Modern art from surrealism to modern art

Salvador Dali

Dalí’s work

Modern art is considered to be that elapsed from the end of the 19th century until approximately the 70s. From impressionism (with which modern art is born), to minimalism (with which it ends)We are going to continue exploring some of their movements, as we had been doing in a previous post, where we start from impressionism and arrive at Dadaism.

This time we will start from surrealism, after Dadaism, until we reach minimalism. We will also see later movements, such as postmodernism, coming to current art. What are you waiting for to soak up the interesting world of modern art? Let us begin!

The surrealism

Everyone uses the expression “this is surreal”, so we can guess a little what this interesting movement is about. With Salvador Dalí as the greatest exponent, surrealism is based on spontaneity and the world of the unconscious. It is that movement where dreams become reality. In the case of Dalí, we must highlight his great symbolic universe. For example, he used eggs as a symbol of life and hope, locusts as a symbol of decadence, and elephants with their thick legs as a symbol of weightlessness.

Abstract expressionism


Pollock’s work

The first painting considered as abstract expressionism is attributed to the famous Jackson Pollock. The works of this movement are characterized by being of a very large format, where the artist can experiment by throwing and splashing the paint (literally) on the canvas, giving value to the gestures of the person doing the work. It is a “physical” painting, which conveys how the artist feels when painting it.

Pop art

This curious and colorful movement acquires its maximum splendor from the hand of Andy Warhol, as we discussed in this previous post. It was born among artists tired of the excessive intellectualization of art, which was less and less accessible to the people. Thus, it is an apparently cold and simple art that uses consumer objects as advertisements, in protest of an elitist and consumerist society.


Art is no longer about beauty, but about ideasTherefore, this movement uses any mass-produced object as a work that conveys meaning to us, taking it out of its usual context. So what matters is the “concept”. Marcel Duchamp, father of the Ready made, by using everyday objects out of context, qualifying them as works of art. One of his most famous works is The fountain, which is a porcelain urinal used as a sculpture.

Nouveau Réalisme

This peculiar movement wants to overcome the limitations of the use of canvas on the easel, going much further. For example, using human bodies as brushes.

Povera art or poor art

Another movement that protests against the consumer society. Poor art uses basic objects, such as rags, magazines or anything we find in the trash.


Minimalism is the movement that ends modern art. It is based on less is more. Through simple and apparently cold figures, it is intended to convey that what is important is what is essential, stripping ourselves of all that superficial consumption. At the moment it has become fashionable again beyond painting and architecture, by the hand of the Japanese Marie Kondo, being an authentic philosophy of life.

And what do we find behind modern art?


Unlike the minimalists, postmodernists believe that the superficial image is the only one that really matters. At this point multiple previous movements are mixed, not only from modern art, but from contemporary art and from any period of art history.

Current art


Banksy artwork

Currently art is defining itself day by day. An entertainment facet of it stands out, to address a specific audience, on other values. If we had to highlight a current artist, it is undoubtedly Banksy and the concept of urban art (you can learn more about him in this previous post).

And you, what movement do you identify with the most?

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