Difference Between Modern Art and Contemporary Art

Difference Between Modern Art and Contemporary Art

It may be quite challenging to understand the differences between modern art and contemporary art. After all, both modern and contemporary words mean the same but how come these two can refer to different art movements?

If you are not sure about the reason, or you would like to learn more about these two art movements, then this guide is for you. In the following sections, we have covered everything you might want to know about them. Moreover, we have also shared the main differences between these movements.

Besides offering you a better insight into modern art and contemporary art, we will help you to distinguish the differences quickly and easily at the first glance. So, keep reading to learn more about these movements!

What Is Modern Art?

Today, the modern world refers to concepts such as trendy, fashionable, or new. However, in art, this is not true. Modern Art refers to artworks that were created between the 1880s and 1960s. This period also corresponds to the modern era.

In this art movement, artists put focus on economic, social, and cultural problems of that era. One of the biggest concerns of modern art was to introduce the use of new materials in art forms. In this way, many artists forced themselves to create art by using other methods than the traditional ones.

What Is Contemporary Art?

It is safe to say that contemporary art covers the time starting from the end of World War II and still continues. Most of the artists creating art in this movement are still living among us. This movement was named after the Contemporary Art Society, which was founded by Roger Fry in London in 1910.

It was born as a reaction to modern art by believing that modern art principles cannot keep up with the trends of the modern world. This art movement offers more freedom to artists, and they can create their art on anything they can imagine. Moreover, it aims to create a social impact on the viewer.

What Are the Main Differences Between Modern Art and Contemporary Art?

First of all, you need to forget about what modern refers to today. Think of the modern era, which began in the 19th century, but we are living in the 21st century. Thus, modern art refers to artworks created after the 1880s. On the other hand, contemporary art refers to artwork created in these years. Contemporary art artists are still living today.

Modern art has more strict rules and mainly, it is regarded as an anti-romanticism movement. It is a revolutionary movement at its origin. On the other hand, contemporary art is more about freedom. It is also revolutionary, but it allows artists more freedom on what and how they create their art.

Another great difference between modern art and contemporary art is the expression. Modern art is a little bit more self-expressive. On the other hand, contemporary art puts focus on society. In contemporary art, the artists aim to create a social impact on the viewer.

Considering that modern art is an old art movement, artists used to work on canvas most of the time. However, these days we have unlimited tools and opportunities to express ourselves. This is why there are no rules in contemporary art about how you can express your art. As a result, contemporary art artists can create their art as videos, graphics, and other objects.

As we noted before, contemporary art focuses on social causes and impact. In addition to this, it also focuses on cultural, political, and social aspects of our world. This is not available in modern art. Instead, modern art has a more subjective approach and representation.

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