the _Horatii). In the words of art historian H. Harvard Arnason: “Each of these dates has significance for the development of modern art, but none categorically marks a completely new beginning …. A gradual metamorphosis took place in the course of a hundred years.”
If the impulse to create art is a defining sign of humanity, the body may well have been the first canvas. Alongside paintings on cave walls visited by early people over 30,000 years ago, we find handprints, ochre deposits, and ornaments. And because the dead were often buried with valuable possessions and provisions for the afterlife, ancient burials reveal that people have been tattooing, ...
The strands of thought that eventually led to modern art can be traced back to the Enlightenment, and even to the seventeenth century. The important modern art critic Clement Greenberg, for instance, called Immanuel Kant “the first real Modernist” but also drew a distinction: “The Enlightenment criticized from the outside … . Modernism criticizes from the inside.” The French Revolution of 1789 uprooted assumptions and institutions that had for centuries been accepted with little question and accustomed the public to vigorous political and social debate. This gave rise to what art historian Ernst Gombrich called a “self-consciousness that made people select the style of their building as one selects the pattern of a wallpaper.”
The pioneers of modern art were Romantics, Realists) and Impressionists. By the late 19th century, additional movements which were to be influential in modern art had begun to emerge: post-Impressionism as well as Symbolism).