The modernism movement introduced many new concepts and ideas to the world of art.
As a result, many artists of the time began to explore dreams, symbolism, and personal symbolism as their main styles. Some other artists began to test the use of colour and non-traditional materials.
Many well-known artists such as Pablo Picasso took this influence and introduced a new style of painting with modernism. It was called Cubism which was known for its geometric forms. It then developed in the years leading up to the 1830s.
Art photography and the invention of film cameras then provided artists with new ways to depict and visualise the world in their works.
Modern art is used to express the era of ‘modernism’, a time where art is described with various words ending with ‘ism’ such as; Fauvism, Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, Dadaism, Cubism, Surrealism, Expressionism, Pop Art, and many other art movements.
All this formed the foundation of modernist art. These art movements were influenced by many factors such as; African and Asian art, light, culture, history, etc.
Some of the most famous ‘Modernist Masters’ include; Pablo Picasso, Vincent van Gogh, Georges Seurat, Paul Cézanne, André Derain, Henri Matisse, Henri de Toulouse, Piet Mondrian, Raul Dufy, Maurice de Vlaminck, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Wassily Kandinsky, and Edouard Manet to name just a few for.
What is modern art?
As soon as we hear the word modern, we start thinking about the new, trendy and fashionable things of the world.
“Modern art” can only be described as the style and philosophy of artworks produced during the 1890-1960s era.
In other words, the style applied many concepts of modern art but it placed more emphasis on social, economic and political matters. This was made possible by the use of new materials and components in the construction art. The main aim of modern art was to set aside the customary traditions of the previous world and to focus a new approach in the identification and evaluation of current world issues.
What is contemporary art?
By definition, contemporary art refers to works of art created since World War II and is used to describe the works of artists who are still alive and creating art.
By the year 1910, when the term was first used, art critic Roger Fry founded the Contemporary Art Society in London.
After World War II, the term was used to define the art movement.
Critics described it as an era where ‘modern art’ was not contemporary enough to make a positive impact on the younger generation.
Throughout history, the term contemporary can also be traced back to the time of modernism, but it was a special type of art that did not describe a specific period.
Instead, it was based only on contemporary matters such as social, economic and political issues.
Characteristics of Contemporary Art
The era of contemporary works of art produced experimental works that affected a wide range of social, economic and political issues.
This view reflects issues that affect the world today, which are as many as racism, globalization, oppression, poverty, feminism, among many others. Over the past 30 years, we have seen a growing list of artifacts that bring awareness to the most important and urgent matters.
Contemporary art also looks like tackling and highlighting more problems to be faced in the future. This is one of the most important differences between modern and contemporary art.
Difference between modern and contemporary art
When discussing the difference between modern and contemporary art, it is important to tell the story of Gustave Courbet, a French painter who pioneered the realist movement in the 19th century.
Courbet challenged the concept of Romanticism of most famous artists of his time. He stood firm in his beliefs, painting only what the eye could see. The Cubists and Impressionists were some of the many artist groups that took the influence of his ‘free mind’, which helped him to blossom and improve upon his artworks.
Key Differences in Modern Art vs Contemporary Art
1. Modern art refers to the art that began in the 1880s. And contemporary art describes the works of artists still living and creating artworks.
2. Modern art is revolutionary at its core (anti-romantic), whereas contemporary art is revolutionary for the freedom and magnitude of experimentation by artists
3. Modern art is more self-expressive, whereas contemporary art pays attention to society, thus is known for its social impact
4. Modern art is primarily created on canvas, while contemporary art is on every medium you can think of – video art, tech-enabled artworks, object design, pictorial arts
5. Modern art focuses on subjective representations of chosen subjects, whereas contemporary art takes a strong stand on the social, political and cultural aspects of the world.