Art Styles/Movements

Group of Seven Art Styles/Movements


Begun in the early 1900s, the Group of Seven emerged when a group of Canadian artists became aware that their style was rather similar.  The group of artists that eventually formed put on an exhibit in 1920 that included J.E.H. MacDonald, Franklin Carmichael, Frank Johnston, Arthur Lismer, Lawren S. Harris, Frederick Varley and A.Y. Jackson.  They gradually established their original style and became increasingly known around Canada.  The legacy that will follow them will include the fact that they were the first group of European descent to visually express the emotional impact of the Artic in paintings. 

The group’s exhibitions culminated in 1931 when MacDonald passed away.  However, a new group emerged that called themselves the Canadian Group of Artists which included the original members Harris, Casson, Lismer, Jackson, and Carmichael.  Both groups continue to play a role in influencing their country’s artworks.


a la Grecque Art Styles/Movements


A la Grecque is a word signifying that something is in a Greek design.  The term has been frequently used to refer to art created under the influence of ancient Greek art.   

ABC art Art Styles/Movements


Also known as primary structure and minimal art, ABC art stems from a movement in the 1960's in which 3D structures of basic forms and flat colors are made, indicating the planes, lines and forms of geometry.  The artistic flair and interpretation usually linked with creativity are put aside to such a degree that the artist is often able to have an artwork created by a method of craftmanship.  Tinsmithing and cabinetmaking are examples of this type of art.  In essence, the artist is viewed as the originator, overseer and designer of the piece.  The primarily impetus of this movement has been the increase of standard design classes in art schools in which simple geometric shapes are analyzed indepthly in regards to their use in industrial design as well as for their own sake.  Los Angeles and New York have been the main hub of activity for this movement.  





abstract art Art Styles/Movements


 A type of artwork in which parts of forms and shapes are emphasized in interpreting the subject depicted.  Abstract art may not necessarily be recognized as something.  The term is subjective in its use because all artwork fits somewhere along the spectrum from full representational art to total abstraction; in other words, there are degrees of abstraction in art.  In 1910, the artist Vassily Kandinsky is traditionally given the credit for creating the first totally abstract artwork.  

Abstract Expressionism Art Styles/Movements


Starting in the 1940s in New York City, Abstract Expressionism is often considered the golden age of American art.  Strong emotions are conveyed in this style of art through texture and brushstroke on (often) huge canvases.  Painting for painting sake is a dominate force in the movement.  Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, and Franz Kline are a few of this movement’s well-known artists.  Individual expression and the liberty it brings permeates all of the artwork from this movement also known as  “New York School.” 


abstraction-creation, abstraction creation Art Styles/Movements


A group of abstract artists that got together during the 1930s in Paris.   The exact type of abstract artwork that the artists created varied, and included artists involved in suprematism to constructivism.  An annual periodical was written by the group under the name Abstraction-Creation.  

academic art Art Styles/Movements

The term "academic art" was first used in regard to art that followed certain standards set by the French Academy in connection with the use of color, drawing or composition.  Academic art is art that follows rules approved by a known school, academy or institution.  Today the term is usually connected to pieces that do not possess originality and follow safe, tried-and-true portrayals of the subject matter.  


aegean art Art Styles/Movements


The term Aegean art refers to a broad class of art from ancient cultures (ca. 2800 B.C to ca. 1400 B.C.) located on the coasts and islands of the eastern Mediterranean Sea.  Cultures of prominence in Aegean art include Cycladic, Mycenaean (on coast of mainland Greece), and Minoan (on island of Crete).  

aesthetic movement Art Styles/Movements


An English movement from the later part of the 1800s that promoted the philosophy of art for art's sake.  The movement sproated as a reaction against the train of thought that art needs to have a purpose for its creation.  In essence, the movement was a form of art appreciation.  James Whistler, Oscar Wilde and Walter Pater were key advocates of the movment.  

aestheticism Art Styles/Movements


Aestheticism is an art philosophy that tout's, "Art for art's sake" (Victor Cousin).  Those who adhere to this philosophy hold that the making of art for its own sake has enough merit on its own to merit the act of creating it.  This is in opposition to the view that art must have an alternative purpose such as for social or moral values.  William Morris (1834 - 1896), the founder of the Arts and Crafts Movement, was a major propagator of this philosophy, as was James Whistler (1834-1903).  

afrocentrism Art Styles/Movements


Afrocentrism is an ideology; it is a worldview primarily centered in the United States that is a reaction to global predjudiced mindsets about African people and their historical influences in the world.    

The ideology can be viewed as an affirmation of Africans of themselves in a Eurocentric-dominated social world by celebrating their cultural heritage as clearly African.  The ideology frequently stresses historical African civilizations as progressing in cultural and technological developements will underpining the contributions of Europeans.  


amarna art Art Styles/Movements


Amarna art is a type of artwork from Egypt that occured from 1379 - 1361 BC during the time of Pharoah Akenaten's rule.  From the city of Amarna, the style of artwork included fluid lines and a certain naturalism; traditionally it is thought that Amarna art was impacted by the pharaoh's preference towards monotheism after his lapse from polytheism.  

American scene painting, Regionalism, Social Realism Art Styles/Movements


American scene painting is a particular style of representational, naturlistic art created in the United States from the 1920s - 1950s.  In this movement artists shy away from avant garde and abstraction.  Many American artists turned away from current art trends after WWI and decided to follow academic realism to portray rural and urban scenes in the USA.  A lot of this style portrays a feeling of romanticism and nationalism in the daily life of Americans.  Paintings of quaint towns, country landscapes and American city life were created by some artists to retreat from industrialization and by others to give a voice to their own political agendas and/or causes.  William S. Schwartz, Alexandre Hogue, Edward Hopper, Charles Burchfield, Thomas Benton and John Rogers Cox are all examples of artists in the movement.  And Thomas Benton studied with or taught several of the artists in the movement at the Kansas City Art Institute.  Some artworks under the movement focused on depicting the quaint/small towns in the USA and are frequently called American Regionalism.  Those artworks under the movement that focused on depicting social/political themes are called Social Realism. Isaac Soyer and Jack Levine are representatives of Social realists.  




Ancients, Shoreham Ancients, Extollagers Art Styles/Movements


The term "Ancients" is the title applied to a group of Britich Romantic artists in the early 1800s who were attracted to medieval things.  They were also called the Shoreham Ancients and the Extollagers.    Their work was primarily pastoral and they were greatly inspired by the writings of William Blake (1757 - 1827).  Edward Calvert, George Richmond and Samuel Palmer were representatives of the group.  They assembled in Blake's residence and at the residence of Samuel Palmer. The subject matter portrayed in the group included things taken from Scripture and their ideas of pastoral innocence.  


antic work Art Styles/Movements


Antic work is artwork that is absurd, ridiculous and ugly; it is often portrayed with plant, animal or human forms.  

Antwerp School Art Styles/Movements


The Antwerp School is a term coined for artists during the 1500s in the city of Antwerp, which was the hub of economic activity of the Low Countries.  It was also used for the artists during the 1600s when it became the powerhouse of Flemish Barque.  The city of Antwerp replaced Bruges as the powerhouse of commerce of the Low Countries.  Craftpersons and artists banded together to form the Guild of Saint Luke, which provided necessary skills/knowledge of the arts/crafts and ensured the products produced were well made.  The Antwerp Mannerists were the 1st school of artists coming out of Antwerp.  These artists were active from 1500 - 1520 in creating Gothic artwork.  

During the 1600s Antwerp revived again as an artistic center.  Jacob Jordaens , Anthony van Dyck and Peter Paul Rubens were influential in propping up Antwerp as a hub of Flemish Baroque.    A large body of book illustrations and old master prints were made during this time.  However, over time due to the economy, several artist persons moved away, and towards the late 1600s the city could no longer boast of being a main art center.

















arabesque Art Styles/Movements


An arabesque is a decorative form of art that displays rhythmic linear patterns of interwoven lines that may include animal, flower, leaf or fruit placed within the total art design. Often arabesques are graceful and curvy.  In regards to the West today, arabesques are primarily present in the decorative arts.  However, they have a greater presence in Islamic art because that type of art does not usually include figures in the designs.  The term arabesque may also refer to a dance position.  It involves a dancer standing on a single leg that is either bent or straight; the other leg is positioned at 90 degrees to the back.

Art and Crafts Movement Art Styles/Movements


A style of art in the late 1800s that stressed the ornamentation of interiors. Objects were ornamented, surface coverings will decked with fringes and furniture was decorative. The movement influenced predominately the United States and England.  During this time in each country, the concepts of mass production were in full tilt, and so using different kinds of styles in the same product was promoted. A British man named William Morris put down the opulence of these developments and instead promoted using quality craftsmanship and design.  It was this reaction to the industrial developments of reproduction that brought about the movement.  Artists tried to bring to people’s attention the important of the individual creativity and worth of each human – as opposed to being a nobody in the growing world of development and progress in technology and industry.  The arts most influenced by the movement include furniture design, architecture and the decorative arts.  Examples of influential artists of the style include John Ruskin, Walter Crane, Frank Wright and Dirk Van Erp.

Art Deco Art Styles/Movements


A period of art that is included a combination of modern decorative art styles.  Most of the styles came from the 1920s and 1930s that involved different kinds of avant-garde painting styles from the late 1900s.  Characteristics from Russian Constructivism, Italian Futurism and Cubism are all present in this movement’s artwork; the style uses simplification, distortion, abstraction and geometric shapes heavily.  Bright intense colors are used to hail the growing use of technology and the development of speed and product industries. 

The term also relates to interior design and furniture between the 1920s and 1930s; pale colors were utilized heavily, especially ivory and silvery gray.

Baroque Art Styles/Movements


The Baroque movement began around 1600 in Europe as a result of the formulaic Mannerist style that permeated art during the late Renaissance time period. Baroque art leaned more towards realism and the emotions, and was more simplistic than Mannerist artwork.  A big proponent of the style was the Catholic Church, as it was a major patron of art during that time period.  Key artists of the movement included Gianlorenzo Bernini, Annibale Carracci, and Caravaggio.  Over time, Baroque art was replaced by the Rococo style. 


Bauhaus Art Styles/Movements


A design, architecture and art school begun in 1919 in Germany.  Its style centered around geometric efficient design and a stress on the significance of the materials used in the art created.  Walter Gropius was the catalyst of the movment; he was made the head of two art schools in Weimar which he combined to create the Bauhaus.  The school focused on teaching practical craftsmanship and creating good designs that had the potential to be mass-produced.  The school moved a couple of times; in 1933 the school was shutdown by the Nazis.  The school continues to play an influential role in art today, whether it be typography, weaving, furniture or architecture.  Key figures from the school include Marcel Breuer, Paul Klee, Lyonel Feininger, Wassily Kandinsky, and Laszlo Moholy-Nagy.

Black Mountain College Art Styles/Movements


The Black Mountain College, a school located in North Carolina, made history when it became the center for American cultural production in the middle of the 20th Century.  The school promoted the artistic and educational experimentation not usually pushed by other schools at the time.  Josef and Anni Albers were a couple of the first teachers of the school.  After the Bauhaus closed because of the Nazis, they came to the United States.  They, along with other individuals such as Walter Gropius, Jacob Lawrence, Willem de Kooning, Robert Motherwell, John Cage, Alfred Kazin, Merce Cunningham, and Paul Goodman, played an enormous role in the minds and lives of the students at the school.  The school became the model for what an American experimental education system should be.  After reaching its limit in terms of influence of its students and other establishments, the school closed.  However, its legacy lives on due to its influence through the generations of students attending other art schools. 

Blaue Reiter Art Styles/Movements


Blaue Reiter was formed in order to secure exhibition space for artists seeking to express their individual expressions.  The title of the movement was coined by Wassily Kandinsky’s drawing of a blue horseman.  Kandinsky, Franz Marc, and Gabriele Munter were the key artists that started the movement in December 1911.  They had an exhibition that included several other artists such as Albert Bloch, Robert Delaunay, Elizabeth Epstein, August Macke and Henri Rousseau.  A second exhibit followed that was much larger which included the famous artists of Pablo Picasso, Braque, Klee and Goncharova. Thought it did not last long, the movement was significant in that it brought German Expressionism to its highest level of painting.  It also encouraged the idea of individual expression and not following any accepted values that might restrain an artist’s creativity.  

Bloomsbury Group Art Styles/Movements


A group formed by friends that shared a common attitude towards life.  The group met frequently starting in 1904 in Bloomsbury, London at Thoby Stephen’s home.  The meetings were centered around conversations on literature, philosophy, and art.  Out of the group emerged artistic and literary styles, as well as theories on psychology and theory.  Examples of group members include Clive Bell, John Maynard Keynes, Desmond McCarthy, Leonard Woolf, Saxon Sydney Turner, Lytton Strachey and Virginia Woolf. 

Byzantine Art Styles/Movements


A style of artwork characterized by big domes, mosaics and arches originating in the 4th Century from the eastern Roman Empire.

Classical Art Styles/Movements


A of style of artwork referring to ancient Roman or Greek architexture and art.  Most of the artwork focuses upon symmetry and geometry, as opposed to freedom of personal expression. 

Constructivism Art Styles/Movements


Germany was the main location of the activity stemming from the Constructivism movement that developed from the Russian avant-garde; however the movement also developed in other areas such as the United States and Paris.  The movement was dedicated to abstraction and devotion to modernity.  The art produced from the movement was non-emotional and often experimental in nature.  The artwork was often boiled down to basic elements in order to create order in art which its members thought would lead to greater peace and unity throughout the world. Ben Nicholson, Naum Gabo, Antoine Pevsner, and El Lissitzky are examples of artists that promoted the development and expansion of the movement.

Cubism Art Styles/Movements


Cubism emerged in the year of 1907 in the city of Paris through the efforts of Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso.  The movement embraced the idea of viewing objects in a new way: by breaking down subject matter and redefining it through multiple points of view at the same time.  The popularity of the movement grew as artists saught to find a new way to represent reality.  The first phase of the movement known as the Analytic phase tried to recreate objects as how the mind saw them – as opposed to the eyes.  The second phase, titled the Synthetic phase, sought to recreate objects in simple forms and brighter colors.  Key artists that continued to develop the ideas of Cubism include: Robert Delaunay, Francis Picabia, Jean Metzinger, Marcel Duchamp and Fernand Léger.

Dada Art Styles/Movements


The Dada movement included a heavy undercurrent of a spontaneity and chance.  It emerged among European writers and artists starting around 1915 and lasting until 1922.  The term “Dada” was coined by Tristan Tzara who stabbed a dictionary with a knife in the effort to create a name for the growing movement.  Artists and writers of the time were growingly becoming fed up with the killings and atmosphere created from World War One; as a result, they tried to shake people up to take notice and to change things.  Key artists of the movement include; George Grosz, Otto Dix, Hans Richter, Jean Arp, and Marcel Duchamp.

De Stijl Art Styles/Movements


1917- 1931

De Stijl is an art movement that was devoted to simple forms and complete abstraction.  Geometric shapes such as the square, along with primary colors and black and white were the main focuses of the movement’s creative expression.  Piet Mondrian, an artist from the Netherlands, was the key catalyst that started the movement.  Neo-Plasticism was a manifesto written by Mondrian in 1920 that fueled the movement.  Another artist from the Netherlands named Theo van Doesberg worked to expand the influence of the movement’s ideas through his journal De Stijl begun in 1917.  Other key artists in the movement include J.J.P. Oud, George Vantongerloo, and Gerrit Rietveld.


Expressionism Art Styles/Movements


Expressionism (1905-1925) is a movement characterized by exaggeration and distortion in order to create an emotional impact.  It did not just affect the visual arts, but it also affected other disciplines such as literature, theatre, cinema and dance.  The aim of the movement in art was to try to visually express subjective emotions and responses experienced by the artist from the events and forms around him.  He does this through the use of manipulating art elements in volatile ways, exaggeration, fantasy, primitivism, and distortion.   The reproduction of the visible world were not the aim of the movement; rather, the artist’s own individuality was of the utmost in important in recreating the true meaning of the things according to HIS sensibilities.  Expressing something intensely was key.  Key artists of the movement include: Max Beckmann, Otto Dix, Lionel Feininger, George Grosz, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, August Macke, andinsky, Emil Nolde, Max Pechstein, Oskar Kokoschka, Alfred Kubin, and Edvard Munch.


Fauvism Art Styles/Movements



Fauvism was the fore-runner of the avant-garde movements that sprung up in Europe during the 20th century.  Unnatural, bright, often unusual combinations were put together in this movement’s artwork.  The underlying current of the movement was expressionistic.  Distorted landscapes filled with color was typical.  The name “Fauvism” was coined when a critic was commenting on a sculpture located in the same space of the group’s first exhibition.  The critic’s disdainful comment of, “Donatello among the wild beasts!” caught on and was gladly accepted by the Fauvist artists.  Key artists in the movement include Rouault, Derain, Vlaminck, Braque, Dufy and Matisse. 

Fluxus Art Styles/Movements



Begun in New York in the 1960s which eventually expanded into Japan and Europe, Fluxus included a fusion of several past movements, including Bauhaus, Zen, and Dada.  Expansive gestural marks founded upon artistic notions coupled with burlesque characterized the movement.  The most well-known artist of the movement is Yoko Ono.  However, the movement is not just a stylistic way of doing art, but a sensibility – an attitude to creating art.  Often the artists that align themselves with the movement seek to alter social, political, and aesthetic ideas of how things should or could be done.  Other key artists of the movement include: Joseph Beuys, Robert Filliou and Dick Higgins.

Futurism Art Styles/Movements



An avant-garde art movement in Italy that was inspired by technology, modernity and speed.  The machine age and war was celebrated, and so was Fascism.  Unlike most other art movements, Futurism was different in that it was a self-invented period.  Artists of the movement sought to create an understanding of a person’s memories and what one actually sees.  The way in which futurist artists represented the world impacted several future art movements such as Russian Constructivism and Cubism, as well as famous artists such as Marcel Duchamp and Robert Delaunay.  Examples of futurist artists include: Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, Giacomo Balla, Umberto Boccioni, Carlo Carrà, and Gino Severini.


Gothic Art Styles/Movements


A style of artwork that emerged between the 12th-16th century in Europe.  The term refers to paintings and sculpture that contained a naturalistic style.  However, predominately the term “Gothic” is known as an art movement that influenced the architectural style of the day.  Intricate ornamentation, such as pointed archways and complex rib vaulting, characterize the Gothic style.  The movement started in France and spread through Europe.  It replaced the Romanesque architecture style before it because it allowed for stained glass windows rather than traditional mosaic decorations; moreover, it also permitted thinner walls to be built – as opposed to the thick ones in the Romanesque style.  Examples of Gothic architecture include Amiens, Reims and Chartres.

Harlem Renaissance Art Styles/Movements


Begun as a number of literary conversations in Manhattan, this African-American cultural movement eventually became known as the Harlem Renaissance which involved a high level of creativity among African-Americans.  The essence of the movement was about celebrating the culture of African-Americans and seeking to express it in a new way.  Alain LeRoy Locke, a sociologist, wrote a book entitled, “The New Negro” that had a big influence in encouraging many of the new immigrants moving into northern cities to take pride in their heritage and to express it.  Other key men that heavily influenced the movement include the editor W.E.B. Du Bois (editor of The Crisis Magazine) and Marcus Garvey (founder of the Universal Negro Improvement Association). 

Hellenic art Art Styles/Movements


Hellenic art refers to artwork made in places influenced by Greece and in Greece itself from around 1100 BC - 100 BC.  Six stylistic stages make up Hellenic art including: 1) the Protogeometric period from 1100 - 900 BC, 2) the Geometric period 900 - 700 BC, 3) the Orientalizing period from 700 - 600 BC, 4) the Archaic period from 600 - 500 BC, 5) the Classical period from 500 - 323 BC and 6) the Hellenistic period from 323 - 100 BC.  Rome gradually took in Hellenic art and made its own version of it during the 2nd and 1st centuries BC due to Roman political influence. 

Hellenistic period Art Styles/Movements


The Hellenistic period was the last stage of Hellenic art (Alexandrian art) and is generally thought to have started with the end of Alexander the Great's reign.  Because of Alexander's triumphs, the Hellenic art created during this time (323 - 100BC) was made vastly beyond the edges of Greece.  And as a result, it contained cosmopolitan influences.  The ideas of perfect beauty and the harmony attached to it was replaced with an individuality and an energy often resulting in the melodramatic.  Artworks of people who were old and in pain, as well as young people full of life and vitality, were created.  Also, what newly emerged was that the varying and deep emotions experienced in people's mental states were captured visually.  The dignified poses usually applied to the gods were now applied to portraying influential rulers.  Figure compositions began to include landscapes, architectural designs and draperies.  Huge sculptures were created, as well as small statuettes of the ordinary that were both relatable and more closely resembled real life than the bigger pieces.




Hudson River School Art Styles/Movements


(1825-1875 )The Hudson River School refers to a group of American landscape painters that formed together in the years 1825 to 1875.  The group was full of patriotic spirit – a trait that gave them a boost in popularity among people of their time.  The paintings of the artists were themed around the aesthetic qualities of their homeland.  The main promoters of the group included Thomas Cole, Thomas Doughty and Asher B Durand.


Impressionism Art Styles/Movements



A turning point was made in European painting during the mid 1800s when a group titled the “Impressionists” started to use new scientific information regarding the physics of color in their paintings.  They paintings they created were completed by filling canvases with small touches of color that mirrored the impressions of light and color the artists saw outdoors.  The focus of the painting method was to stress an individual’s way of SEEING the subject matter.  The fleeting moment of seeing the subject matter  - its essence – was essential.  Most of the Impressionist paintings were full of color – tiny details were often not included. Examples of some of the Impressionist painters include: Pierre Auguste Renoir , Edouard Manet, Camille Pissaro, Edgar Degas, Alfred Sisley, Claude Monet and Berthe Morisot. Each artist of the group chose their own subject matter based on their preferences.  Degas, for example, chose to focus on horse races and ballet dancers.  Monet chose to focus on gentle changes seen in the atmosphere.  The movement sparked other smaller art movements, including: Pointillism, Art Nouveau and Fauvism.  Pointillism emerged from the idea of using small dots of color which then merged together the further the eye stood from the painting.  Seurat was one of the major forerunners of the movement.  Other artists associated with movements inside Impressionism include:, Paul Gauguin, Henri Matisse, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Paul Signac, and Camille Pissarro. 

Impressionism continued to influence many artists today in encouraging them to look at subject matter in new ways. 

Indian River School Art Styles/Movements


In the 1950s and early 1960s artists grouped together to create dramatic and power-filled images portraying scenes in Florida.  A major influence on the group was A.E. “Beanie” Backus, a Florida naturalist.  The group used materials such as masonite, upson board, canvas board and canvas to create their work.  Rather than going through the traditional route of galleries, the artists sold the work themselves along highways for a number of years. 


Mannerism Art Styles/Movements


An art movement begun in 1520 and ending around the 1600s.  The movement sprang up as a result of the solving of representational problems that artists had puzzled over for centuries.  During the Early Renaissance and High Renaissance artists observed from nature in order to create their characteristic styles.  As knowledge was learned to solve certain representational issues, artists were able to focus more on style than on nature to guide their particular tastes in artwork.  The result was a “manner.”  In the Mannerist paintings, several rules went out the window.  For example, artists allowed spaces in their work to be ambiguous, there did not need to exist a focal point, and figures were often manipulated through such things as distortions or unnatural twisting of the limbs to suit the taste of the artist.  Filled with allegories and colors that clash with one another, Mannerist paintings did not seek to bring serenity to the viewers, but rather a feeling of restlessness.  Key Mannerist artists include:  Andrea del Sarto, Jacopo da Pontormo, and Correggio

Medieval Art Art Styles/Movements


A time of artwork that was characterized by iconographic painting illustrations of Biblical scenes.  The work emerged from the early Christian church influence as well as the Roman Empire heritage.  The combination of the two lent a kind of “Barbarian” artistic culture in Northern Europe because it combined with Christian and pagan art. 

Early Christian artists of the period took ideas from Roman carvings, metalwork, mosaics and paintings. Much of their work is classified as being completed around 200-500, at which time the Byzantine style started to grow rapidly.  

Byzantine art is often considered to be the best artwork developed in the Middle Ages because of its craftsmanship and the quality of materials used.  Much of the artwork was destroyed, including many of the fine mosaics and frecos that decorated the doomed churches of the day. 

Celtic art in the Middle Ages developed among the people of Britain and Ireland from around the 5th-12th centuries.  In the 7th and 8th centuries, there grew a combining of the Anglo-Saxons and Germanic traditions, which in turn created a style of artwork known as “Hiberno-Saxon” (Insular art).

From 300-900 there existed what is known as the Migration Period in the Middle Ages.  During this time art made from Eastern-European and Germanic peoples emerged.  Several different styles of artwork were then visible, including the Polychrome style, Animal style and Christian artwork.

From 800 to the 11th century, there began Pre-Romanesque art that started when Charlemagne was crowned king.  The classical influences of Roman art impacted the artists of this time resulting in Carolingian art – which in turn brought about Gothic and Romanesque art. 

Romanesque art is characterized by sturdy buildings with thick walls and rounded arches and windows.  The ideas for the structural characteristics were taken from ancient Rome, which is why the art period is called “Romanesque” today.

Gothic art first came about with Gothic architecture in 1140 – a divergent from Romanesque architecture.  When the Abbey Church of S. Denis was being renovated in 1144, Gothic sculpture was born.  The style grew in Europe and started to replace the Romanesque style.  Eventually, Gothic art was mixed into Renaissance art, at which time painting on panels and in fresco became significant in the arts, as well as prints. 

Also happening during the Middle Ages were developments in Islamic art.  Illustrated manuscripts, textiles, ceramics, metalwork and glass were all forms of Islamic arts being developed.  Muslim artists in the Near East, Islamic Spain, and Northern Africa worked in the early formative stage of the period from 600-900 and then diverged in a variety of styles starting in 900 depending on the region in which the artist worked. 


minimal art Art Styles/Movements


Also known as primary structure and ABC art, minimal art stems from a movement in the 1960's in which 3D structures of basic forms and flat colors are made, indicating the planes, lines and forms of geometry.  The artistic flair and interpretation usually linked with creativity are put aside to such a degree that the artist is often able to have an artwork created by a method of craftmanship.  Tinsmithing and cabinetmaking are examples of this type of art.  In essence, the artist is viewed as the originator, overseer and designer of the piece.  The primarily impetus of this movement has been the increase of standard design classes in art schools in which simple geometric shapes are analyzed indepthly in regards to their use in industrial design as well as for their own sake.  Los Angeles and New York have been the main hub of activity for this movement.   

Minimalism Art Styles/Movements


Minimalism refers to an art period between the 1950s-1970s that involved sculpture and paintings that focused on simplicity in both form and content.  Individual expression was thrown out the window and instead artists focused on creating dramatic and intense experiences for their viewers as a result of the simplicity inherent in the objects.  However, although Minimalism emerged around this time, it actually can be seen in effect in the 1700s when the, “Altar of Good Fortune” was created out of a cube and stone sphere by Goethe.  In addition, other artists in the 1920s also created some artworks following the Minimalist theme.  However, it was not until later the Minimalism came full-blown into the art world by artists such as Dan Flavin, Carl Andre, Ellsworth Kelly and Donald Judd.  They were upset with Abstract Expressionism that included cold stark canvases, sculptures and installations.  Minimalism has several cousin art movements, including Pop Art, Land Art and Conceptual Art.  Conceptual Art tries to communicate a theory, Land Art focuses on simple shapes, and Pop Art tries to communicate the message of the impersonal.  It was a popular art period and continues to impact artists today in the development of their ideas.  Key artists of the movement include Frank Stella and Ellsworth Kelly.

Modernism Art Styles/Movements


(1890-1940) Modernism is an art movement that left tradition behind and instead utilized creative modes of expression that were different from the styles of the times from which it began.  Interest grew in experimenting with new kinds of materials such as paint, and letting one’s ideas and feelings flow out into a visual reality.  Portraying what was real was not important, as a result, audiences needed to pay extra attention to what they were looking at in order to understand the artist’s message.  Key artists of the movement include Paul Cezanne and Edouard Manet. 


Nabis Art Styles/Movements


(1888-1899)  The art movement called Nabis was formed from a group of Paris artists.  The group included Post-Impressionist illustrators and artists that played a big part in influencing the development of graphic art.  The leader of the group was Paul Seriusier; he and the others were devoted to the work of  Paul Gaughin and its color technique.  They stressed putting a focus on design along with another art movement of the time called Art Nouveau.  Key artists of Nabis included: Maurice Denis, Ker Xavier Roussel, Félix Vallotton, Pierre Bonnard, and Édouard Vuillard.

Neo Expressionism Art Styles/Movements


An art movement that filled the art galleries in the 1970s and 1980s in both the USA and Europe.  The term Neo Expressionism refers to a group of varied artists who decided to start painting objects and the figure in a more recognizable way than was the current norm at the time.  The movement was a reaction against the stark, abstract intellectualized art made in the 1970s.  Thick impasto and the stress on big heavy forms that related to historical narrative regarding allegory, myth and symbolism marked the artwork. The movement was propelled along by advertising methods, marketing techniques and galleries seeking to promote the artwork.  Underlying all the artwork was an indifferent, sometimes cold emotional tone that reflected the values of the day, as well as to the actual representation of how objects appeared.  The artists used a unique approach to their presentation of objects; the objects communicated a sense of loneliness, indifference and tension.  The traditional way of composing a picture was thus put away, and they artists chose not to use rich or vivid color harmonies.  Key artists of the period included: Julian Schnabel and David Salle from the USA, Sandro Chia and Francesco Clemente from Italy, and Anselm Kiefer and Georg Baselitz from Germany. Because of its commercialized side and the encouragement of the public to purchase the art, as well as the actual questionable quality of the work, Neo-Expressionism proved to be rather controversial as people strove to understand how to embrace or react against the message and implications it brought. 

Neoclassical Art Styles/Movements


(1750-1880) A French art movement that began as a reaction against the Baroque style filled with emotions and feelings, and the Rococo style that was rather stuffy and overbred.  Its aim was to raise again the ideals of Roman and Greek art that included unemotional and often severe forms.  The classic forms from the Roman and Greek era were used to share the artists’ ideas about things such as patriotism, sacrifice, and bravery.  Examples of Neo-Classical artists include: Jacques-Louis David, Sir Henry Raeburn, Sir Joshua Reynolds, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, Thomas Gainsborough, Antonio Canova and Arnold Bocklin.  The art movement Romanticism acted as a counter-balanced to this movement and both styles had a big influence on artists of the time and thereafter.


Optical Art Art Styles/Movements


Optical Art is a term referring to sculptures or paintings that appear to almost vibrate because of their optical effect.  Using patterns and colors, artists of the movement were able to create visual effects that disoriented its viewers.  Key painters in the movement include Bridget Riley and Victor Vasarely. Two sculptors who used illusion of distortion to disorient viewers were Eric Olsen and Francisco Sobrino. The artists used what they knew about perceptive psychology to create their idealized versions of their intended results.  Other cousin art movements related to Optical Art include the Constructivist Art and Kinetic movements.  As it developed, Optical Art gained favor with the public; however critics were more skeptical of its operation in the art world.  One famous exhibit from the Optical Art movement was “The Responsive Eye” exhibit shown in the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1965.  As a result of the exhibit, fashion designers and trendy street stores started to incorporate the style in their products.  Soon after, the term became a household name. 

Pop Art Art Styles/Movements


Pop Art was characterized with a focus on popular culture that expanded upon the prosperity of the post-war society in the 1950s and 1960s.  The movement started in the USA but also expanded to England.  The movement used subject matter such as comic strips, soda bottles, and soup cans and turned them into icons of the day.  The movement was actually a child of Dadaism; it sarcastically made fun of the art world through its use of urban images, products from grocery stores, and the mass media.  Pop Art was about communicating how these objects are themselves works of art.  Anything seemed game to include in a Pop artist’s artwork.  Andy Warhol brought the movement to the forefront when he made screen prints of the highly recognizable Coke bottle, Campbell soup tin, and famous Hollywood stars.  By taking the techniques and methods of the commercial world, Warhol was able to make artwork that appeared machine-made and sleek.  Unlike their introverted painting counterparts, Pop artists were extroverted in their sharing of their images with the public.  The movement was immensely successful and played a big influence on artists and the public.  Other key artists beside Warhol include Claes Oldenburg, Roy Lichtenstein, Roy Hamilton, Jasper Johns, and Robert Rauschenberg.

Post-Impressionism Art Styles/Movements


(1880-1920) Post Impressionism refers to an extension of Impressionism that embraced not limiting itself to just the style characterized by Impressionism.  Roger Fry coined the term for artists that included among others Georges Seurat, Paul Gauguin, Vincent van Gogh, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, and Paul Cézanne.  With the exception of Van Gogh, they were French artists who had participated in Impressionism but gradually had moved into their own unique style of creating artwork.  Each expressed theirselves differently, but they all stayed true to using the pure, bright colors and short brushstrokes of Impressionism.  Post-Impressionism played a significant role in much of the artwork created in the early 1900s and beyond.  Most Post-Impressionists would exhibit at the same time, however each tended to paint by himself.  It was Van Gogh and Gauguin that sought to fill their artwork with their own spiritual and individual creativity.  Gauguin eventually rejected naturalism in favor of what he saw as a more truer aesthetic in art which involved a thick outline and flat color in his paintings.  He painted Tahitians using harmonious, often unusual, color combinations.  Van Gogh is credited with sincerely using his art to convey his passionate emotions.  He started out using the short brushstrokes of the Impressionists, but eventually turned to wavy, alive lines of color that were distorted.  His paintings were filled with brilliant color and heavy paint.  Not long after Post-Impressionism, Fauvism and Cubism came into play which used Post-Impressionistic ideas of creating intense emotions through the use of color and manipulation of line.  Other key Post-Impressionist painters include Auguste Rodin and
Amedeo Modigliani.

Postmodernism Art Styles/Movements


Postmodernism refers to a wide spectrum of progressions in the fields of philosophy, architecture, art, literature, and culture, and critical theory that grew in relation to modernism.  Postmodernists were disillusioned with the repercussions of WWII.  They stayed away from anything that might lend itself to containing a focused hierarchy or organization element.  Rather, they attached themselves to the idea of being contradictory, diverse, being unified, and being complex in the extreme.  Many significant changes were happening socially, culturally and economically in the 1960s.  Postmodernism in art stemmed from these changes.  In fact, the term was first officially used in 1949 to explain the discontent felt in the architecture of the times, which in turn led to the postmodern architecture movement.  The movement then spread to other movements – including art. In relation to art, Postmodernism is an encompassing term that refers to a range of cultural attitudes that embrace the idea of approaching art in a more spontaneous, more populist way.  It covers a wide spectrum of art and artists.  More than anything, it is more like an attitude and approach to creativity rather than a specific manner or style of artwork.  Examples of well-known Post Modernist artists include: Jasper Johns,Frank Stella, Donald Judd, Bridget Riley, and Joseph Beuys.

Pre-Raphaelites Art Styles/Movements



An art movement begun by Holman Hunt and John Everett Millais.  They formed a group of artists that desired to emulate painting styles used before the time of Raphael.  The initial group of Pre-Raphaelites included: Rossetti, his brother William, James Collinson, Thomas Woolner, Hunt and Millais.  The members focused on studying medieval scenes and using powerful symbolism in their work in the desire to inspire others to thoughts of nobleness.  At first critics thought that by the name the group was insinuating that they were better artists than Raphael.  However, critic John Ruskin saw in their ideas a good thing which helped the group to succeed.  The group eventually broke up when Millais' 'Ophelia' (1850-1851) was exhibited with great success at the Academy Exhibition.

Another Brotherhood was created that was founded in Oxford.  The group, made up of Rossetti, William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones, created paintings filled with ethereal beautiful women.  Millais and Hunt went off in their own individual directions, though they continued the practice of following the ideas of the first group.  Other artists caught onto the ideas of the Pre-Raphaelites such as Maxwell Armfield and Frank Cadogan Cowper.  Eventually movement fizzled out and other art styles replaced it around the 1920s. 

primary structure Art Styles/Movements


Also known as minimal art or ABC art, primary structure art stems from a movement in the 1960's in which 3D structures of basic forms and flat colors are made, indicating the planes, lines and forms of geometry.  The artistic flair and interpretation usually linked with creativity are put aside to such a degree that the artist is often able to have an artwork created by a method of craftmanship.  Tinsmithing and cabinetmaking are examples of this type of art.  In essence, the artist is viewed as the originator, overseer and designer of the piece.  The primarily impetus of this movement has been the increase of standard design classes in art schools in which simple geometric shapes are analyzed indepthly in regards to their use in industrial design as well as for their own sake.  Los Angeles and New York have been the main hub of activity for this movement.   

Realism Art Styles/Movements


(1830-1870) An art movement also referred to as the Realist school.  In the movement artists removed themselves from the dramatic Romanticism going on at the time, as well as the Neoclassicism that was full of formulas to follow.  Instead, the artists decided to make their paintings be full of common everyday scenes in the way they looked like in real life.  Often times the paintings included some type of message, whether it be a moral message of a social or political message.  The artists often used even ugly objects to get their points across.  Key artists of the movement include Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Gustave Courbet, J A MacNeil Whistler, John Singer Sargeant, Jean-Francois Millet, and Honore Daumier.


Renaissance Art Styles/Movements


The Renaissance is an art movement that emerged in Italy in the 1300s.  The term means, “rebirth” and relates to the development of interest in the past Classical feats in the arts.  The Renaissance was a time period that marked the moving away from the Middle Ages focus on religious artworks to focus on the state of the significance of mankind in society.  The creativity of the individual came into the forefront and experiences became main themes through the period’s artwork. As political stability grew in Italy, as well as the economy and thus cosmopolitanism, several changes took effect.  Education started to flourish, which encouraged the proliferation of libraries and academies.  As the economy grew, so did the arts.  Affluent persons became patrons of artists, such as the Medici family of Florence, Pope Julius II, Pope Leo X, and the Sforza family of Milan.  Interest grew in relation to the intellectual values of the Classical world.

One significant artist of this time period was Leonardo da Vinci.  He is often viewed as the archetypal figure in regard to the progressions made in literature, science and art made during the Renaissance.   Several of the famous artists of the Renaissance came from Florence; the city continued to be a significant location for the developments made during the period well into the 1500s.  The ideas of the Renaissance spread into Europe and began to affect some of the ideas in those countries.  One artist who was very much influenced by the period was Albrecht Durer from Germany.  He was a fine draftsman and became one of the many artists of the “Northern Renaissance.”  Over time, the art movement of Mannerism replaced the Renaissance; this movement had greater impact on influencing the style of the arts in the other European countries.  Important artists of the Renaissance include: Leonardo da Vinci
Sandro Botticelli, Raphael, Titian and Michelangelo Buonarroti. 



Rococo Art Styles/Movements


An art movement begun in the 1700s in France.  During this time period, the middle-class was becoming more affluent and influential.  When Louis XIV died, the wealthy families in Paris began to take a great amount of interest in style.  The particular style that developed was called Rococo, and was mostly used for interior decorating.  The term Rococo is from the French word “rocaille” that translated means pebbles.  It is a term that relates to the shells and stones used to embellish the interior of caves.  Shells, therefore, soon became the main motif in the new style.  High class women tried to outdo each other to decorate their houses with the most intricate decorations for their homes.  The style, therefore, mainly catered to women’s tastes and preferences.

One of the artists who rose up during the period was Francois Boucher.  He was a lace designer, painter and engraver.  He became popular for his feminine landscapes and mythological paintings.  Some of his clients included the Queen of France and the influential Mme. de Pompadour, Louis XV's mistress.  It was Boucher’s style of work that came to dictate the ideal style shown in Louis XV’s court.  Gentle hues and pleasant forms characterize his light subject matter of goddesses, cupics, and shepherds.  The Rococo period is often viewed as the last chapter in the Baroque period.  Besides Boucher, other important artists of the Rococo era were William Hogarth, Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, Angelica Kauffmann, and Giovanni Antonio Canaletto.

Romanticism Art Styles/Movements


(1800-1850) Romanticism represented a shift of focus away from classical forms, and placed the stress on spiritual and emotional themes. movement first started in England and Germany in the 1770’s and gradually spread around Europe and the United States in the early 1800s.  The movement originated as a reaction against Neoclassicism due to changes happening around the French Revolution and Napoleonic time period.  Rather than focus on the Neoclassicism scheme of things such as idealization, logic, balance, and harmony, Romanticism chose to stress things such as one’s emotions, imaginative ideas and freedom.  Being unstructured and not being hampered by any set rules were key ideas in the movement.  Nature and a dedication to studying how people think and feel were important.  An underlying theme throughout the movement was taking into consideration a person’s inner struggles and thoughts.  Subject matter and ideas involved the medieval era, folk cultures, occult practices, the mysterious and the exotic.  Traditional values were rejected if they hindered a person’s ability to express his individuality and emotions.  Rigorous academic training were not deemed as important as an artist’s individual creativity and personal spiritual awakening.  The ideas in the movement that involved creating intentional associations in people’s minds when viewing a painting would prove to be very influential as Symbolism, Surrealism, and Expressionism developed in the years to come. 

A few key Romanticist artists include: George Stubbs, William Blake, John Martin, Francisco Goya, Sir Thomas Lawrence, John Constable, Eugene Delacroix, Sir Edwin landseer, Caspar David Friedric, and JMW Turner.


Situationism Art Styles/Movements


Artists impacted by the 20th century avant-gardes, Lettrism,  Surrealism, Dada, Marxism ideas formed a small group that came to be known as the art movement Situationism.  The  “suppression of art” was the prime focus of the Lettrist International group.  They, like the Surrealists and Dadaists, wished to fuse together culture and art together, and have them be united in people’s everyday lives. The Situationist International was created in 1957 and spread its ideas throughout Europe into the 1960s.  The group was interested in change – both political and social.  Eventually, the group segmented into three groups, including the Antinational, the Situationist Bauhaus, and the Second Situationist International.  Asger Jorn and Guy Debord were important developers of the movement.  They and others worked to make culture and the totality of a person living in the capitalist system to see art as part of their daily living.  Kronstadt, the Makhnovists, and Spain were major influences of the group.  As the group developed, they made claims that they were not interested in a leadership system or followers of the group; however, in practice, any dissenting minorities were expelled from the group and they were careful about who was allowed to join the group.  In 1972 the first Situationist International fell apart.


Surrealism Art Styles/Movements


(1920s-1930s)  Surrealism was both a art and literary movement that stressed the significance of letting one’s imagination rule through the use of the sub-conscious without the hindrances of logic and normal standards.  The anti-rationalist characteristic that stemmed from the Dadaist movement was a part of Surrealism.  However, Surrealism involved more playful and spontaneous in spirit.  Ways of thinking about how a viewer perceives the world around himself helped to shape the movement.  The movement was begun in 1924 in the city Paris by Andre Breton, the author of the ‘Manifeste du surrealisme.’  His writings encouraged the expression of one’s imagination through the use of dreams.  His writings attracted many artists of the Dadaist movement.  The Surrealist movement was helped along in its development during the 1920s and 1930s with the famous artist Salvador Dali.  He, along with the other movement’s artists, stressed using the subconscious part of the brain to provide the content for the imagery.  The artists used a realistic style to paint their irrational images.  Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung, men who developed psychoanalytical theories, played a profound influence on the movement’s development.  And techniques such as automatism (free association) assisted the artists to put their theories into play in order to get their sub-conscious to become reality in their paintings and literary works.  Artists who used automatism to help create their work were called Absolute Surrealists.  And artists who focused on making connections amongst material and abstract forms were called Veristic Surrealists.  Their aim was to manipulate objects from reality into their paintings, as opposed to the Absolute Surrealists who tried to create imagery from their own minds.  The Surrealist movement had a big impact on the later movements of Magic Realism and Abstract Expressionism.  Moreover, the movement encouraged the idea of maintaining expressive thought in one’s artwork.  Key artists of the movement include: Marcel Duchamp, Georgia O'Keeffe, Max Ernst, Sir Henry Moore, Rene Magritte, Joan Miro, Salvador Dali, Pablo Picass, Man Ray, Dorothea Tanning, and MC Escher.

The Ashcan School Art Styles/Movements


A number of realist paints from the United States began making artwork that started the Ashcan School.  The catalyst for the movement was Robert Henri.  Henri, along with newspaper illustrators Everett Shinn, William Glackens, and John Sloan, worked together to create was they considered the realities of life as being beautiful and thus true art.  Their artwork featured rough urban life, the poor and the disenfranchised in the United States.  Their style was loose and not like the refined art pushed in American art academies.  Paint was applied thickly and brushstrokes were textured over the canvas. 

As time went on, these artists along with Ernest Lawson, Maurice Prendergast, and Arthur Davies worked to created a self-organized and self-selected exhibit that created history in 1908 because it defied the academies and was seen as a symbol of rebellion against the typical art of the day.  The exhibition acted as a model for the famous exhibit The Armory Show of 1914, because it did not include prizes or a jury.