chapter  XV
12 Pages

Modern art as the Fourth Phase of Western art

The character of modem art will be easier to understand if people compare is with other ages of that Western art from which it has grown and in which it must be rooted. For even modem art, with its predominant characteristics of chaos, will some day have the character of a closed epoch, though neither the time nor the nature of its end can yet be foreseen. Art has, of course, never changed its essential nature, but it has often changed its place in the context of human life as a whole, and it is this last that really signifies. Thus, for instance, those works of Western art that we call pictures vary so much in their aim and in the circumstances that brought them into being that a person who makes a really careful study of the subject will hesitate to classify them under a single word.