Entering the world of art can be intimidating, but there’s no shame in being a newbie. Classic art isn’t just for collectors with millions of dollars at their disposal. There’s a lot you can learn from studying different art styles.
Part of studying various types of art is learning about technique. The techniques an artist uses to produce their work is called style. There are countless different styles of art, but we’ll discuss the most recognizable art styles over the centuries. Learning to differentiate between the types of art will help you develop your own taste in art.
So, what are the different styles of art? Here, we put together a list of art styles to inspire your inner Picasso.
3. Art Nouveau
You can identify this art style by its characteristic long, serpentine lines. It’s been used in countless different bodies of design including architecture, jewelry, and interior design. The Metropolitan Museum in New York City was famously built in this style.
Some artists struggle to define contemporary art. Simply put, contemporary art is the art of today. Any art produced from the 1950’s till today may be considered contemporary art. This art style includes but isn’t limited to sculpture, street graffiti art, or interactive art. It can also appear in countless other forms, even t-shirts, and bumper stickers.
Cubism was invented around 1908. It was created by artists Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque. This art style uses shapes to play with perspective and depth. A key point of recognizing Cubism is if you’re able to see different angles of the subject from one viewpoint.
Dadaism was born around 1916, shortly after World War I began. This rebel art style was created in protest of WWI, a war people of that day saw as pointless. The nature of this art style is humorous and absurd. A well-known piece of Dadaist art features a bearded Mona Lisa.
8. Dutch Golden Age
The Dutch Golden age refers to the 17th century period where art, trade, science, and military power flourished in the Netherlands. Painters from this period produced works like Johannes Vermeer’s “Girl with a Pearl Earring”. Most Dutch Golden Age paintings project richness, tension, and movement.
Expressionism art endeavours to incite emotions through its work rather than painting a standard subject. The artist may use elements of abstract art to convey their message. Subjects can sometimes be distorted or exaggerated to achieve the artist’s desired effect.
Fauvism might be defined as taking expressionism one step further through vibrant color. Early Fauvist artists wanted to use color to project emotion onto the canvas. This usage separated color from its traditional realistic role and gave it a new depth.
Futurism began in the early 1900s in Italy as part of a radical movement. Filippo Tommaso Marinetti was an Italian poet who wanted to discard traditional forms of art and declared Futurism the new art style. Futurist artists sought to portray constant, furious movement in their work.
This style is about painting on the spot. Impressionism was notably developed by Claude Monet, among other artists in the 1860s. His “Water Lilies” work is arguably one of the most famous paintings today. Impressionists painted landscapes and people, mostly in an outdoor setting. Small brush strokes can characterize this style, as the artist rushed to capture the moment in the sunlight.
Minimalism has been on-trend for some years now in the fashion world, however, in the art world it’s nothing new. It started in the 1960s, mostly as portrait-like depictions using shapes. The colors started as mostly muted tones but eventually evolved to bright colors and prints. Today, the minimalist trend has expanded to other branches of art including interior design.
Although born from the Impressionist art movement, Neo-Impressionism made its mark by using the original technique. Both styles of work make their efforts to capture the present moment and use natural lighting. But in Neo-Impressionist paintings, the artist placed the paint directly on the canvas in tiny dabs, to be mixed directly on the canvas to bring the desired effect.
Pointillism was developed by George Seurat and Paul Signac as a branch of Impressionism. Unlike Impressionism, Pointillism uses a dot work technique using only repetitive dots with the tip of the brush to convey the image, instead of blunt brush strokes.
21. Pop Art
Pop art might be synonymous with two things: the 1960s and Andy Warhol. Pop art sought to challenge the traditional luxurious art styles by taking mundane items and featuring them front and centre in pieces like Warhol’s “Campbell’s Soup Can” collection. The collection, which features 32 different versions of the soup can, set an auction record in 2006 when it sold for $11.8 million.
Portraiture is an art category all its own. Portraits are the artist’s interpretation of the subject, not necessarily an exact rendering. They can be Abstract, Impressionist, or Pop Art in style. People throughout history depended on portrait artists for a picture of themselves. Some portraits become famous simply because the subjects have a je ne sais quoi quality about them. A famous example would be “The Mona Lisa” by Leonardo Da Vinci.
23. Post Impressionism
Vincent Van Gough, Paul Gauguin, and Paul Cezanne are three painters who revolutionized Post Impressionism. Displeased with the restrictions of the Impressionist art style, they formed a style that allowed for easier, longer brush strokes on their paintings. Van Gough, especially, used this technique in his famous work “Starry Night”.
The Renaissance was flourishing in the 15th century, shining a spotlight on notable artists like Michelangelo, Raphael, and Leonardo Da Vinci. The Renaissance was a time period where life was modernizing and art was no exception. Painting and sculpture were especially popular art forms. The art focused on the human body and nature.
Rococo style art is also known as the late Baroque. After the death of Louis the XIV in 1715, the luxuriously heavy Baroque style took a lighter turn in the form of Rococo. This style showcases the romance of the French aristocracy while projecting lightness and movement.
The Romantic movement began in the 19th century and was categorized by one main thing: showing emotion. Rage, love, fear, and gothic paintings were all part of the romantic movement. The paintings were usually of people, acts of nature, or scenes of wars.
28. Still Life
Still Life is the art style that features perfect renderings of inanimate objects. It is in this style that art students today re-create the familiar “Bowl of Fruit” painting or a bottle of wine with a glass at its side. Still Life began in the 1500s, but more recently this older style has been adapted as a popular tattoo style.
This ancient Japanese art style is defined by its colorful woodblock prints. Directly translated it means “pictures of the floating world”. This style typically depicts Japanese life at leisure. Landscapes, people, and nature are usually the subjects of Ukiyo-e art. “Under the Wave” by Katsushika Hokusai is arguably the most famous piece of Ukiyo-e art, and is even an emoji.
Feeling inspired by these art styles examples? Check out these wall styling tips. These prints will take your walls from bland to beautiful. Let us know what you think of these types of art styles in the comments.