A Walk through the origin and evolution of Modern Art

Modern Art

The debate of what modern style painting is a never-ending tiff among the art experts, historians, and consultants. Everyone has an opinion and almost all claim to get the true essence of this style of art.

But are they close? Few of the art experts told me that merely looking at a modern painting would offer you a slow but eventual understanding. With all due respect, I found that utterly nonsensical. I meant I felt nothing but irritation to stare at a piece of art and getting nothing out of it.

To comprehend what modern paintings are, we need to go around 150 years back. It was in the middle of the 19th century when this revolution actually started.

The origination of modernism

Modernism, a trend that defies and refute the older customs and conventions of developing art and throw the stagnant traditions out of the window. But the real question is “How did this start?”


To understand modernism and modern paintings, you first require to understand the philosophy that lies within. Modern art paintings are the clear reflection of how the artists of past rebelled and came out of the chains that traditional art styles and conventions tie them up with.

Pre-modernism, any artist who dared to come up with something rigid was ridiculed and rejected straight away. There were set standards, the limit was set, and nobody was expected to do anything else than what is already done millions of times.

It was in the mid of the 19th century when France artists saw the rise of realism movement. This movement was focused on eradicating the traditional fine art subjects. Artists in the realism movement, instead of depicting the same mythological epics, elites, and kings now started to brush down the life of common people. IMHO, realism was the very first movement that laid a solid foundation for the modern art to come in.


During the 19th and the 20th century, human civilisation came a long way, transforming, evolving, adapting, and surviving. After the industrial revolution, everything changed. People started to think differently and a new wave of change starts harbouring in people’s mind quite often.

One such wave hit France again decades after the realism movement. It was the movement of impressionism. In this movement, artists sheltered the idea of carving landscapes using the blurred shades of colours. So, the reflection wasn’t clear but it was understandable. This again was a transforming style for the art world and clearly it was paving the way for something much bigger and effective; modernism.


As the dawn of the 20th century began, another movement known as Cubism emerged. Cubism is known to bring artists and art lovers much closer to abstractionism. It was the time of Pablo Picasso and George Braque.

The idea was to depict unstructured and deconstructed objects using creative designs and patterned colour combinations. So again, the artists appreciated the thought of moving away from the boring and conventional way of only drawing the known subjects.

Modernism never appreciated the word ‘beauty’. Instead, modern artists thought anything can be beautiful as it is the perception that makes something worth looking or not. Hence, cubism and artists related to this movement also deferred from depicting only the well-constructed or ‘beautiful’ objects.

This was a big contribution for modernism to enter the art sector comfortably.

Dadaism and Abstraction

Dada is a form of art that completely ridicules and rejects the vagueness of art. In fact, this movement’s artists also insulted the fine art works calling them pretentious and douche. Known names of this movement include Marcel Duchamp, who once took a urinal, signed it and placed it on the side of an artwork called the fountain.

During the starting of the 20th century, a majority of artists were working on abstract art. All these movements slowly but steadily took the artist out of the misery of creating work around the same mundane themes.

Final words

Modern paintings, as we have discussed, are the by-product of several art movements. These art movements were the result of artists getting stuck with their creativity as they required to follow a definite path or subject matters to develop something amazing.


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