Modern – (French moderne from the Latin. Modemus – new, modern) – the period of development of European art at the turn of the XIX-XX centuries, the main content of which was the desire of artists to oppose their creativity to the historicism and eclecticism of the art of the second half of the XIX century – hence the name. Therefore, the term “modern” should be distinguished from the general meaning of the word “modern” or “modern art”, as well as the term “modernism”, meaning all the most avant-garde, experimental and formalistic trends in the art of the 20th century.
The chronological framework of Art Nouveau is very narrow, just some thirty years: approximately 1886-1914. However, Modern is not one particular style, but many different styles and trends that make up the period, perhaps no less important than the Renaissance of the 16th century.
The period of Modernity can be compared with the epoch of the XVII-XVIII centuries, of course, not by the volume of created values, but by the logic of the development of artistic ideas. Just as then – Classicism, Baroque, Rococo and again Neoclassicism, the art of the end of the XIX century. generalized the experience of all previous artistic development, and if in the following years this period seemed only decadent, strange, painful and decadent, then after several decades, in the middle of the 20th century, it became clear that it was then that important processes of accumulation and understanding of new artistic ideas, the search for forms, the convergence of various types and genres of art. Art Nouveau artists with their audacity broke all familiar boundaries. Their artistic thinking was characterized by surprisingly rapid growth.
Modernism was compared with Rococo, without noticing that artistic discord, which was not in the art of antiquity, nor even in Mannerism or Rococo during the period of their “classical” development. That is why the term “modern” is more appropriate to use in relation to a certain historical period, and not to style, similarly to the concepts of “antiquity”, “medieval”, “renaissance”. In this regard, the everyday expression “modern style” must be quoted. Not by chance, at the beginning of the century, modern was not called an artistic style, but a “lifestyle”, since new trends penetrated all aspects of human existence.
Among the main currents of the art of Modernity, it is usually distinguished:
– Floreal, or “Ar Nouveau”;
– neo-romantic (national-romantic);
– rational or geometric;
– “neoplasticism”, or “organic architecture”;
All these trends united the general worldview “fin de siecle”, which was different on the one hand by confusion, spiritual fatigue, a crisis of ideals, skepticism and self-irony, and on the other, by the persistent search for a “big style” in all spheres of creative life, erasing the boundaries between the elite and mass art. This led to twofold consequences. The spread of petty-bourgeois tastes, incredible vulgarity, penetrating even into the work of outstanding artists, and refined symbolism, mysticism, sophistication of visual means that have become available to consumers of art. All this miraculously joined in Modernity and was generally expressed in the desire for everything unusual, strange, fantastic, sometimes painful and repulsive.
The main feature of Art Nouveau is that the new in it was formed primarily in the field of architecture, decorative and applied art, but not so much by the architects themselves, as by painters and graphic artists. Similarly, in the XVIII century in the era of Rococo, the creators of the new style were painters and draftsmen.
Art Nouveau completed at the beginning of XX century. its own stylistic cycle of development and, in the opinion of many researchers, the “classical” period of romanticism of European art in general. Many are convinced that the Art Nouveau artists could not solve the daunting tasks they posed to create a new “grand style” and therefore Modern has remained a transitional period.