Modernism Art Principles


The Art Principles are a guide to help us understand and discuss how an artwork communicates the artists intent, and whether it does this successfully or not.

The Art Principles are not definitive and hold no essence of truth about art.

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Modernism Art principles

The Art principles associated with Modernism (1850’s to 1970’s) are useful for discussing the impact the formal elements (materials, techniques, composition, and Art Elements) have on an artworks ability to express and communicate. They are;

  • UNITY (dis-unity) + VARIETY (similarity)
  • BALANCE (im-balance)
  • EMPHASIS + CONTRAST (de-emphasis)
  • HIERARCHY (non-hierarchical)
  • PROPORTION (dis-proportion) + SCALE

Post Modernism Art principles

The Art Principles associated with Post Modernism (1970s to today) are useful for discussing the context, meaning, and artist’s intention of artworks created within this period. They are;

  • Recontextualization
  • The Gaze
  • Interaction of Text and Image
  • Representin’
  • Hybridity
  • Appropriation
  • Layering
  • Juxtaposition
  • Obsessive