We can all enjoy landscapes, portraits and paintings of war scenes, banquet scenes and love scenes. But what about the paintings that are just a bunch of indefinable shapes and colors? Of course, what we are talking about here is modern art, a term usually associated and identified with abstract painting. Why did it emerge and what is it exactly that it can offer to the viewer? These are the two main question we are looking to answer in the following paragraphs!
The history of modern art dates back to the Industrial Revolution. By this we mean the period between the 18th to the 19th century. Thanks to a significant change in transportation, manufacturing processes and technology in general, the society of that time experienced tremendous changes. This reflected in the world of art as well, which is no wonder since one of the purposes of art in general has always been reflection on the human life.
Before the Industrial Revolution happened, artists most often lived the lives of artisans commissioned by their patrons, as well as state and religious institutions. This is why they mostly painted and sculpted scenes from mythology and religious stories. This all changed during the 19th century, when they were suddenly set free from obligations to those who financed their work. They could finally make their art about the things that mattered to them, which were other people and their ideas. Thanks to theories of influential people such as Sigmund Freud, they started experimenting with symbolism as well, changing the language of art once and for all.
These changes led to further experiments with colors, materials, shapes and techniques. Instead of offering realistic depictions of the world we see around us, artists switched their focus to a completely different way of expressing themselves that wasn’t figurative. This is why it could be said that modern art represents a whole other artistic language, one that breaks all ties with tradition. And if we are talking about its value, it could be said that it emerges from the different way of seeing and evaluating the world we live in.