The term modernism refers to a cultural shift in Western civilization that took place in the late 19th and early 20th century in regards to art, music, literature, and filmmaking, to name a few. Many great artists are known as modernist painters because of the influence that they had on this particular time period. The idea of modernism stems from the desire to turn away from the societal norm and create art that reflects a more abstract, individualistic spirit. Many modernists believed that traditional religion, politics, and lifestyles were to be shunned and replaced by an individual's own spirit and vision of what they felt would be a utopian society or world.
In the 1920s, art deco was a very popular form of modernist art in the United States. It wasn't just painting and sculpture that made this shift in culture, but a sense of newfound freedom, a hopeful outlook on the future of the world, and a sense of creativity that many believed had never been expressed before.
In terms of modernist art, perhaps the most famous of all modernist painters was Pablo Picasso, whose famous paintings and sculptures are recognized, lauded, and appreciated worldwide. Of course, Picasso was not the only well-known modernist of that time. In fact, there were many modernist painters whose art lives on in museums throughout the world today. Many people believe that Edouard Manet was the first modernist painter because of his ability to paint objects in a more impressionist form versus a realist format which was typical of many painters at that time.
Modernism does not only apply to painted art. It also reflects a period of writing that helped to form and shape the future. Gertrude Stein and William Faulkner were both considered to be modernist authors because of their unusual writing style, and their ability to deflect from the norm. William Faulkner's novel The Sound and the Fury was written in a stream-of-consciousness style which was considered to be the breakthrough modernist novel of its time. While women were just beginning to break into the literature scene, there were many who became more famous because of the modernist movement. Virginia Woolf, a feminist writer, is one example of a female modernist author.
Since the turn of the century, people have become more aware of the dawning of a new cultural era. This inspired many more creative thinkers to express themselves in a dynamic fashion. Aside from art and literature, modernist architecture also really started to take hold and make an impact. Frank Lloyd Wright is perhaps the most well known of all modernist architects. His famous house stands to serve as a prime example of what modern architecture represents. People who understand and appreciate the modernist movement really see it come to fruition in the architecture that shaped this time.
Barcelona, Spain is a city that is very well known for its modern architecture. Thousands of people flock there each year to take a look at some of the city's most famous buildings.
There is no dispute that modernism had a huge impact on the way people see the world around them, and that the works of the modernist masters are still relevant today. In fact, some believe there is no difference between modernism and postmodernism, which has been a source of great debate for some time. The difference in the school of thought between the two is just a theory on how and when the movement changed over.
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