Becoming Modern Elizabeth Lemanske

Historical Context

Modernism refers to the movement between the years 1850 and 1960, beginning with realism and ending with abstract expressionism. During this span of over 100 years, countries that were mostly agricultural based developed into modern cities with fast transportation and factories. Modernization included the expansion and development of many things such as capitalism, urban culture, technology, secularism, optimism, and more. Through the growth of capitalism, the people of the country were shaped by competition resulting in progress.


Romanticism began in the late 1900s, and it highlighted subjectivity of the people. It’s purpose is to spark emotion in the audience and is commonly used to emphasize an issue or opinion. Romanticism was different from past ways of art because it was intended to affect a broader range of people.

Francisco Goya

The Third of May 1808

The Third of May 1808, is a romantic painting by romantic artist Francisco de Goya. This is a famous representation of romanticism because it's purpose is to have sympathy with the man in white who is being attacked by the soldiers. This sparks the emotions of guilt to those who agree with the soldiers as it looks as though an innocent man is being harmed.

Richard Wagner

Richard Wagner was a man of the late 1800s most known for his operas in Germany. He sought to incorporate drama in his musical compositions which were noticeably more complex and rich in harmony than most other music.

Percy Shelley

Regarded as one of the most influential romantic writer of his time, Shelly had many radical views and showed them in his literature. In his works he insists on taking the controversial side of issues which prove to be inspiring. In his works he also explores love and rebellion against authority.


Realism was a movement that intended to exploit the life of common people. It showed typical daily life things and the hardships that people faced. It showed the truth and accuracy of what goes on in everyday life, not ignoring even the boring parts of life. This style of art is still around today, but is less popular.

Charles Darwin

One of the most influential biologists, who dramatically changed the average person’s view of the world with his diverse discoveries in evolution, philosophy, and zeitgeist. Darwin dug deeper than anyone else and looked at life from a secular point of view. Instead of experimenting with present activity such as that discovered in chemistry and physics, Darwin looked over the world and all it’s years where he eventually came up with the idea of natural selection.

Charles Dickens

In Charles Dickens’s story, A Tale of Two Cities, he writes in the point of view of both the peasants and the rich to show how each side lives. This writing showed the unflattering parallels of the two very different lives being lived in London, and many other cities. The brutal novel had such an impact on people’s lives because it was so very real and could be easily relatable.

Jean Francois Millet

The Man with the Hoe

This painting by Millet depicts realism as it is a common man doing common work on the field. An everyday task, with no embellishment but the exhaust on his face and in the way he is standing. This painting was from a time when agriculture was a major part of society and it’s how most of the people in Europe lived.

Modern Science

Sigmund Freud

Freud was an Austrian neurologist that popularized the theory that unconscious motives control behavior. His most significant contribution to science was the idea of the unconscious. He went against common belief that knowledge could easily be acquired through experiment and said we cannot always see what is going on in our motives because of the unconscious.

Modern Art

Claude Monet

The Water Lily Pond

Claude Monet was a famous impressionist painter with the purpose of showing off his artistic techniques through nature-like paintings. This work was considered very radical in its time because of its distinct difference like the small detailed paint and the reflection of light in the water. He wanted to capture nature unlike other artworks that tend to be of people and royalty.

Paul Cezanne

The Basket of Apples (1895)

This painting by Paul Cezanne is a perfect example of modern art. It's purpose to show that not everything realistic has to be realistic, like the table in the picture which doesn't have right angles like a typical table would. The glowing colors give the picture density and make the fruit look more realistic than still life is.


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