Content generally refers to the subject matter, meaning or significance of a work of art, as opposed to its form (size, shape, medium etc affecting what it looks like)

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  • Georges Braque, 'Glass on a Table' 1909-10
    Georges Braque
    Glass on a Table 1909-10
    Oil on canvas
    support: 331 x 372 mm
    Bequeathed by Sir Antony Hornby through the Friends of the Tate Gallery 1988© ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2004
  • John Latham, 'God is Great (no. 2)' 1991
    John Latham
    God is Great (no. 2) 1991
    Glass, hardback books, silicon and paper
    object: 2450 x 1400 x 540 mm
    Presented by the artist 2005© The estate of John Latham (noit prof. of flattime), courtesy Lisson Gallery, London
  • Bart van der Leck, 'Composition' 1918
    Bart van der Leck
    Composition 1918
    Oil on canvas
    support: 543 x 425 mm
    frame: 739 x 632 x 60 mm
    Purchased 1966© DACS, 2002

In modern art the dramatic succession of innovations in form from impressionism onwards have meant that discussion of this has often taken precedence over that of content. In the 1960s and early 1970s the particularly radical flight from traditional forms of art that resulted in what became known as conceptual art, gave rise to work in which form and content were fused in a new way.