What is Modern Art?

Modern art is a term that is often over-used and not understood, leading to some confusion. Strictly speaking, it relates to any artistic work dating from the 1860s right up to the 1970s, over one hundred years in total. However, most people assume that the term applies to any art which is not in the traditional style of painting by the likes of da Vinci, van Gogh and Renoir. Admittedly, most modern art pieces are somewhat abstract in nature, representing a move towards experimentation. The artworks typically have a multi-coloured aspect, expressive figures and incredible landscapes. The debate on what is modern art continues to linger on.

Major Movements and Artists in Modern Art

14 Feb 2021

Art has always evolved throughout the ages. Catastrophic events in our history forced modern artists to challenge society’s belief system. The evolution in ideas led to a change in how we defined art and its role in our culture. By looking through our history, one can see how artists like Van Gogh revolutionised the industry.

Five Movements That Revolutionised Modern Art

As technology and our perceptions of the world change, it’s only natural for new ideas to take shape. Like how online casino games revolutionised gambling, these concepts changed the face of modern art forever.


Influenced by Salvador Dali, Surrealism is one of the most famous evolutions in modern art. It gained traction after a poet named Andre Breton released The Surrealist Manifesto in 1924. The book described the movement as uniting the unconscious and conscious realms.

Artists like Max Ernst tried to bridge dreams and reality. They attempted to capture the idea in many different forms like sculpture and film. Many members of the movement later splintered off, continuing to use its techniques.


The Dada movement looked to reveal the criticism and perceptions of our society through art rather than the piece being an end in itself. The idea connected artists through their beliefs rather than a single technique.

Artists like Marcel Duchamps saw themselves as crusaders fighting rational thought. They believed it was responsible for the corruption in our politics. The movement mocked the definition of art at the time, opposing the repressive institutions.


Constructivism was born as a result of Cubism and Futurism. It brought forward the idea that one should construct art using industrial materials. The use of mediums such as steel and glass served a purpose rather than making a statement.

Vladimir Tatlin’s Monument for the Third International represented the Constructivism idea. The spiral structure showed how geometric construction influenced the movement’s philosophy. Due to Soviet opposition, Constructivists moved to western countries, gaining widespread attention.


The movement known as Futurism attempted to embrace modern society, linking humans with machines. Filippo Marinetti coined the term in his manifesto written in 1909. He showed how the movement wasn’t limited to a single medium or art form. Instead, artisans embraced the idea through painting, writing, and even architects.

At the centre of this concept was the strong endorsement of misogyny and war. This ideology proved to be the movement’s downfall, after realising the devastation caused from World War I.


First introduced in the 1900s by George Braque and Pablo Picasso, Cubism uses geometric shapes as a foundation of the artist’s final representation. Louis Vauxcelles coined the term in 1907, attempting to describe the work of these artists.

Cubists strive for a minimalist look, simplifying everything from the lines of an image to its colour palette. The practice seemed to ignore shadows, forgoing perspective for a more flattened facade. What’s more, the introduction of the monochromatic scale helped emphasise the artists focus on structure.

The Beginning of Modern Art

30 Sep 2020

There is some agreement about the beginning of modern art. Artists included Van Gogh, and Henri Matisse as well as many pre Cubists. The paintings looked almost primitive to some and used different colours, as well as techniques, that expanded the feeling and emotions that can be perceived by the observer.

Modern Art Style

30 Aug 2020

Modern art lasted from around the 1860s to the 1970s and included many styles. They used experimentation and new techniques, as well as ways to express the subject matter. Some styles include Romanticism, Realism, Expressionism, and many others. There are different periods of modern art with varied styles relevant to each period.

When Did Modern Art End?

27 Jul 2020

Modern art ended late in the 20th century. Modernism became the more fashionable term for art that was then emerging. New forms of artistic expression that could not come under 'modern art,' such as elements of text, collage, technology and multimedia meant that the term 'postmodernism' became the definition of developing art.