Modernism is a broad term, used generally to convey a faith in progress and a healthy scepticism for received ideas and traditional values. More specifically, the Modernist tendency has often been associated with the main developments in art over the past 150 years, and with the art's highest achievements. However, those concerned to maintain traditional values in one form or another see Modernist art as merely one alternative among many, and perhaps en empty or misguided one. This work looks at Modernist art of the 20th century, in order to show exactly what are the defining characteristics of modernism, and also looks at the critical reaction, both positive and negative, to such work.