Modern art is defined by Claude Cemuschi of Boston College as "painting, sculpture, and other forms of the 20th-century art." "Although scholars disagree as to precisely when the modern period began," added he, "they mostly use the term modern art to refer to art of the 20th century in Europe and the Americas, as well as in other regions under Western influence."
In the dimness of my knowledge of arts, I just devide painting into four periods or so, including realism, romanticism, modern painting, and post-modern painting. Of which I love modern painting best. A particularly innovative period of art, modern painting introduces to us plenty of new techniques and materials, and countless original ideas. Most significantly, modern art is recognized by many as movements that opened to our creative imagination a whole new world. Since these movements began, human mind has no longer been restricted by inflexible principals in arts.
Modern art comprises a remarkable diversity of personal styles and techniques. Just a brief skim through art history shows that we have fauvism, impressionism, expressionism, cubism, dadaism, surrealism, abstractionism, pop art, etc. Although there was only a style called "impressionism", the fact was that all schools of painting left deep impression on us, not just impressionism. Personally, I love expressionism with its harsh combination of complementary colours and distorted forms which are highly symbolic. I like fauvist painting with their large areas of unvaried colour, childish shapes, and heavy contour lines. And I am especially enchanted by colourful works by impressionists which are poured paints like rains of colours that even a rainbow can never think of.
And what I love the most of paintings in modern art period is the artist's limitless creativity hidden behind each drawing. Art critics say modern art is by nature rebellious and that this rebellion is most evident in a quest for originality and a continual desire to shock. It is the rebellious voice of mutinous souls. Innovation is something modern artists must always thirst for. They must never stop refreshing themselves and innovating their works, or else their art is dead.
The childish painting you see above is the work of a genius artist, Henri Matisse. It is "Moroccan Landscape", or "Acanthus", created as oil on canvas round about 1911-1913. I like the way Matisse viewed life with his childlike eyes. The painting is irregistably reminiscent of our childhood when we were still "artists": In fact, all human beings are artist by nature; the sole difference between those who are artists and those who are not is that only a small proportion of people retain their inborn artistic temperament while growing up into adulthood.