A Timeline of Modern Art Styles and Movements

Art is an important part of modern society. Art pieces from eminent artists even sell for millions of dollars and art lovers flock to contemporary art museums and galleries in their quest for some of the best works in the world of art. Despite  the scenario, the true purpose and meaning of art is still elusive to many. This is especially true for Modern Art pieces which often leave us puzzled and confounded as to what they really signify.

However, it is interesting to note that before modernism came into existence, art was not so perplexing. Their purpose was perfectly clear as history, religion, and the current state of politics were common subjects for artists. Art works were mostly used to spread the message, tenets, and ideology that they stood for. This is abundantly clear from the fact that most of the ancient art works in Europe have a prominent Christian influence, be it paintings, cathedrals or sculptures. Even in the beginning of the 19th century, art was seen as a reflection of political and religious causes.

However as the 19th century progressed, artists released themselves from the chains of what was accepted and recognized as art. The phrase “art for art’s sake” often reverberates even today as it stresses upon the ideology that art must have it’s own individual value. True art should serve absolutely nothing, be it morality, history, religion or political rulers.

Artists isolated themselves from the bourgeois commercial society. They especially rejected the commercial nature of art as a means to try to sell something for people. They wanted to reach for a higher purpose, a loftier goal and utilize art to bring out their individual realm of thoughts and emotions. This is how traditional art gave way to modernism and abstraction.

This infographic will illustrate the various movements in Modern Art and how artists slowly adopted new styles of expressing themselves through each movement.

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