All the industrialization (developments in plastic, machinery, automobiles, radios, telephones, and electricity) and urbanization that occurred during the nineteenth-century obviously changed the West drastically. In addition to industrialization and urbanization, Charles Darwin's idea of evolution and Karl Marx's concept of a continuing sequence of conflicts and resolutions all brought an increased awareness of the constant shift of reality. Modernists began to really think and wonder about the true significance of art, and why it is significant.
All of these changes in Western culture therefore started a realization and interest in modernism. Modern artists were not like the Old Masters of the Renaissance who were only trying to depict something exactly as they see it, as if it is a photograph. Modern artists show off the fact that there art is art. And after the invention of the camera, exact depictions of scenes were no longer something longed for. Artists searched for new mediums and techniques to create their art. Loose brush strokes and expressive colors were promoted to express and symbolize meaning. Artists became expressionists and voiced their opinion and emotion through their art. Art was no longer something commissioned by the church for the churches wants. Modern artists created what they wanted, to get their opinion across. And they choose whatever technique they think appropriate to get the idea through. Creating an exact depiction does not always work. Sometimes Impressionism is needed to show their emotion through the colors and form. Artists also started to create new subject matters, such as Millet's The Gleaners, or Manet's, Olympia. Through these paintings, the artists showed that the world is not always perfect and beautiful, there is an "ugly" side too.
This new role of the Modernist era certainly still exists today. Artists are always created art to depict emotion and deep meaning, rather it's through their use or color and perspective, or their interesting subject matter. Artists also use their art for causes that are important to them, and to get their messages across.