Art Modernism Essay
A working definition of Modernism was the rejection of Victorian ways. Victorian culture emphasized nationalism and cultural absolutism. Victorians placed humans over and outside of nature. They believed in a single way of looking at the world, and in absolute and clear-cut dichotomies between right and wrong, good and bad, and hero and villain. Further, they saw the world as being governed by God's will, and that each person and thing in this world had a specific use. Finally, they saw the world as neatly divided between civilized and savage peoples. According to Victorians, the civilized were those from industrialized nations, cash-based economies, Protestant Christian traditions, and patriarchal societies; the savage were those from agrarian or hunter-gatherer tribes, barter-based economies, pagan or totemistic traditions, and matriarchal (or at least unmanly societies).
Modernists rebelled against Victorian ideals. Blaming Victorianism for such evils as slavery, racism, and imperialism--and later for World War I--Modernists emphasized humanism over nationalism, and argued for cultural relativism. Modernists emphasized the ways in which humans were part of and responsible to nature. They argued for multiple ways of looking at the world, and blurred the Victorian dichotomies by presenting antiheroes, uncategorisable persons, and anti-art movements like Dada. Further, they challenged the idea that God played an active role in the world, which led them to challenge the Victorian assumption that there was meaning and purpose behind world events. …
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