Modernism

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Explain how significant events in the world have influenced the practice of artists during the Modernism period. Refer to specific artworks and/or art movements to support your answer.

Modernism refers to the modernist movement in the arts which originated in Western society in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Modern artists experimented with new ideas about the nature of materials and purposes of art. Artist’s practice reflects the changing of lifestyles and changes in the world. An artist’s practice refers to the way the artist goes about doing their work. This may include influences, ideas materials, tools and skills. Artists such as Max Beckmann and Piet Mondrian were influenced by thing such as World War 1 and technology. Max Beckmann’s work reflects an age of radical changes in art, and many of his paintings express the suffering of Europe in the 20th century. In the years that lead up to World War 1, Beckmann’s work involved religion and mythical subjects which reflected artists such as Rembrandt. After suffering a breakdown during World War 1, Beckmann’s style changed dramatically. His forms became more mannered and polished and his colours became more intense. He began to paint figures in torturous settings and angular forms. By the mid-1920s, Beckmann had become one of Germany’s primary modern painters. “The Night” was created by Max Beckmann between 1918 and 1919. It is oil on canvas and is an icon of the post-World War 1 movement. The painting shows an overcrowded room, having three men invaded the room and terrorising the occupants. A man has been hung by his neck by one of the intruders while another man twists his arm. Two women are also in the scene, one that appears to be bound to a post after being raped. The subject matter is chaotic which is shown by the artist’s use of colour and form. The painting is shown only to contain brown tones and red shades. There seems to be no depth in the painting, for example the woman appears to be...
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