1900 - 1980. The notion of Modernism is closely related to 'modern art'. Modernism refers to the new approach to art where it was no longer important to represent a subject realistically. Instead, artists started experimenting with new ways of seeing, with fresh ideas about the nature, materials and functions of art, often moving further toward abstraction. Modernism was the movement that revolutionised the world around us and the way we live it. Amongst famous artists of modern art are Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Marc Chagall, and more.

Modernism brought us a diversity of styles and movements:

A few important artists of modern age have had no any particular affiliation with any of the major modern art movements, or their art can be attributed to have been expressed in several styles:

Artists and Articles

Edvard Munch

Edvard Munch is a Norwegian Symbolist/Expressionism painter, whose intense, evocative treatment of psychological and emotional themes was a major influence on the development of Expressionism in the early 20th century. Munch is acclaimed to be the greatest artist of Norway and a father of Expressionism. Munch's art is now considered a significant force in modern art. His art is simple, direct, and vigorous in style, yet powerful in essence and in subject matter. Munch's art works penetrate beyond external appearances to the inner conditions of the subjects he painted. Munch's subject matter is symbolist in content, depicting a state of mind rather than an external reality. The purpose of Expressionism and Symbolism is to show emotions that the artist feels in hopes that the viewer will be stirred and feel them as well. The artist is not concerned with reality as it appears but with its inner nature and with the emotions aroused by the subject. To achieve these ends, the subject is frequently exaggerated, distorted, or otherwise altered in order to stress the emotional experience in its most intense and concentrated form. Interested in portraying not a random slice of reality, but situations with emotional content and expressive energy, Munch carefully calculated his compositions to create a tense atmosphere.

Kazimir Malevich

Kazimir Malevich, a Russian painter, pioneer of geometric abstract art and the originator of the Suprematism movement. Malevich developed his own abstract style based strictly on geometric elements, squares and rectangles. This style became known as Suprematism, referring to supremacy of "pure artistic feeling". In his first paintings he presented geometric forms in a limited range of colors, sometimes in black alone, against a white background. Later he introduced a broader range of colors as well as triangles, circles, and curved shapes. From the simplest geometric shapes, Malevich built an entire Suprematist universe. Kazimir Malevich's art and his Suprematist manifesto are amongst the most vital artistic developments of the 20th century. He claimed to have reached the summit of abstract art by denying objective representation. Infinity, eternity, God, zero of form, the void, blissful sense of liberating non-objectivity, pure art, supremacy of pure feeling, spirit of sensation which pervades everything...

Amedeo Modigliani

Amedeo Modigliani, an Italian painter, known for his portraits and erotic nudes, deliberate distortion of the figure and free use of large, flat areas of color. Despite their extreme economy of composition and neutral backgrounds, Modigliani's portraits convey a sharp sense of the sitter's personality, featuring a simple but monumental use of line, and arresting arrangement of curved lines and planes as well as a striking idealization of feminine sexuality. His art was very individual and unique, especially later in his career. His incisive portraits, erotically charged nudes, elegant drawings of caryatids, and primitivistic sculpture have been admired for decades. Modigliani's portraits and single-figure paintings are among the most memorable and popular images of the early twentieth century. They possess an archetypal quality that sets them apart from the art of his contemporaries in Paris. Like the artist's nudes, they testify to an enduring fascination with the human form and physiognomy.

Paul Klee

Paul Klee, Swiss German painter, one of the most original masters of modern art. Klee created images known for their fantastic dream-like qualities, wit, and imagination. He was influenced by many different art styles, including Expressionism, Cubism, and Surrealism. Klee was also a master draftsman, and many of his works are elaborated line drawings with subject matter that grew out of fantasy or dream imagery. Throughout his career, Paul Klee used color in a variety of unique and diverse means, in a relationship that has progressed and evolved in a variety of ways. Klee was highly spiritual. Klee tended to see the world as a model, a kind of illusion run up by the cosmic clockmaker - God. This helps account for the toy-like character of his fantasies; if the world had no final reality, it could be represented in the freest, most schematic way. Klee's career was a search for the symbols and metaphors. Many of his paintings are a form of writing: they pullulate with signs, arrows, floating letters, misplaced directions, and commas; their code for any object makes no attempt at sensuous description, but instead declares itself to be a purely mental image, a hieroglyph existing in emblematic space. Now Klee has become a classic whose pictures are reproduced in their thousands. They have established themselves firmly in the collective memory of mankind.

Joan Miro

Joan Miro, a Spanish Catalan painter, internationally acclaimed for his painting art which has been interpreted as Surrealism, a sandbox for the subconscious mind, with strong traits of innocence, minimalism, and the child-like character. Miro was at the beginning of the Surrealist movement, but later he chose not to be labeled as a Surrealist in order to be free to experiment with other artistic movements and styles. He developed his own unique style: organic forms and flattened picture planes drawn with sharp lines. He tried to express himself through new materials: bark, textile, fiber, assemblages of objects, collages, and so on. Miro has been a significant influence on late 20th-century art, in particular the American abstract expressionist artists, such as Pollock and Rothko, with his lyrical abstractions and color field paintings. "My characters have undergone the same process of simplification as the colors. Now that they have been simplified, they appear more human and more alive than if they had been represented in all their details." - Joan Miro.

Henri Matisse

Henri Matisse, French artist, known for his use of color to convey emotional expression, and his fluid, direct and original painting style. As a printmaker, but principally as a painter, Matisse is one of the best-known artists of the 20th century. His mastery of the expressive language of color and drawing won him recognition as a leading figure in modern art. Early in his career, he was the leader of the Fauvist movement, a painting style which focused on pure colors used in an aggressive and direct manner. Matisse believed the arrangement of colors was as important as a painting's subject matter to communicate meaning. He avoided detail, instead using bright color and strong lines to create a sense of movement. Although intellectually sophisticated, Matisse always emphasized the importance of instinct and intuition in the production of a work of art. He argued that an artist did not have complete control over color and form; instead, colors, shapes, and lines would come to dictate to the sensitive artist how they might be employed in relation to one another. He often emphasized his joy in abandoning himself to the play of the forces of color and design, and he explained the rhythmic, but distorted, forms of many of his figures in terms of the working out of a total artistic harmony.

Pablo Picasso

Pablo Picasso was probably the most famous artist of the 20th century. During his artistic career, which lasted more than 75 years, he created thousands of works, not only paintings but also sculptures, prints, and ceramics, using all kinds of materials. He almost single-handedly created Modernism. He changed art more profoundly than any other artist of the century. Both the quality and quantity of Pablo Picasso's art is unrivalled. His paintings show the combination of natural and acquired ability that earned him the title of an art genius and the most important artist of the last century. Picasso launched Cubism and the revolution in artistic expression which continues until the present. Prolific, inventive, imaginative, and rebellious, only Da Vinci and Michelangelo are currently more popular than Picasso. Not even Van Gogh or Dali command as much popular interest or study.

Salvador Dali

Salvador Dali, one of the greatest Spanish painters of all time, and one of the most important figures in the history of Modernism. Both Dali's extraordinary talent and odd personality helped him to rise above the rest of the Surrealists of the 20th century. His artwork and influences can be seen almost everywhere around the world. His explicit and controversial Surrealist paintings are some of the most famous, and infamous, paintings of the 1900's, and his rebellious and independent attitude towards art and politics set him aside from other painters, leaving a mark on Surrealist painting forever. Dali expressed surrealism in everything he said and did. He was not just unconventional and dramatic; he was fantastic, shocking, and outrageous. Salvador Dali remains one of the great artistic innovators of all time. Like Picasso, Matisse, Miro and Chagall, his place at the pinnacle of modern art history is assured.

Marc Chagall

Marc Chagall, Russian-born French painter and designer, distinguished for his surrealistic inventiveness. He is recognized as one of the most significant painters and graphic artists of the 20th century. His work treats subjects in a vein of humor and fantasy that draws deeply on the resources of the unconscious. Chagall composed his images based on emotional and poetic associations, rather than on rules of pictorial logic. Predating Surrealism, his early works were among the first expressions of psychic reality in modern art. Chagall's personal and unique imagery is often suffused with exquisite poetic inspiration. Chagall's distinctive use of color and form is derived partly from Russian Expressionism and influenced by French Cubism.



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