Everyone thinks they know exactly what contemporary art is , but this definition is often misused and profoundly erroneous prejudices and beliefs persist about some great artists and their works.

In front of a work of abstract art , there is always the witty one who comments that even his five-year-old child would be able to do it in the same way, or maybe better. This type of joke very well clarifies the degree of ignorance that often characterizes those who approach, without tools, a work of contemporary art.

Difference between modern art and contemporary art

Often those who do not know very well the history of art and even history in general, find it difficult to distinguish modern works and artists from contemporary ones and in many cases the labels of modern art and contemporary art are used as synonyms or exchanged between them in a completely arbitrary way.

Fortunately, clarifying is not that complicated. L ‘ prehistoric art is that prior to the forms of writing. By ancient art we mean that produced in the period from the birth of writing (about 3500 BC), to the fall of the Roman Empire (476 AD). Medieval art follows , which as a period is conventionally made to fall between the fall of the Roman Empire and the discovery of America (1492).

Neoclassicism and Romanticism: nineteenth-century styles

Neoclassicism and Romanticism, nineteenth-century styles, can fall, on the basis of the works and authors, more or less fully in contemporary art, based on chronological criteria.

It should also be said that some consider all contemporary art already historicized as modern and consequently only re-enter the contemporary label of artists still alive and fully active, on which critics often disagree and on whose work certainly the story has not yet had its say.

Surrealism: between Magritte and Dalì

Surrealism is another absolutely fundamental current for the twentieth century and also for the understanding of much of the art of the last decades.

Among the countries that have given more life to surrealism is France, where it takes hold since the early 1920s, no doubt being strongly influenced by Freud’s psychoanalytic theories. It is no coincidence that Surrealism has dreams and the unconscious as its typical subjects. The subjects chosen by the surrealist authors free themselves from social conventions, amaze, excite. The Belgian Magritte and the Spanish Dalì are among the greatest exponents of this type of art, which is often produced in decidedly unusual and almost absurd figurations. Going beyond figuration, we find the unmistakable works of Joan Mirò , rich in symbolism and atmospheres, also attributable to the dream and the psyche.

Of contemporary art books there are plenty, it’s not about texts on individual artists, but who approach the ‘ contemporary art , addressing methodological issues, social and cultural rights, with a general survey, in some cases also funny and amused, in others more technical, but always interesting.