1. The Roots of Modernism
the word ‘modern’ is used to refer to contemporan object or subject matters.In the history of art, however, the term ‘modern’ is used to refer to a period dating from roughly the 1860s through the 1970s and describes the style and ideology of art produced during that era.The term ‘modernism’ is also used to refer to the art of the modern period. More specifically, ‘modernism’ can be thought of as referring to the philosophy of modern art. The roots of modernism lie much deeper in history than the middle of the 19th century. For historians, the modern period actually begins in the sixteenth century, initiating what is called the Early Modern Period, which extends up to the 18th century. The intellectual underpinnings of modernism emerge during the Renaissance period when, through the study of the art, poetry, philosophy, and science of ancient Greece and Rome, humanists revived the notion that man, rather than God, is the measure of all things.In retrospect, we can recognize in Renaissance humanism an expression of that modernist confidence in the potential of humans to shape their own individual destinies and the future of the world. In the 18th century, the Enlightenment saw the intellectual maturation of the humanist belief in "reason" as the primary guiding principle in the affairs of humans. Through reason, the mind achieved enlightenment, and for the enlightened mind, a whole new and exciting world opened up. The Enlightenment was an intellectual movement for which the most immediate stimulus was the so-called Scientific Revolution of the 16th and 17th-centuries, when men like Galileo Galilei, through the application of reason to the study of the natural world had made spectacular scientific discoveries in which were revealed various scientific truths. Enlightenment thinking believed that reason allowed access to truth, and knowledge of the truth would give birth to better humankind. The vision that began to take shape in the...
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