The Journey of Modern Art


    IMHO, if anything that has evolved most after humans is art. I mean look at the artworks of the past. If we dwell into 500 years back, a totally different picture of art can be experienced.

    Those times saw artists emphasizing the religious subject matter and crafting some impeccable paintings of the Gods & Goddess.

    Whether you go through Egyptian, Mesopotamian, Indian, Chinese or Greek history, you would find the transitional changes art has to go.

    Such one period starts in the middle of the 19th century. People were bored with the conventional and the static guidelines to draw a painting. What happens next is the dawn of a completely distinctive art form that was a result of multiple movements that emerged.

    Yes, I am stating modern art here. It is being said that the time epoch of modern art was from 1863 to 1960. But, there has been few instances and artworks that suggest that artists start painting modern artworks way before the 19th century (sometimes the date can take you back to the 17th century).

    But, let’s just stick to the art history that suggests that modern paintings were first crafted in the middle of the 19th century.

    Did you know that modern art rises as a result of more than one art movements that started and transformed everything?

    The following movements made Modern art a trend in a time where the academic style of art was much more appreciated.

    Let’s have a look at the movements that have been a part of long journey modern art has completed:


    Art was quite differently perceived before impressionism movement came into play. Artists used to paint only on conventional subject matters such as religion, and historical events.

    Impressionism movement was the first time artists started focusing more on the natural landscapes and the routine lives of people.

    Broken brush strokes, open compositions, regular themes, unusual visual angles, and incorporation of movements are some of the highlighting attributes of impressionism movement. It all started with the Edouard Manet’s famous painting, “Dejeuner sur l’herbe”, in 1863 that caused a stir in the art world.

    Some of the well-known names of this movement are Edouard Manet, Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, Camille Pissarro, Pierre Auguste Renoir, and Alfred Sisley.


    Impressionism was exploited intensely by artists such as Paul Gauguin and Vincent van Gogh who courageously utilized the vivacious color compositions.

    However, Fauvism was a movement, which took one further step with bold colors and wild imaginations of the artists.

    The ‘les Fauves’ (French translation for ‘the wild beasts’) beat down the academic style of focusing on the representational aspect and concentrating more on the colors.

    This movement saw its dawn in the year 1904 but was only able to trend for only a few years beyond. The prominent names in the Fauvism were André Derain and Henri Matisse.


    In the early epoch of the 20th century, Germany saw the rise of expressionism. Implemented initially in poetry and painting, Expressionism was moreover an extension of Fauvism in the German version.

    Quite a few German artists started experimenting in the expressionism movement pre-World-War 1   time. Artists ensure to extend the wings of this movement to the expressionist architecture, literature, theatre, film, painting, dance, and music.

    The base of expressionism was kept by two segments of the German artists (‘Die Bruecke’, meaning The Bridge, and ‘Der Blaue Reiter’, meaning The Blue Rider). Eminent artists of this movement are Franz Marc, August Macke, Gabriele Münter, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee and Alexei Yavlensky.

    Art Nouveau Movement

    This form of art emerged as an inspiration from the Celtic art. Artists of Art Nouveau movement grips strongly on the natural forms & structures.

    Special emphasis was given on the curved lines of the plants and flowers. This movement saw its peak in the time-frame of 1890-1910.

    This movement was never able to subsist the World-War 1. Art Nouveau went beyond painting and printmaking by covering a diverse range of art, which includes architecture, glass, jewelry, furniture, and illustration.

    Esteemed artists of this movement are Emille Galle, Alphonse Mucha, Gustav Klimt, and Louis Comfort Tiffany.


    This is perhaps the most intriguing of all movements that pushed the era of modern paintings on its peak. Started by the legends such as Pablo Picasso, and Georges Braque in Paris, the roots of Cubism goes back the prominent name such as Paul Cezanne.

    This form of art laid its stretch only to paintings and sculpture. Artists in this movement ensure to prioritize more on the geometrical styles and fragmentations.

    This art movement, which laid the foundation for abstract art, has impeccable artists such as Robert Delaunay, Marcel Duchamp, Juan Gris and Lyonel Feininger.


    The father of surrealism was Andre Breton. This art style insisted one to emphasize the significance of the dreams.

    All in all, this movement was more concentrated on the psychological aspects. Soon after its burst, surrealism becomes one of the most influential movements that boosted the Modern paintings epoch.

    Final words

    Other art movements that played an equally significant role in the uprising of modern art were abstract art, pop art, and op art.

    Next time you see modern paintings or artworks, just recall the long and transformative journey these took to reach here.

    If you have any questions or anything to say, reach us in the comment section below. Thanks!

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