The 20th century heralded in what is generally known as the ‘Modern Age’. This change was, of course, reflected in all aspect’s of society. And indeed, with the invention of the telegraph, the electric light bulb, the telephone, the automobile, motion pictures, and airplanes, the world suddenly became, in the blink of an eye, a much smaller, and fast-moving environment. The Industrial Revolution was all about how to produce more goods and more quickly, and this sudden flood of new ideas and inventions was certainly no coincidence, but rather, an extension of an impetus that began a hundred or more years earlier. After all, ‘everything is connected’, as they say.
The emotionalism, characteristic of the art of the Romantic period of the early 19th century was, perhaps, a rejection of a world that seemed to be changing way too fast. But the elevation of ‘raw emotion’ which is one of its primary characteristics, in fact, sowed the seeds for a new vision of reality that was internal and subjective. It began to be apparent that beauty really was ‘in the eye of the beholder’, and that images could be important not for their accuracy, but rather for how they made you ‘feel’. Ironically, Romanticism ultimately led to subsequent ‘modernist’ movements such as Fauvism, Cubism, Expressionism, and Surrealism (as exemplified by early 20th century artists such as Cezanne, Matisse, Braque, Gauguin, Picasso, Magritte, Dali, etc.). Modern Art, as an ‘emotional statement of reality’, tends to move the focus from the artwork to the artist. Thus, nowadays, for example, it’s imperative that the artist signs his or her work, or it is deemed to be ‘less valuable’. And now, here we are. So where do we go from here…?