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The paper is on the general art themes followed during realism, modernism, and postmodernism

This paper gives the significant events that took place during the eras realism, modernism and, postmodernism

This paper lists out the available internet resources on the various art forms during realism, modernism and postmodernism.

Presentation: Realism, Modernism and Postmodernism

In the late nineteenth century, an artistic movement emerged characterized by the slogan, "art for art's sake." The aesthetes argue that artworks are self-justifying and need no reason for existence other than beauty. While the aesthetic notion is never destroyed, the link between culture and art production is re-established in both the modern and postmodern worlds. Let's look at this phenomenon more closely.


Realism's central figure was Gustave Courbet, who aimed to make an objective record of the customs, ideas, and appearances of society. Interestingly, the realists' search for spontaneity and subjects from everyday life led to the development of impressionism. Impressionism emerged in competition with the camera and was brought to the fore primarily by the works of Monet and Renoir. The style lasted only fifteen years in its purest form, but it profoundly influenced all painting that followed.

Three-dimensional art, especially architecture, also underwent radical changes. One of the most influential architects was, undoubtedly, Louis Sullivan, who created a rubric for modern architecture with his theory that form follows function. The anti-Romantic spirit also produced a style of music analogous to that of the impressionist painters, the effects of which still permeate contemporary music. By rejecting tonality, a new harmonic expression came into being which can best be found in the work of its primary champion, Debussy. The most radical turn into atonality, however, was produced by Schoenberg, who used any combination of tones without trying to resolve chord progressions.


With the onset of World War I, the stock market crash of 1929, and the outbreak of World War II, reactions to shattered ideals took both political and artistic form. Art that denied art marked our entrance into the modern world. Reactions to cultural production produced multiple arts forms in the modern text: abstraction, dadaism, surrealism, and precisionists. Theatre witnessed the emergence of social action theatre which attempted, especially in the works of Bertolt Brecht, to move the audience out of the role of passive spectator and into a more dynamic relationship with the play. The modern world also gave rise to absurdist plays written to fragment reality by destroying conventional dramatic structure and cinema underwent radical change in both form and content. In 1940, Darryl Zanuck produced and John Ford directed a film that stunned even Hollywood: John Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath. Here was social criticism with superb cinematography and compelling performances.


While the modern world probably feels and sounds familiar, we are, in fact, moving and breathing in a postmodern era. The postmodern text examines the artifacts of the modern world and deconstructs them into plural meanings and interpretations. While the trends of modernism continued and led to pop art, conceptualism, found sculpture and junk culture, environmental art, the postmodern text simultaneously engaged in a critique of the texts that it produced. It is precisely the text that arises under the text that interests postmodern artists. For ex, postmodern architects seek to create buildings where function no longer dictates form. The Pompidou Center in Paris features a building turned inside out, with its network of pipes, ducts, and elevators externalized and its internal structure hidden.

Theatre in the postmodern world also engages the plural in performance art and alternative social theatre. In music, experimentation with multimedia, biomusic, and total environments blur the distinctions between musicians, playwrights, filmmakers, and composers in meaningful ways. Likewise, dance obscures the distinctions between everyday movement and formality, as well as the traditions of primitive dance with urban streets in postmodern jazz.

describe What are the general themes represented in art forms during this time period?

What time period are we talking about and what were the significant events of this period?

Where can I locate some of the major pieces representative of this era?

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  • Category:- English
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