From the early years of the twentieth century artists wondered if they could create paintings that, like music, could be composed without referring to a subject, relying instead upon patterns of colour, line and form. This approach, often called Constructivist, was particularly popular in Revolutionary Russia, and was driven by the desire to create a new art for the future of humanity.
There were many variants of geometrical abstraction in Europe in the 1920s and 1930s, not all of which shared Constructivism’s socially utopian ideology. Piet Mondrian’s pared-down simplicity of horizontal and vertical black lines containing squares of white, red, blue or yellow paint, were the ultimate in abstract refinement, but they were underpinned by spiritual beliefs rather than revolutionary theory. Mondrian’s impact on abstract art between the wars was huge, not just stylistically but also in terms of instilling a purist ethos. Ben Nicholson and other British artists owed him a considerable debt.
The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art is located 15 minutes’ walk from Princes Street. It includes two buildings, Modern One and Modern Two, set in a beautiful sculpture park.
Friends of the Galleries get free unlimited entry to all exhibitions, and enjoy a wide range of exclusive benefits including early exhibition access, special events and 10% discount in our cafes.
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