If we had to describe the Modern age in the West in few words, a period stretching from the 1700s to the Modern day, which ones would they be? Would we opt for a description that evokes the rationalism, scientific development, and social advancement - an alleged conception of progress? Or would we dare to emphasize the cyclical nature of life and history - the constant flux between peace and turmoil, stability and instability, reaction and counteraction? Trying to label such a diverse and eventful period in time may seem like an impossible task, for there seems to be both sides of the coin. The who and the where, and the when and the why are the elements that help us construct our interpretations, and even then, we see that this Modern age has no “clear period styles to be discerned in art or any form of endeavor.”1 Essentially, one is faced with debates between the rational and inner psychological self, the scientific and the spiritual, the real and the ideal. This age pronounces the beginning of the movements and -isms that defy “national, ethnic, and chronological boundaries; never dominant anywhere for long, they compete or merge with each other in endlessly shifting patterns.”2 Ultimately, this debate can become a matter of the distinction between two seemingly incompatible perceptions of time: the linear and progressive trajectory and the circular and eternal one.

         1   H.W. Janson, History of Art, 4th ed. (New York, Harry N. Adams, Inc., 1991), 615.
        2   Janson, History of Art, 615.