What Are the Differences Between Traditional Art and Modern Art?

Art|Modern Art

Traditional art and modern art are two distinct categories of art that have a number of differences. Traditional art is often seen as having more of a historical connotation and is typically rooted in the past, while modern art is associated with more contemporary styles and ideas.

Subject Matter

The subject matter of traditional art tends to be more focused on natural elements, cultures, or religion, whereas modern art has a broader range of topics. Traditional art includes paintings, sculptures, tapestries, and other forms of visual media that depict things like landscapes or religious figures. On the other hand, modern art often features abstract concepts or even pop culture references in its work.


The style of traditional art is often more realistic and detailed than modern art. Traditional paintings usually have an emphasis on realism, with an eye towards capturing the beauty and detail of the subject matter in a realistic manner. Modern artists tend to explore different techniques such as cubism or abstract expressionism to create works that are less focused on realism and more focused on conveying emotion or exploring new ideas.


Traditional artwork tends to use materials such as paint, clay, wood, stone, and other basic materials to create its works. Modern artwork may use any type of material from found objects to digital media in order to create its pieces. This allows for a much wider range of possibilities when creating artwork with modern techniques and materials.


Traditional art and modern art have distinct differences that set them apart from one another. Traditional artwork tends to focus on natural elements or religious figures while modern artwork can feature any type of subject matter ranging from abstract concepts to pop culture references.

The style between the two types of artwork also differs greatly with traditional artwork being more realistic while modern artwork explores different techniques such as cubism or abstract expressionism. Lastly, traditional artwork uses basic materials while modern artists can use any material they choose including found objects or digital media for their pieces.