Modernisme (Catalan pronunciation: [muðərˈnizmə], Catalan for "modernism"), also known as Catalan modernism, is the historiographic denomination given to an art and literature movement associated with the search of a new entitlement of Catalan culture, one of the most predominant cultures within Spain. Nowadays it is considered a movement based on the cultural reivindication of a catalan identity. Its main form of expression was in architecture, but many other arts were involved (painting, sculpture, etc.), and especially the design and the decorative arts (cabinetmaking, carpentry, forged iron, ceramic tiles, ceramics, glass-making, silver and goldsmith work, etc.), which were particularly important, especially in their role as support to architecture. Modernisme was also a literary movement (poetry, fiction, drama).
Catalan nationalism was an important influence upon Modernista artists, who were receptive to the ideas of Valentí Almirall and Enric Prat de la Riba and wanted Catalan culture to be regarded as equal to that of other European countries. Such ideas can be seen in some of Rusiñol's plays against the Spanish army (most notably
L'Hèroe), in some authors close to anarchism (
Jaume Brossa and Gabriel Alomar, for example) or in the articles of federalist anti-monarchic writers such as
Miquel dels Sants Oliver. They also opposed the traditionalism and religiousness of the Renaixença Catalan Romantics, whom they ridiculed in plays such as Santiago Rusiñol's
Els Jocs Florals de Canprosa (roughly, "The Poetry Contest of Proseland"), a satire of the revived Jocs Florals and the political milieu which promoted them.
Modernistes largely rejected bourgeois values, which they thought to be the opposite of art. Consequently, they adopted two stances: they either set themselves apart from society in a bohemian or culturalist attitude (Decadent and Parnassian poets, Symbolist playwrights, etc.) or they attempted to use art to change society (Modernista architects and designers, playwrights inspired by Henrik Ibsen, some of Maragall's poetry, etc.)