Posted on by Ben Hodson

To understand modernism, it is worth first putting it in the context of the run up to the way of thinking called pre-modernity.  Pre-modernity in the widest sense was characterised by a time when there was ultimate truth and this truth exists outside of the individual.  There is also authoritative sources of this truth, which were largely religious scriptures and texts.  Art mostly responded and commented on these ultimate truths.  Pre-modern western art was still predominantly based on religious themes.  This was also before a lot of key changes in the west: - it was pre-enlightenment, pre-industrialisation, pre-colonialism and even pre-individualism.  All of these large cultural shifts that came dramatically affected the environment in which art was created and viewed. With the shift towards modernism came a far more logical and scientific outlook.  What was lost was some of the mysticism and the sense that there is more to existence then just what you could explain or prove.  This longing to bring back some of these elements led the way for post-modernism.