It is known as modernism to an artistic movement that took place from the 19th century and whose objective was the renewal in creation; using the new resources of the art poetic, and leaving old trends aside, not considering them efficient.

Although the term is applicable to the various movements that are based on the above, it is especially related to the current of artistic renovation that originated between late nineteenth century on Latin America in the field of poetry. Which spread throughout the continent and came to be adopted by many European poets during the following century.

This movement was known in Spanish as modernismo, but in other languages ​​it received the name of art nouveau, modern style and jugendstil, for instance. In each countryOn the other hand, modernism had its own characteristics.


Modernism had manifestations in various branches of art and architecture.

The concept in the realm of religion

In the field of religion, modernism was a theological movement of late nineteenth century who tried to reconcile Christian doctrine with science and the philosophy of the time.

For this he dedicated himself to interpreting religious contents in a subjective and historical way, considering them as a human product within a historical context.

Modernism in literature

What literary movement, Modernism had its origin in 1880 in Latin America; It was the first movement within this art that would acquire such force that it infected many countries, including the main nuclei of literary creation in Europe, such as Spain and France.

The main reference of this movement was Ruben Dario, a Nicaraguan-born poet who, after publishing «Azul» in 1888, started a trend that would be joined by other important poets from his continent, such as José Martí and Manuel Gutiérrez Nájera.

The goal of this new literary style, was to get rid of the Spanish models and relied mainly on subversive current models such as symbolism and French Parnassianism. Some of the authors most followed by the modernists were Théophile Gautier, Paul Verlaine, Walt Whitman, and Edgar Allan Poe.

Modern style

Modernism is also known as art nouveau.

His objectives

The basis of modernism was in a rupturist intention with the predominant styles of the epoch. The search for a new aesthetic, inspired by nature and with elements of the industrial revolution, marked the change of paradigm.

Modernism sought to promote the cultivation of the most natural art, separated from the bourgeois constructions. In fact, the cult of beauty and the use of harmonious images are one of the most outstanding characteristics of this literary turn. The approach of the artistic beauty to everyday objects, so that art was accessible to all social classes. In any case, it did not appeal to mass production techniques.

Other characteristics of modernism were the use of curved lines, asymmetry, use of exotic motifs and the tendency to sensuality and the pleasures of the senses. In this movement, the theme of love took on a tone more erotic and sensual, moving away from the romantic images, so fashionable at that time.

Other characteristics of modernism

Another quite significant issue in the poetic creation It was the evocation of distant places and archaic times, and the use of elements typical of Greco-Latin mythology, as well as characters from past times.

On the other hand, emphasis was placed on perfection of form and aestheticism, as well as cultured language. All inheritances of Parnassianism. Regarding the musicality of the verses, they used to be used as poetic devices rhythm, alliteration and onomatopoeia.

Between the most prominent authors of Latin American modernism We can mention Delmira Agustini, Julián del Casal, José Asunción Silva, Julio Herrera y Reissig, Amado Nervo, Leopoldo Lugones and the aforementioned Martí and Gutiérrez Nájera.