Early 20th century Artistic Movements: Ideas, Ideals and Attitudes Towards Traditional Art

The 20th century art was characterized by the emergence of modernist movements which have changed the art consistently. At the same time, the trends to experiments were very strong, but they were not characteristics of the 20th century art uniquely. In fact, roots of modernism and experiments in art may be traced back to the 19th century.

In such a situation, it is important to underline that these experiments contributes to significant changes in the art at large and visual art in particular. Views on art and artists have started to change to the extent that they were perceived as a kind of unique cast, which created art for the art’s sake. This is why it is very important to analyze the development of the 20th century art to understand its basic trends and the role and place of art in the life of society.

First of all, it should be said that many specialists and artists stand on the ground that modern art, the art of the 20th century, tends to immaterialism. The art of the 20th century grew more and more immaterial, since artists tended to experiments. These experiments resulted in the wider use of abstraction and stimulated the emergence of such movements as impressionism, surrealism, cubism, futurism, purism and others, among which many were really distant ideologically, technically and stylistically from traditional realistic art. In fact, for the art of the 20th century, realism was a kind of conservative art movement which had scarce resources to convey the artist’s ideas to the mass audience. Instead, new forms of art were welcomed. In this respect, it is possible to mention Cubism, which works were characterized by the dominance of geometric forms and extensive use of color. This trend is particularly strong in works of Kazimir Malevich, “Black Square”¯, and Piet Mondrian, “Composition with Yellow, Blue and Red”¯. Also, it is possible to mention another prominent artist of the early 20th century, whose works were also very original and innovative in a way, this artist was W. Kadinsky. His “Composition VII”¯ represents a high degree of abstraction, where it is possible to trace some clear objects, which were the characteristic of conservative, classical art.

At the same time, it should be pointed out that the shift toward immaterial is not the only trend typical to the 20th century art. Obviously, the art was traditionally a powerful tool which influenced the conscious of people, while in the 20th century, the emergence of the mass art stimulated the growing impact of art on the conscious of people.

Hence, it is important to underline that art and politics of the 20th century are closely intertwined and can influence each other. In this respect, it is possible to refer to Carra’s “Funeral of the Anarchist Galli”¯, which was a kind of a protest of the author against the existing social and political order. This painting depicts the funeral which the artist witnessed himself and he uses abstract, futurist painting to convey his feelings and emotions to the audience.

In fact, the turbulent political situation in the early 20th century, World War I, Revolutions in leading European countries, including Russian revolution headed by Bolsheviks. Naturally, political situation affected consistently the development of art and stimulated numerous experiments in art which mirrored dramatic changes in social and political life in the epoch. At the same time, modernist movements were consistently influenced by the development of science, which became the dominant ideological power in the early 20th century. To put it more precisely, traditional religious beliefs were overshadowed by scientific discoveries which debunked numerous religious myth about the creation and development of the world, while romanticism of the past epoch was also inconsistent in the historical context of bloody military conflicts, including World War I, which devaluated the value of human life.

Thus, it is possible to conclude that art keep progressing and it have great prospects in the future, but the basis of the contemporary art was founded by modernist movements, which emerged in the late 19th ”“ early 20th century and, to a significant extent, defined the development of the 20th century’s art.

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