Modern paintings

The term “Modern art” is used to refer to the artistic movements developing over the period between Neoclassicism and the end of the Second World War.

dipinto moderno neoclassico madre e figlia


The main idea of Neoclassicism is to restore the principles of harmony and proportion between elements representing typical features of antiquity. In 17th century archeological excavations in Pompei and Ercolano were carried out, bringing back attention to Greek and Roman art, considering Rome as the cultural center of neoclassical art. Neoclassical paintings, inspired by antique art in shape and subject, do not reflect a mere emulative style, but introduce some innovative elements, laying the foundation of a new era, marked by the abandonment of Renaissance principles on the eve of the French Revolution.

Enlightment and Industrial Revolution

Enlightment, Industrial Revolution and the fall of feudal powers marked the era of a new conception of God, man and universe. Art reflected the change in values, where sacred themes and mythology in paintings were replaced by bourgeoisie sceneries. The role of artists changed, as free to individually choose subjects and themes for their works. At the end of the 18th century different artistic styles emerged.


A new style in painting, simultaneously to Neoclassicism, emerged, inspired by feelings, emotions, named Romantism. Emerging as opposites artistic movements, they are two representations of a conception of art free from the restrictions to the individual expression of feelings. The turmoil due to French Revolution brings some important social and political changes, boosting new conceptions of life and art. Man was the fulcrum of the art, representing subjective perceptions.

Dipinto moderno in stile realista


The 1848 insurrectional uprisings in European countries and the invention of photography boosted the movement of realism. Seeking to represent reality in all its aspects in painting, the movement evolved in naturalism, whose subjects were workers.


A new artistic movement developed in Paris, representing relaxing atmospheres of reality, without taking into account social problems. In 1874, artists like Cèzanne, Monet, Renoir, Degas, Pissarro were first named “impressionists” and the term had a negative meaning. The technique used was based on the use of color in the attempt to reproduce realistically daily life sceneries, just as they were photographs, trying to capture instants of real life with a light and shadow effect.



The artistic movement named Puntinism represents the images perceived as the sum of small spots. For this reasons the technique used in paintings creates a mixture of shades and tonalities thus reflecting a new way of conceiving art, as an individual world with its own expressive value.


Symbolism used an abstract figurative language. Matisse was one of the main representatives of the group of fauves, founded in 1905, interested in the symbolism of the artistic shape and not of content, as a means of expression.


Cubist painters used the deformation of images, breaking down their structure, reducing them to simple elements like a cube or a sphere, to enhance their expressivity and to show reality in its essence.


Simultaneously Futurism developed in Italy. Futurists also use the technique of breaking down the image’s structure, expressing enthusiasm for technological innovations in their paintings.


In Dadaism art was replaced by the antithesis of art, often as a critique of society as in Germany or as an illogic and irrational representation as in France.

Dipinto moderno in stile Surrealista


The dreamlike world is the subject of surrealist paintings, in the attempt to privilege psychic reality to the external world.


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