Essay - Modernism in art

May 20th, 2015
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For reasons that will become clear later in this essay, discussions of modernism in art have been couched largely in formal and stylistic terms. Art historians tend to speak of modern painting, for example, as concerned primarily with qualities of colour, shape, and line applied systematically or expressively, and marked over time by an increasing concern with flatness and a declining interest in subject matter.

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EssayFor reasons that will become clear later in this essay, discussions of modernism in art have been couched largely in formal and stylistic terms. Art historians tend to speak of modern painting, for example, as concerned primarily with qualities of colour, shape, and line applied systematically or expressively, and marked over time by an increasing concern with flatness and a declining interest in subject matter. It is generally agreed that modernism in art originated in the 1860s and that the French painter douard Manet is the first modernist painter. Paintings such as hisLe Djeuner sur l'herbe(Luncheon on the Grass) andOlympiaare seen to have ushered in the era of modernism. |[pic] |[pic] | |douard Manet,Le Djeuner sur l'herbe |douard Manet,Olympia | |1863, oil on canvas (Muse d'Orsay, Paris) |1863, oil on canvas (Muse d'Orsay, Paris) |But the question can be posed: Why did Manet paintLe Djeuner sur l'herbeandOlympia? The standard answer is: Because he was interested in exploring new subject matter, new painterly values, and new spatial relationships. But there is another more interesting question beyond this:Whywas Manet

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