Difference Between Modern and Contemporary Art

In art, modern and contemporary forms are largely interchangeable. People often use the term “modern” to describe an art form in recent times, when in reality this art form is considered contemporary.

They emerge at two different times. Modern art refers to the period that began in the 1880s and lasted until the 1960s. On the other hand, contemporary art can be said to have developed after the 1960s and is the one that lasts until the 1960s. the moment.

MODERN ART  Difference Between Modern and Contemporary Art

Artists such as Van Gogh and Manet are considered art revolutionaries in the 1880s, as they gave a new twist to the form of artistic expression that was carried out until then. Modern art broke away from conventional art forms. They emphasized the subjective representation of subjects rather than focusing on the realism that was prevalent prior to the 1880s.

It has a unique style and reflects both the inner and outer world of the human being. He focused on surrealism rather than life depicted as perceived by the church or society.


Contemporary art is one created by artists who, in many cases, are still living. The late 1900s saw major social, political, and cultural reforms throughout the world; which greatly influenced this art form. There is no conventionalism or a rigid system in contemporary art, but some works can be seen influences from modern art. Every topic of relevant importance such as globalization, global warming, human rights, environmental destruction, are reflected in contemporary arts.

Unlike modern art, it has more social impact; it tends more to seek a reaction from the public, although this reaction is not always positive. On the other hand, contemporary artists have more freedom to experiment with all styles.

Key differences 

  • Modern art is situated between the 1880s and 1960s, while contemporary art is that which arises after the 1960s (more specifically in 1900) and continues to this day.
  • Modern art sought to make a subjective representation of things rather than a realistic one. Contemporary art, on the other hand, focuses more on issues that affect society.
  • Many of the contemporary artists are still alive, while the representatives of modern art have already died.
  • Contemporary artists have more freedom to experiment with styles than modern artists had.
  • Modern artists considered pure art to be the ideal, while contemporary artists attach so much importance to the purity of art.

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