Modern Art – what has it done for us?


Have you walked into a modern art museum or gallery and just gone “huh?” or thought “My kid could have painted that?”. Well understanding modern art is understanding the world we live in every day because the modern masters influences on the styles, fashion and visual world we are exposed to everyday can often be trace back to these artists. The four major figures in the modern art world – Andy Warhol, Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse and Salvador Dali are featured in this excellent series by the BBC.

The series not only explores the influences that inspired the artists to create their artwork but it also takes a look at how these artists and their contemporaries influence the world beyond the art gallery, as the style bleeds off the canvas into the commercial world of advertising and fashion.

Henri-Émile-Benoît Matisse (French: [ɑ̃ʁi emil bənwɑ matis]; 31 December 1869 – 3 November 1954) was a French artist, known for both his use of colour and his fluid and original draughtsmanship. He was a draughtsman, printmaker, and sculptor, but is known primarily as a painter. Matisse is commonly regarded, along with Pablo Picasso and Marcel Duchamp, as one of the three artists who helped to define the revolutionary developments in the plastic arts in the opening decades of the twentieth century, responsible for significant developments in painting and sculpture.

Pablo Ruiz y Picasso, also known as Pablo Picasso (/pɪˈkɑːsoʊ, -ˈkæsoʊ/;[2] Spanish: [ˈpaβlo piˈkaso]; 25 October 1881 – 8 April 1973), was a Spanish painter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist, stage designer, poet and playwright who spent most of his adult life in France. As one of the greatest and most influential artists of the 20th century, he is known for co-founding the Cubist movement, the invention of constructed sculpture,the co-invention of collage, and for the wide variety of styles that he helped develop and explore.

Andy Warhol (/ˈwɔrhɒl/; August 6, 1928 – February 22, 1987) was an American artist who was a leading figure in the visual art movement known as pop art. His works explore the relationship between artistic expression, celebrity culture and advertisement that flourished by the 1960s. After a successful career as a commercial illustrator, Warhol became a renowned and sometimes controversial artist.

Dalí was a skilled draftsman, best known for the striking and bizarre images in his surrealist work. His painterly skills are often attributed to the influence of Renaissance masters.[2][3] His best-known work, The Persistence of Memory, was completed in August 1931. Dalí’s expansive artistic repertoire included film, sculpture, and photography, in collaboration with a range of artists in a variety of media.