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The game of badminton originated in Siam, China over 2,000 years ago. It was brought to England in
1870 and was played somewhat like tennis. After being played in Canada, badminton arrived in America
and has been popular since 1929. Since 1992, badminton has been an Olympic sport, with bird speeds
reaching 100 m.p.h.

Nature of the Game

Badminton is played as a singles or doubles game with one or two players on a side. The object of the
game is to hit the shuttlecock or “bird” back and forth with a racket across a net five feet high at its
center. The bird should be hit with such speed and accuracy that the opponent is unable to return the
shot successfully. The game can either be fast or slow paced, depending on the skill level of the players.


1. Keep a firm grip on the racket.

2. Be careful not to hit your partner with the racket.

3. Stay in your own court to avoid the possibility of collision with other players.

4. Stop play if other players enter your court.

5. Wait until there is a stop in the action to retrieve a bird from another court.

6. Be aware of the walls and the net posts.

7. Before play, agree on the boundaries and determine the first server.

8. Players call their own lines; replay the point if in doubt.

9. Shake hands after the game/match.


1. Rackets are fragile. Avoid striking the floor, wall, net, posts, or your partner. Also avoid flipping,
throwing, or twirling rackets.

2. Shuttlecocks should be handled by the tips only. Birds caught in the net should be removed carefully.

3. Each student is responsible for reporting any damaged rackets to the instructor.

4. Rackets are returned to the proper slot and birds to the basket at the end of each period.
Game Rules/Scoring


1. Singles – one player on a side.

2. Doubles – two players on a side.

3. Mixed Doubles – one male and one female partner opposing a male and female opponent.2


1. Rally scoring allows for a point to be won by either team regardless of which team is serving.

2. Both singles and doubles games are won with 21 points.

3. The side winning a rally adds a point to their score.

4. At 20 all, the side that gains a 2 point lead first, wins that game.

5. At 29 all, the side scoring the 30th point wins that game.

6. In the third game of singles and doubles, players change sides when a side scores 11 points.

7. A match is won by winning two out of three games.

General Rules/Regulations

1. Serving

a. The server must keep both feet in contact with the floor at the time of the serve.

b. The bird must be contacted below the waist.

c. The racket head must be below the server’s wrist.

d. The server should not serve until the receiver is ready; the opponent is deemed ready if a return is

e. Partners of the server and receiver may stand anywhere on the court providing they do not obstruct
the opponent’s view.

f. A bird that touches the net on the serve and goes into the proper service court is legal.

g. If the server misses the bird on the serve attempt, it still counts. In singles and doubles the serve
would go to the opponent.

2. Serving Order – Singles

a. At the beginning of the game (0-0) and when the server’s score is even, the serve will begin from the
right service court. When the server’s score is odd, the serve will be from the left service court.

b. If the server wins a rally, the server scores a point and will then serve again from the alternate service

c. If the receiver wins a rally, the receiver scores a point and becomes the new server. They serve from
the appropriate service court – left if the score is odd and right if it is even.3

3. Serving Order - Doubles

a. A team will only have one player serve, per “service”.

b. At the beginning of the game and when the score is even (0,2,4,6, etc.) the server serves from the
right service court. When it is odd (1,3,5,7, etc.) the server serves from the left service court.

c. If the serving side wins a rally, the serving side scores a point and the same server serves again from
the alternate service court.

d. If the receiving side wins a rally, the receiving side scores a point. The receiving side becomes the new
serving side.

e. The players do not change their respective service courts until they win a point when their side is

4. The winners of the first game serve first in the next game.

5. Birds falling on the lines are considered good.

6. During a rally, a bird that touches the net and goes over is in play.

7. A fault (violation of rules) occurs if:

a. On the service, any part of the racket head is higher than the server’s wrist and contact is made above
the waist.

b. The service fails to cross the net or go into the proper service court.

c. The feet of the server and receiver are not in the proper courts at time of service.

d. The server hesitates or stops (feint/balk) the service motion or misses the bird.

e. The improper receiver returns the bird on the serve.

f. A bird hit into the net, under the net, against the wall or ceiling is out-of-bounds.

g. A player hits the bird before it crosses the net.

h. The bird touches a player or clothing.

i. The player touches the net while the bird is in play.

j. The bird is hit twice in succession by one/both partners.

k. The bird is held, caught, or carried on the racket when struck.

l. A player obstructs an opponent.

8. Let (a play allowed to be replayed)

a. The bird becomes caught in or on the net after passing over the net.

b. The bird hits the basketball supports or net.

c. The following situations occur before the next serve and if the offending side wins the rally:

1. The correct server serves from the wrong court.

2. The wrong server serves from either the correct/incorrect service court.

3. The correct receiver receives in the wrong court.4

Basic Skills

A. Grip

1. Forehand – with the racket head perpendicular to the floor, shake hands with the grip so the “V”
formed by the thumb and forefinger is on the top of the handle.

2. Backhand – using a forehand grip, rotate the hand slightly so the thumb is along and parallel to the
wide side of the handle.

B. Footwork

1. Move toward the shot with short steps and end with a long stride.

2. In the ready position the racket is held high, the knees are slightly bent, and the body weight is on the
balls of the feet.

C. Strokes

By using the same motion for all shots, the opponent is unable to detect what shot you are going to
make until the bird is actually hit. A good wrist action allows more power and control with much less
effort. A forehand stroke is one from the dominant side; the backhand stroke is from the non-dominant
side. The racket is swung back, the arm is bent with the elbow up, the wrist is cocked, and the body
weight is placed on the back foot. From this position, the stroke is made by throwing the hand at the
point of contact between bird and racket with weight being transferred to the forward foot. If possible,
shots should be made with an overhand stroke.
1. Clear – a shot used to drive your opponent away from the net or forecourt or to slow the game. The
bird should fly above the opponent’s reach and fall within one foot of the baseline.

2. Smash – an attacking shot made at the limit of one’s upward reach and slightly in front of the
shoulder. At the moment of contact, the arm and wrist come down forcibly.

3. Drive – A flat shot kept as low as possible and is second only to the smash as an attacking shot.

4. Drop Shot – any shot that drops immediately after crossing the net. The descent of the bird is
controlled with little follow-through.

5. Net Shot – any shot played as near to the net as possible, controlled by wrist and forearm. The hairpin
shot is an example of a net shot.

D. Serves

1. High and deep (singles) – take a position near and on the proper side of the center line and about
four feet behind the short service line. Drop the bird on the racket side and swing the racket forward.

2. Low and short (doubles) – take a position closer to the front service line. The racket is swung
forward with little follow-through.

3. Drive (flick) – a quick snap of the wrist in the backhand grip with the bird held directly in front of
the body. The bird travels in a direct line at the receiver.5

E. Flight
(left to

A = underhand clear/high single serve. F = hairpin net shot

B = short serve. G = smash

C = underhand drop shot. H = overhead drop hot

D = overhead clear. I = net shot

E = high doubles serve. J = drive

Playing Strategy6

A. Singles – serve long most of the time. Return a high serve with a drop or clear. Build the game plan on
a basis of alternate drop and clear shots, and then use the smash/drive as openings occur. Run your
opponent from the front to back and from side to side of the court.

B. Doubles – make shots, the return of which will leave an opening for your partner to play a winning
shot. Never play a shot that leaves your partner open to smashes. Always make an attacking shot. This
implies that all shots should be hit down. Most serves should be short and low. Attack short serves when

1. Side-by side – each partner is responsible for half of the playing court, net to baseline.

2. Up-and-back – one member plays the front portion of the court, operating from the centerline and
just behind the short service line. The partner plays the rear portion of the court from the centerline and
just in front of the double rear service line.

3. Up/back rotation – combines the two doubles’ strategies, using the sideby-side position for
defense, and up and back formation for attack.6


1. Alley – an extension of the width of the court on both sides to be used in doubles play.

2. Backhand – any stroke made on the side of the body opposite the racket side.

3. Baseline – back boundary line.

4. Bird – the object that flies over the net, officially known as a shuttlecock.

5. Block – placing the racket in front of the bird and letting it rebound into the opponent’s court.

6. Carry – momentarily holding the bird on the racket during the execution of a stroke.

7. Clear – a high shot that falls close to the baseline.

8. Double hit – contacting the bird twice in succession on the same stroke.

9. Doubles – a game of four players, two on each team.

10. Drive – a hard stroke that just clears the net on a horizontal plane.

11. Drop – a shot made that barely clears the net with little speed.
12. Fault – any violation of the rules whose penalty is loss of serve or the point.

13. Forehand – any stroke made on the racket side of the body.

14. Hairpin (net) stroke – shot made from below and very close to the net with the bird just clearing the
net and dropping sharply downward.

15. Home position – the ideal spot for awaiting the opponent’s return.

16. Let – a play allowed to be replayed.

17. Match – best two out of three games.

18. Odd and even courts – in singles, the right half of the court is “even” and the left half of the court is
the “odd.” When the even player is serving from the right the score is even, and odd when serving from
the left.

19. Rally – rapid returns made by players.

20. Ready position – an alert body position enabling quick movement in any direction.

21. Receiver – the player to whom the bird is served.

22. Server – the player who puts the bird in play.

23. Shuttlecock – the feathered/plastic object that is hit back and forth in badminton.

24. Singles – a game involving one player on each end of the court.

25. Sling – an untrue hit, usually because of the bird momentarily resting on the racket.

26. Smash – a powerful overhand stroke that sends the bird downward over the net.

27. Stroke – the action of striking the bird with the racket.

28. Toss/spin – the method of deciding which side will serve first at the beginning of the match.7

Badminton Court7

See activity unit breakdown, fitness grade breakdown, and final grading scale under NC/SC Grading
Policy at the front of the Study Guide.

Technique Description/Skill Tests

Specific skills for activity units are taught on a regular basis. In some units, demonstrated knowledge of
skills may be obtained through some form of skill testing. This testing is not outcome based.8
Badminton Equipment

Badminton Racket and Shuttlecock

Although it wouldn’t hurt to have chic shoes and smart looking attire, you should be looking for function
over aesthetics when it comes to your badminton equipment.

In this article, we cover the four basic equipment and gear required for a game of badminton.

1. Badminton Racket

Badminton rackets can be made from several types of materials. Depending on the material selection,
this can result in different combinations of racket weight, balance points and string tensions. With so
many different combinations, it will take time to decide which is most suited for your playing style.

Instead of making purchases online, pop by a badminton shop. Ask for assistance and select a racket that
you feel comfortable with. Swing the racket around to get a good feel of its overall weight and grip.

Some popular badminton brands are Yonex, ProKennex, Wilson, ProTech and Li-Ning. For more detailed
information you can refer to “How to choose your badminton racket”.

2. Shuttlecock

There are two types of shuttlecocks - plastic and feathered shuttlecocks.

Plastic shuttlecocks are far more durable compared to the feathered types which are commonly used.
However, plastic shuttlecocks are only recommended for beginners who are just starting out. This is
because feathered shuttlecocks are expensive and fray easily especially if the wrong technique is used.
Hence, plastic shuttlecocks are good for beginners to use for training. Plastic shuttlecocks are usually
used by young children who play badminton for recreation.

Plastic shuttlecocks tend to travel shorter distances as they are heavier. Hence, they are good for building
strength as you make the transition to feathered shuttlecocks. Most people will progress to using
feathered shuttlecocks as they are used at all competitive tournaments.

Badminton Shoes

3. Badminton Shoes

Badminton shoes are designed to give you better traction and grip to stop in time to return a shot. They
should also be lightweight have good cushioning to absorb impact when you jump or land.

Regular players will find heel cups useful to prolonging the lifespan of your shoes.

Do not wear jogging shoes as they usually lack grip and traction. You might end up crashing through the
badminton net if you are unable to stop in time to receive a drop shot.
4. Badminton Attire

For casual to non-competitive players, a comfortable pair of shorts and cotton or dri-fit t-shirt is
sufficient. Some players may want to equip themselves with hand grips, wrist bands and ankle guards.

Each of these items serve a purpose and might also add a dash of colour to the entire get-up.

When it comes to badminton equipment, select what is appropriate before turning your attention to

Basic Terms used in Badminton

Alley - side-extension of the court by l½ feet on both sides that is used for doubles play.

Back Alley - Area between the back boundary line and the long service line for doubles.

Backcourt - the back third of the court, in the area of the back boundary lines.

Baseline - Back boundary line at each end of the court, that runs parallel to the net.

Bird or birdie - another name for the shuttlecock

Carry - An illegal tactic, also called a sling or throw, in which the shuttle is caught and held on the racket
and then slung during the execution of a stroke.

Center Line - Line perpendicular to the net that separates the left and right service courts.

Clear - A shot hit deep to the opponent’s back court.

Court - Area of play, as defined by the outer boundary lines.

Drive - A fast and low shot that makes a horizontal flight over the net.

Drop - A shot hit sohly and with finesse to fall rapidly and close to the net on the opponent’s side.

Fault - A violation of the playing rules, either in serving, receiving, or during play (see common faults
listed below).

Flick - A quick wrist and forearm rotation that surprises an opponent by changing an apparently soft shot
into a faster passing one; used primarily on the serve and at the net.

Forecourt - Front third of the court, between the net and the short service line.

Hairpin Net Shot - Shot made from below and very close to the net with the shuttle rising, just clearing
the net, and then dropping sharply down the other side. The shuttle’s flight approximates the shape of a
Halfcourt Shot - A shot hit low and to midcourt, used effectively in doubles against the up-and-back

Kill - Fast, downward shot that cannot be returned; a "putaway."

badminton game

Let - A legitimate cessation of play to allow a rally to be replayed.

Long Service Line - In singles, the back boundary line. In doubles a line 2 l/2 feet inside the back
boundary line. The serve may not go past this line.

Match - A series of games (at U.S. Olympic Festival-’93 it is three out of five), to determine a winner.
Midcourt - The middle third of the court, halfway between the net and the back boundary line.

Net Shot - Shot hit from the forecourt that just clears the net and drops sharply.

Push Shot - Gentle shot played by pushing the shuttle with little wrist motion, usually from net or
midcourt to the opponent’s midcourt.

Racket - Instrument used by playerto hit shuttlecock Weight:About3 ounces. Length: 27 inches. Made of:
Ceramic, graphite, or boron frame; beef-gut string. Cost: $60-$175 (unstrung).

Rally – this occurs when the players hit the bird back and forth several times before one side scores a

Serve or Service – players put the shuttlecock into play for points by “serving” it to opponents, hitting it
over the net into a special part of the court near their opponent

Service Court - Area into which the serve must be delivered. Different for singles and doubles play.

Short Service Line - The line 6 l/2 feet from the net which a serve must reach to be legal.

Shuttlecock - thje name for the object that players hit, made of a ball of cork or rubber with a crown of
feathers in an open conical shape.

Smash – when a shuttle is floated high into the air, a player has time to unleash a powerful overhand
shot straight to the floor of the opposing court

Wood Shot - Shot that results when the base of the shuttle is hit by the frame of the racket. Once illegal,
this shot was ruled acceptable by the International Badminton Federation in 1963.
Who are the officials of badminton?


The officials are the judges responsible to ensure a fair badminton game is being played.They consists of:

Umpire: The ‘main judge’ for the particular badminton game. He/she has the power to overrule any
decisions made by the service judge or line judges. The umpire is the person ensuring that the
badminton game is run smoothly and prevent any players from delaying the game play.

Whenever a player requests to change the shuttle, the umpire will need to approve that the change
could be made.

The umpire also looks out for faults committed around the net area such as whether a player touched
the net when returning the shuttle.

Besides, the umpire is responsible to make a ‘fault’ call when the shuttle touches the player or the
players’ attires except for the badminton racket. In badminton, it will be a fault/foul to a player if the
shuttle touches any part of that player’s body or attire.

Service Judge: The service judge is responsible in making a ‘service fault’ call and to provide shuttles to
the players.

Line Judges: Line judges sit beside the badminton court (right in front of every in/out lines) to determine
whether the shuttle is inside or outside the boundaries of the court.

Their calls are usually very subjective and are often controversial.

How Many Officials are in Badminton and Their Roles

How Many Officials are in Badminton?

There is a total of 10 to 13 officials in a badminton tournament. The variation is on the line judges. The
BWF is recommended to have 10 line judges per court. But some tournaments will only have 8 line

What Are The Officials of Badminton?

They are include of 1 referee, 1 umpire, 1 service judge, and 8 to 10 line judges.

Referee in Badminton

In badminton, the referee is the most senior official. They are having the absolute authority and they are
in charge of all matters which affect play and the players – both on the court and off the court.

The referee is looked after the whole tournament. The umpire, service judge, and line judges are all
needed to report to the referee.
In addition, the referee is also having the authority in approving the practice and matches schedule.

What does the referee do in badminton?

The responsibilities of the referee :

•Ensure the correct implementation of rules and regulations according to international badminton

•Plan and coming out with schedule and order of play.

•Ensure smooth running of the tournament on each day.

•If any issue happens, the referee will liaise with the umpire and line judge officers.

•Doing amendments to the schedule and draw.

•Ensure all equipment used in a tournament is qualified according to BWF standards.

•Ensure the availability of all tournament reports.

You will not see referees carry out their duty on the court. They are more of backend force. Referees will
only show face if there are any special issues happening. If any conflict or issues being raised by the
umpire, the referee will exist and will try out to solve. The decision that makes from the referees are
generally finale.
Level of Referee

There are two levels of the international referee. They are:

•BWF Accredited.

•BWF Certificated – the highest level.

Badminton Referee Training and Assessment

The referee training and development programs are carried out by the Confederation. BWF will conduct
the training seminars and courses to make sure all the participants are having sufficient knowledge of
badminton rules, equipment, players and etc.

All the potential referees are being trained and assessed by the National Badminton Associations.
Referees who complete the training, knowledgable and have a good experience will be further assessed
to become internationally referees who are BWF Accredited or Certificated.

The referee of the competition is having the authority to choose the qualified candidates to join in the
Refereeing team. The retirement age for a badminton referee is at age 65.

If you are interested to be a qualified badminton referee in the United States, you can gather more
information from USA Badminton.


While the referee is taking care of the entire tournament, the umpire is in charge of the badminton court
and all the matches in a tournament.

Umpire is sitting on the tall umpire chair in front of the net. The umpire is responsible for the main
penalty, judging if the receiver is making a foul when a rally is served. Besides, the umpire will also judge
on his side if a shuttle is inside or outside the court.

Badminton umpire qualifications

The levels of umpire can be categorized in 3 – from third grade to first grade.

The third-grade umpire can directly take the exam and get approval from the sports departments of
counties, districts, and universities.

If you are already a third-grade umpire, you can take more badminton umpiring at the city or district
level, because this level of sports authority can approve you to become a second-grade umpire.

To become a first-grade umpire, you must regularly participate in the umpiring work at the provincial,
county or state level. You need to be recognized by the local sports authority in order to have the
opportunity to take the exam and be approved as a first-grade umpire.
National Umpire

To become a national umpire, first, you must have a higher level of knowledge about badminton. Not
only you need to grasp all the rules and regulations, but you also need to understand and use them
freely and correctly.

Secondly, you must understand the rules of drawing in badminton matches and participate in the
drawing process in some competitions.

In addition, every international or national umpire has the responsibility and obligation to train local
level umpires, and you can ask them for help.

Finally, you must not forget to keep in constant contact with the local provinces, municipalities, sports
competitions department, and badminton associations. Often participate in various activities and
assessments organized by them, in order to recommend you to participate in national umpire
assessment at key moments.

3 Levels of Test

Generally, most of the Badminton Association will conduct national-level of umpire examinations every
two years.

At that time, the association will issue documents to the provincial and regional sports committees and
allocate the venues for examination.

The candidates who are recommended by local committees from all over the country will take the exam.
Most of the examinations are includes 3 sessions: written test, oral test, and on-the-spot umpire.

The content of the written test will include regular umpire law, drawing arrangement and English

The oral test is mainly testing the candidates to listen to some conversations. The examiners will observe
their actions, measure the ability of the candidate to express and understand the rules.

The on-the-spot umpire test will test on the level of the candidate. They will get tested on the control
ability, personality, and English speaking level.

For the first-grade umpires who are preparing to apply for national-level umpires, the information that
they can refer to is the Law of Badminton which is approved by BWF and the “Badminton Referee
Handbook” which was published by authorized badminton association from respective country.

What is the umpire’s role in badminton?

•Ensure the enforcement of the badminton rules in competition. Promptly pronounce foul that
committed by the players.
•Ruling on the appeal made by the player before the next serve.

•Ensure that players and spectators are kept informed of the progress of the game.

•Have the right to assign or remove a line judge or service judge after consultation with the referee.

•Arrange for unexecuted duties when technical officers are insufficient.

.•When the technical officer is blocked from sight, perform his duties for players to do a “re-service”.

•Record and report to the referee all matters related to the rules of all the matches.

•Only submit those appeals that related to the badminton rules to the referee. This type of appeal must
be filed before the next serve. If the match is over, it should be filed before the complainant leaves the

•Effectively interact with coaches, players, and other volunteers.

•Be a decision maker and make sure of fair play on every game.

The retirement age for a badminton umpire is at the age of 55.

Service Judge

What is a service judge in badminton?

The service judge is sitting on a low chair in front of the net in the direct opposite position with the

What is the role of the service judge?

There are 2 main responsibilities for service judge. The first one is making a ‘service fault’ call if a player
is foul when doing the serve. The second one is to provide a new shuttle to the player if the player
request for a change of the shuttle.

You may find some tournaments there is no service judge being assigned. If this is the case, then the
umpire will be taking up the role of service judge as well.

Badminton Line Judge Training and Assessment

To become a qualified service judge, you will go through the same training and assessment like those
who want to become an umpire. Therefore, you can refer to the part that is talking about umpire if you
want to know how to become a service judge.

The retirement age for a badminton service judge is at age 55.

Line Judges (Linesmen)

The line judge is placed at each line of badminton court to look after if a shuttle landed is in or out of the
court near the line that you are appointed to look after.

How many line judges are there in badminton?

As mentioned in the beginning, the number of line judges can be different in different matches. Some
tournaments are having 10 line judges while some may have 8.

A midline judge on both sides of the court to determine whether the serve is in the wrong zone.

A baseline judge on both sides to determine whether the shuttle is out of the line and whether the
doubles make a long serve.

Two sideline judges on both sides of the court to determine whether the shuttle is out of the line.

It’s the umpire’s responsibility to ensure he has sufficient line judges on duty during a tournament being

What are the roles and responsibilities of a line judge in badminton?

Requirements for the line judge are:

They should sit on the line being assigned to him. The best position is to face the umpire. The actual
sitting distance between the line judges with the court is about 2.5 to 3.5 meters.

1. When the shuttle is falling outside the boundary, the line judge needs to shout “out” loud and clear to
report the shuttle is landed “outside the boundary”. While the arms need to raise sideways so that the
umpire can see clearly.

2. If the shuttle is landed within the line boundary, the line judges only need to point to the line with
their hand.

3. If the eyesight of the line judge is blocked, they need to use both hands to cover their eyes
immediately to signal the umpire they miss the eye judgment.

Badminton Line Judge Training

There is no course or certification issued by BWF to the training of line judge. Therefore, the path to
becoming a qualified line judge will with different for many countries. Since the position is not as
important as umpire or service judge, thus, most of the requirement for someone to become a line judge
is rather lenient.

In addition, with the implementation of “Hawk Eye”, it helps to share the jobs with the line judges.

About “Hawk Eye”

It used to be the line judges will have the final judge if a shuttle is landed inside or outside of the line in a
badminton match. However, it is difficult to ensure 100% accuracy by the line judge’s eye, which leads to
many controversies.

Because of this, it is finally resolved with the introduced of “Hawk Eye”.

The technical principle is not complicated and it is very precise. The system consists of 8 or 10 high-
speed cameras, four computers, and a large screen.

The official name of “Hawk Eye” is “Instant Replay System”, which is first used in tennis. The system
consists of 10 cameras that track the flying tennis ball and feedback information to the computer that is
connected to it, which then calculates the simulated trajectory.

When a player has objected to the umpire’s decision and applies for playback, the computer-simulated
trajectory will be displayed on both the TV and the large screen.

From data collection to results demonstration, the “Hawk Eye” takes no more than 10 seconds and the
error is guaranteed to be less than 1%.

Once you are qualified to be a line judge, you will not need any additional training. The line judge can
accumulate their judging skill and experience by taking part in more jobs in more important

There is no retirement age for line judges. As long as your health and your eyes are in good condition,
you can get the position.

What Do The Officials Wear In Badminton?

The uniforms of badminton officials need to be well distinguished with the players. Also, their shit colors
cannot be too bright in accordance with the rules of badminton. To make it have clear differences,
badminton officials are wearing a single color polo shirt with black pants.

Linesmen or service judges are not the limelight for the sport, thus they are allowed to wear less formal
attire. However, they still need to put a decent uniform on for a competition to be presentable.

Now, it is very common for the officials wearing sponsored badminton uniforms

5 Basic Badminton Skills Every Beginner Needs to Learn

Badminton is a beginner-friendly sport as anyone can start out and try to play the game. Usually,
beginners are only focused on trying to make sure that whenever they hit the shuttle, it goes over the
net and within the bounds of the court. But even for beginners, learning these basic badminton skills can
help increase both competitiveness and also the fun in playing.
1. The Ready Stance

Always having the right stance when playing makes it a lot easier to minimize the movements you need
to make to hit a shot. The ready stance done by putting your non-racquet leg a step forward and about
shoulder width away from your racquet leg. Slightly bend both knees with your weight balanced
between both legs. Slightly bend forward from the hip, keeping your back straight, and lift your racquet
up with your racquet-hand in front of you slightly above your shoulder and the head of the racquet to be
right above your forehead. Raise your non-racquet arm to help improve your balance.

2. Forehand and Backhand Grip

Having the right grip is crucial in helping new players control their shots better and protects from
possible injury from putting too much pressure on the wrist. The simplest way to grip your badminton
racquet is by imitating a handshake. Your thumb should press against the handle while the rest of your
hand and four fingers wrap around the racquet. This handshake should be a friendly one. Don’t grip too
tightly because you need to retain flexibility in your wrist. It is recommended that you opt to put a wrap
around your grip to make it more comfortable and less slippery.

This grip applies to both forehand and backhand grips used for both forehand and backhand shots. The
variations lie in that for the forehand grip, it’s better to fold your thumb a bit and let your index finger
control the racquet on the stroke, while for the backhand grip, the thumb pressing against the racquet
will control the stroke. Having a loose grip and being able to quickly switch between grips is an advanced
skill that allows pros to shift from forehand to backhand easily.

3. Footwork

Footwork is basic badminton skill that a lot of new players often overlook. But having the right footwork
makes the game so much easier as it allows you to cover more ground around the court while using less
time and energy. Lateral steps are the best way to move around the badminton court as it allows you to
cover a lot of ground and change direction fast, while putting less strain on your knees. By practicing the
right footwork, you’ll feel that it is easier to recover to hit shuttles that are flying towards the other side
of the court. Some basic drills to improve your lateral movement can be very effective in helping train
yourself to move around the court better.
4. Strokes

There are 4 basic strokes that every beginner needs to learn. By knowing these, beginners can create
good badminton stroke habits, which they can use in the future for more advanced shots like drops,
smashes and drives. These are:

Overhead Forehand – this is the most common stroke and most beginners are very more comfortable
using this especially for stronger strokes. Make sure to have a forehand grip, lift your racket arm up with
the racket slightly above your head, and tilt your body to the side of your racket arm with your racket
arm behind you. Widen your chest and use your non-racket hand to point at the shuttlecock to aim.
Straighten out your racket arm then swing it towards the shuttle in a downward motion while slightly
rotating your waist towards the front. Swing the racket until it’s pointing slightly downwards.

Overhead Backhand- the overhead backhand is slightly more difficult for beginners as you’ll have to face
your body backward to use this effectively. This is a slightly advanced shot that is hard to master at first
but doing so will set good foundations to how you play badminton. To start, turn your body to the back
in the direction of your non-racket arm, with your racket arm raised in front of you and pointing towards
the back. Keep your racket-arm close to your body, bent such that your elbow is pointing down. As the
shuttle approaches above your head level, slightly tilt your arm downward to gain momentum then
swing up and flick your wrist upward until the racket is pointing up and your arm is straightened out.
Remember to immediately go back to your ready stance once you’ve hit the shot.

Underarm Forehand– the underarm forehand allows you to hit low shots with a lot of strength, but it is
quite challenging to aim at first. To do this, from your ready stance, lunge forward with your racket-leg
and keep your racket arm slightly bent with the top of the racket’s head slightly below shoulder level.
Straighten your arm out to make the racket tilt backwards then flick your wrist, followed by your arm, to
swing forward when hitting the shuttle. Bend your body forward slightly to keep your balance.

Underarm Backhand– the underarm backhand is actually easier to do than the overhead counterpart
since you won’t need to turn backwards. Lunging towards your backhand area, Bend your racket arm
downward with the racket handle parallel to the floor and the racket head parallel to your body. Flick
your wrist upward, followed by your arm until your arm is extended straight and aligned with your

5. Underarm Backhand Serve

The underarm backhand serve is the most basic badminton serve that you can practice as a beginner
because it gives you easier control in terms of how strong you’ll hit the shuttle and where you will make

the shuttle go in terms of height or placement on the court. By learning how to utilize this serve, you can
already start to strategize where you place your serve depending on your opponent. To start, have a
ready stance with your backhand leg slightly forward with both feet pointing forward. Lift your racket up
to so it is parallel to the floor, with the head parallel to the net and aligned with your shoulder. Using
your non-racket hand, hold the shuttle cock by the feather about 5-6 inches in front of the center of the
racket’s face. Bend the wrist of your racket hand downward to generate momentum and flick upwards
with varying strength depending on how far or how high you want the shuttle cock to travel. Try to play
around with how strong you hit the shuttle and how high you follow through. Try to aim for different
spots in the court with this serve and you’ll immediately have the upper hand against your opponents.
A powerful racquet

This is the most basic component required by a badminton player. One has to have a powerful racquet
for the game of Badminton if planning to take it to a professional level. In fact, one has to follow certain
specifications laid by the BWF. This is the body that has the authority of regulating the codified laws of
badminton. As per these laws, the length pf the string can’t be more than 27.94 cm and the width can’t
be more than 20.9 cm. The length of the badminton can’t exceed more than 68 cm and 23 cm in length
and width respectively. Choose the best frames for a powerful smash. Ensure the grip is the suitable one
for you. There are four grip sizes available viz. G2, G3, G4, and G5. You can check out top 15 badminton
rackets review.


badminton racquet that comes is the shuttlecock without which a game can’t be played.If it is a
feathered one, there will be 16 feathers affixed to a cork which is then given a cover of leather. The
weight of the shuttlecock shouldn’t exceed 5.50 grams the minimum being 4.74 grams.

Depending on your specialty of smashing or answering a shot, choose the cock from a range of feathered
and synthetic. You will know your favorite as the time passes by and you have tried each of the variants.

Court shoes

Badminton players need to move about a lot.

This moving around does pressurize the forefeet which can be painful while you are relaxing at night.
Moreover, if the shoes that are holding your body weight, they need to be extremely comfortable and
cushioned that will let your feet breathe without tiring your feet. Remember that not only do you use
your hands while playing badminton but also your feet. Without the feet supporting you, your hands will
co-ordinate well in making you the winner. If not a winner, the idea is to not get exhausted after a match
is played. Apart from this, the shows shouldn’t slip on the court. Brands like Victor as well as Yonex are
quite popular among the youths and players of Badminton. You can read our review of badminton shoes
for more!

Badminton net

After the racquet and

shuttlecock, the equipment
that is of utmost importance is the net.If not professionally played, you can do without the net. For
professionals and practices that will matter in the long run, you need it.

There is a specific height from the ground assigned for a professional match of Badminton. From the
ground, it should measure neither more nor less than 5 feet. The net edges are tapped in white so that
the actual height of the net is visible for a fair game.


sounds a
one but it does have an important role to play. Good quality socks and the one that absorbs sweat from
the feet to keep you comfortable is a necessity.

Don’t compromise on the socks that come for cheap. Trust me! Socks that cost less will be poor in quality
leading to poor performance.

Wristband and headband

Well, they may be purchased or may not be. They are not too mandatory as long as you have long hair
that disturbs your play. For some, they work as fashion accessories. Many players, therefore get these
bands for the “good feel” factor. After all, badminton players with wristbands and headbands do look
super cool. Nevertheless, we can’t deny the fact that wrist bands do help you in preventing the sweat

flowing to the handle of your racket and that the headband helps the sweat from getting into your eyes.
Badminton apparel

Wearing something really

comfortable during the match can
do wonders. If you wear cotton t-
shirts either round necked or
collared, you will be more at ease
than other fabric t-shirts because while playing badminton, you sweat a lot as it demands more cardio-
vascular activities. It is imperative to wear light clothing so that the heat and sweat of the body are
absorbed without affecting one’s performance.Now that you have known for all the essential equipment,
playing badminton should be a child’s play for you. Play in style and play professionally. For every game,
one has to have the perfect equipment so that the game enhances with every match you play.

When you practice from the beginning, the later phase gets easier and convenient for you. Ensure that
you check all the equipment before you buy them because it is only “practice that makes a man perfect”.

Each of the equipment listed above in our site can be a game changer for you. These are mainly for
professionals who play competitive matches. If not a professional, a beginner in this game can also stick
to the essentials so that he or she is accustomed to the game and get acquainted with it eventually. A
racquet and a shuttlecock are not enough to play your best; you need the other equipment too.

If you have the equipment, it is also important that you take good care of them so that you don’t have to
squander the next time. These high-quality products will change your perception towards the most
underrated sport badminton. Now that you have already planned to choose this outstanding game as
your career, only give your best and it will give you back only the best.

History of Stone Age Art (2.5 million-3,000 BCE)

Prehistoric art comes from three epochs of prehistory: Paleolithic, Mesolithic and Neolithic. The earliest
recorded art is the Bhimbetka petroglyphs (a set of 10 cupules and an engraving or groove) found in a
quartzite rock shelter known as Auditorium cave at Bhimbetka in central India, dating from at least
290,000 BCE. However, it may turn out to be much older (c.700,000 BCE). This primitive rock art was
followed, no later than 250,000 BCE, by simple figurines (eg. Venus of Berekhat Ram [Golan Heights] and
Venus of Tan-Tan [Morocco]), and from 80,000 BCE by the Blombos cave stone engravings, and the
cupules at the Dordogne rock shelter at La Ferrassie. Prehistoric culture and creativity is closely
associated with brain-size and efficiency which impacts directly on "higher" functions such as language,
creative expression and ultimately aesthetics. Thus with the advent of "modern" homo sapiens painters
and sculptors (50,000 BCE onwards) such as Cro-Magnon Man and Grimaldi Man, we see a huge
outburst of magnificent late Paleolthic sculpture and painting in France and the Iberian peninsular. This
comprises a range of miniature obese venus figurines (eg. the Venuses of Willendorf, Kostenky,
Monpazier, Dolni Vestonice, Moravany, Brassempouy, Gagarino, to name but a few), as well as mammoth
ivory carvings found in the caves of Vogelherd and Hohle Fels in the Swabian Jura. However, the greatest
art of prehistory is the cave painting at Chauvet, Lascaux and Altamira.

These murals were painted in caves reserved as a sort of prehistoric art gallery, where artists began to
paint animals and hunting scenes, as well as a variety of abstract or symbolic drawings. In France, they
include the monochrome Chauvet Cave pictures of animals and abstract drawings, the hand stencil art at
Cosquer Cave, and the polychrome charcoal and ochre images at Pech-Merle, and Lascaux. In Spain, they
include polychrome images of bison and deer at Altamira Cave in Spain. Outside Europe, major examples
of rock art include: Ubirr Aboriginal artworks (from 30,000 BCE), the animal figure paintings in charcoal
and ochre at the Apollo 11 Cave (from 25,500 BCE) in Namibia, the Bradshaw paintings (from 17,000
BCE) in Western Australia, and the hand stencil images at the Cuevas de las Manos (Cave of the Hands)
(from 9500 BCE) in Argentina, among many others.

Mesolithic Art (c.10,000-4,000 BCE)

Against a background of a new climate, improved living conditions and consequent behaviour patterns,
Mesolithic art gives more space to human figures, shows keener observation, and greater narrative in its
paintings. Also, because of the warmer weather, it moves from caves to outdoor sites in numerous
locations across Europe, Asia, Africa, Australasia and the Americas. Mesolithic artworks include the
bushman rock paintings in the Waterberg area of South Africa, the paintings in the Rock Shelters of
Bhimbetka in India, and Australian Aboriginal art from Arnhem Land. It also features more 3-D art,
including bas-reliefs and free standing sculpture. Examples of the latter include the anthropomorphic
figurines uncovered in Nevali Cori and Göbekli Tepe near Urfa in eastern Asia Minor, and the statues of
Lepenski Vir (eg. The Fish God) in Serbia. Other examples of Mesolithic portable art include bracelets,
painted pebbles and decorative drawings on functional objects, as well as ancient pottery of the
Japanese Jomon culture. One of the greatest works of Mesolithic art is the sculpture "Thinker From
Cernavoda" from Romania.

Neolithic Art (c.4,000-2,000 BCE)

The more "settled" and populous Neolithic era saw a growth in crafts like pottery and weaving. This
originated in Mesolithic times from about 9,000 BCE in the villages of southern Asia, after which it
flourished along the Yellow and Yangtze river valleys in China (c.7,500 BCE) - see Neolithic Art in China -
then in the fertile crescent of the Tigris and Euphrates river valleys in the Middle East (c.7,000) - the
'cradle of civilization' - before spreading to India (c.5,000), Europe (c.4,000), China (3,500) and the
Americas (c.2,500). Although most art remained functional in nature, there was a greater focus on
ornamentation and decoration. For example, calligraphy - one of the great examples of Chinese art - first
appears during this period. See: Chinese Art Timeline for details. Neolithic art also features free standing
sculpture, bronze statuettes (notably by the Indus Valley Civilization), primitive jewellery and decorative
designs on a variety of artifacts. The most spectacular form of late Neolithic art was architecture:
featuring large-stone structures known as megaliths, ranging from the Egyptian pyramids, to the passage
tombs of Northern Europe - such as Newgrange and Knowth in Ireland - and the assemblages of large
upright stones (menhirs) such as those at the Stonehenge Stone Circle and Avebury Circle in England.
(For more, please see: megalithic art.) However, the major medium of Neolithic art was ceramic pottery,
the finest examples of which were produced around the region of Mesopotamia (see Mesopotamian art)
and the eastern Mediterranean. For more chronology, see: Pottery Timeline. Towards the close of this
era, hieroglyphic writing systems appear in Sumer, heralding the end of prehistory.

History of Bronze Age Art (In Europe: 3000-1200 BCE)

The most famous examples of Bronze Age art appeared in the 'cradle of civilization' around the
Mediterranean in the Near East, during the rise of Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq), Greece, Crete
(Minoan civilization) and Egypt. The emergence of cities, the use of written languages and the
development of more sophisticated tools led the creation of a far wider range of monumental and
portable artworks.

Egyptian Art (from 3100 BCE)

Egypt, arguably the greatest civilization in the history of ancient art, was the first culture to adopt a
recognizable style of art. Egyptian painters depicted the head, legs and feet of their human subjects in
profile, while portraying the eye, shoulders, arms and torso from the front. Other artistic conventions
laid down how Gods, Pharaohs and ordinary people should be depicted, regulating such elements as
size, colour and figurative position. A series of wonderful Egyptian encaustic wax paintings, known as the
Fayum portraits, offer a fascinating glimpse of Hellenistic culture in Ancient Egypt. In addition, the
unique style of Egyptian architecture featured a range of massive stone burial chambers, called
Pyramids. Egyptian expertise in stone had a huge impact on later Greek architecture. Famous Egyptian
pyramids include: The Step Pyramid of Djoser (c.2630 BCE), and The Great Pyramid at Giza (c.2550 BCE),
also called the Pyramid of Khufu or 'Pyramid of Cheops'.

Sumerian Art (from 3500 BCE)

In Mesopotamia and Ancient Persia, Sumerians were developing their own unique building - an
alternative form of stepped pyramid called a ziggurat. These were not burial chambers but man-made
mountains designed to bring rulers and people closer to their Gods who according to legend lived high
up in mountains to the east. Ziggurats were built from clay bricks, typically decorated with coloured
glazes. See Sumerian Art (c.4500-2270 BCE).

Persian Art (from 3500 BCE)

For most of Antiquity, the art of ancient Persia was closely intertwined with that of its neighbours,
especially Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq), and influenced - and was influenced by - Greek art. Early
Persian works of portable art feature the intricate ceramics from Susa and Persepolis (c.3000 BCE), but
the two important periods of Persian art were the Achaemenid Era (c.550-330 BCE) - exemplified by the
monumental palaces at Persepolis and Susa, decorated with sculpture, stone reliefs, and the famous
"Frieze of Archers" (Louvre, Paris) created out of enameled brick - and the Sassanid Era (226-650 CE) -
noted for its highly decorative stone mosaics, gold and silver dishes, frescoes and illuminated
manuscripts as well as crafts like carpet-making and silk-weaving. But, the greatest relics of Sassanian art
are the rock sculptures carved out of steep limestone cliffs at Taq-i-Bustan, Shahpur, Naqsh-e Rostam and
Naqsh-e Rajab.

Minoan Art (c.2100-1425 BCE)

The first important strand of Aegean art, created on Crete by the Minoans, was rooted in its palace
architecture at Knossos, Phaestus, Akrotiri, Kato Zakros and Mallia, which were constructed using a
combination of stone, mud-brick and plaster, and decorated with colourful murals and fresco pictures,
portraying mythological animal symbols (eg. the bull) as well as a range of mythological narratives.
Minoan art also features stone carvings (notably seal stones), and precious metalwork. The Minoan
Protopalatial period (c.1700 BCE), which ended in a major earthquake, was followed by an even more
ornate Neopalatial period (c.1700-1425 BCE), which witnessed the highpoint of the culture before being
terminated by a second set of earthquakes in 1425. Minoan craftsmen are also noted for their ceramics
and vase-painting, which featured a host of marine and maritime motifs. This focus on nature and events
- instead of rulers and deities - is also evident in Minoan palace murals and sculptures.

Bronze Age Metalwork

Named after the metal which made it prosperous, the Bronze Age period witnessed a host of wonderful
metalwork made from many different materials. This form of metallugy is exemplified by two
extraordinary masterpieces: The "Ram in the Thicket" (c.2500 BCE, British Museum, London) a small Iraqi
sculpture made from gold-leaf, copper, lapis lazuli, and red limestone; and The "Maikop Gold Bull"
(c.2500 BCE, Hermitage, St Petersburg) a miniature gold sculpture of the Maikop Culpture, North
Caucasus, Russia. See also: Assyrian art (c.1500-612 BCE) and Hittite art (c.1600-1180 BCE). The period
also saw the emergence of Chinese bronzeworks (from c.1750 BCE), in the form of bronze plaques and
sculptures often decorated with Jade, from the Yellow River Basin of Henan Province, Central China.

For Bronze Age civilizations in the Americas, see: Pre-Columbian art, which covers the art and crafts of
Mesoamerican and South American cultures.

History of Iron Age Art and Classical Antiquity (c.1500-200 BCE)

Art of Classical Antiquity witnessed a huge growth during this period, especially in Greece and around
the eastern Mediterranean. It coincided with the rise of Hellenic (Greek-influenced) culture.

Mycenean Art (c.1500-1100 BCE)

Although Mycenae was an independent Greek city in the Greek Peloponnese, the term "Mycenean"
culture is sometimes used to describe early Greek art as a whole during the late Bronze Age. Initially very
much under the influence of Minoan culture, Mycenean art gradually achieved its own balance between
the lively naturalism of Crete and the more formal artistic idiom of the mainland, as exemplified in its
numerous tempera frescoes, sculpture, pottery, carved gemstones, jewellery, glass, ornaments and
precious metalwork. Also, in contrast to the Minoan "maritime trading" culture, Myceneans were
warriors, so their art was designed primarily to glorify their secular rulers. It included a number of tholos
tombs filled with gold work, ornamental weapons and precious jewellery.

Ancient Greek Art (c.1100-100 BCE)

Ancient Greek art is traditionally divided into the following periods: (1) the Dark Ages (c.1100-900 BCE).
(2) The Geometric Period (c.900-700 BCE). (3) The Oriental-Style Period (c.700-625 BCE). (4) The Archaic
Period (c.625-500 BCE). (5) The Classical Period (c.500-323 BCE). (6) The Hellenistic Period (c.323-100
BCE). Unfortunately, nearly all Greek painting and a huge proportion of Greek sculpture has been lost,
leaving us with a collection of ruins or Roman copies. Greek architecture, too, is largely known to us
through its ruins. Despite this tiny legacy, Greek artists remain highly revered, which demonstrates how
truly advanced they were.

Like all craftsmen of the Mediterranean area, the ancient Greeks borrowed a number of important
artistic techniques from their neighbours and trading partners. Even so, by the death of the Macedonian
Emperor Alexander the Great in 323 BCE, Greek art was regarded in general as the finest ever made.
Even the Romans - despite their awesome engineering and military skills - never quite overcame their
sense of inferiority in the face of Greek craftsmanship, and (fortunately for us) copied Greek artworks
assiduously. Seventeen centuries later, Greek architecture, sculptural reliefs, statues, and pottery would
be rediscovered during the Italian Renaissance, and made the cornerstone of Western art for over 400

Dark Ages

After the fall of the Mycenean civilization (12th century BCE) Greece entered a period of decline, known
as the Dark Ages - because we know so little about it. Sculpture, painting and monumental architecture
almost ceased.

Geometric Period

Then, from around 900 BCE, these arts (created mainly for aristocratic families who had achieved power
during the Dark Ages) reappeared during the Geometric period, named after the decorative designs of
its pottery.
Oriental Period

The succeeding Orientalizing period was characterized by the influence of Near Eastern designwork,
notably curvilinear, zoomorphic and floral patterns.

Archaic Period

The Archaic period was a time of gradual experimentation; the most prized sculptural form was the
kouros (pl.kouroi), or standing male nude. This was followed by the Classical period, which represents
the apogee of Greek art.

Classical Period

Greek architecture blossomed, based on a system of 'Classical Orders' (Doric, Ionic and Corinthian) or
rules for building design, based on proportions of and between the individual parts. The Parthenon on
the Acropolis complex in Athens is the supreme example of classical Greek architecture: other famous
examples include: the Temple of Zeus at Olympia, the Temple of Hephaistos, the Temple of Athena Nike,
the Theatre at Delphi, and the Tholos Temple of Athena Pronaia. In the plastic arts, great classical Greek
sculptors like Polykleitos, Myron, and Phidias demonstrated a mastery of realism which would remain
unsurpassed until the Italian Renaissance. But painting remained the most-respected art form - notably
panel-paintings executed in tempera or encaustic paint - with renowned Greek painters like Zeuxis,
Apelles, and Parrhasius added new techniques of highlighting, shading and colouring.


The beginning of the final Hellenistic phase coincided with the death of Alexander and the incorporation
of the Persian Empire into the Greek world. Stylewise, classical realism was superceded by greater
solemnity and heroicism (exemplified by the massive statue "The Colossus of Rhodes", the same size as
the Statue of Liberty) as well as a growing expressionism. The period is characterized by the spread of
Greek culture (Hellenization) throughout the civilized world, including techniques of sculpture and
mosaic art. Famous Hellenistic sculptures include: the celebrated "Venus de Milo", "Dying Gaul" by
Epigonus; the Pergamon Altar of Zeus (c.166-156 BCE); "Winged Victory of Samothrace"; and "Laocoon
and His Sons" by Hagesandrus, Polydorus and Athenodorus.

Greek Pottery

Greek pottery developed much earlier than other art forms: by 3000 BCE the Peloponnese was already
the leading pottery centre. Later, following the take-over of the Greek mainland by Indo-European tribes
around 2100 BCE, a new form of pottery was introduced, known as Minyan Ware. It was the first Greek
type to be made on a potter's wheel. Despite this, it was Minoan pottery on Crete - with its new dark-on-
light style - that predominated during the 2nd Millennium BCE. Thereafter, however, Greek potters
regained the initiative, introducing a series of dazzling innovations including: beautifully proportioned
Geometric Style pottery (900-725), as well as Oriental (725-600), Black-Figure (600-480) and Red-Figure
(530-480) styles. Famous Greek ceramicists include Exekias, Kleitias, Ergotimos, Nearchos, Lydos, the
Amasis Painter, Andokides, Euthymides, and Sophilos (all Black-Figure), plus Douris, Brygos and
Onesimos (Red-Figure).

Etruscan Art (c.700-90 BCE)

In Etruria, Italy, the older Villanovan Culture gave way to Etruscan Civilization around 700 BCE. This
reached its peak during the sixth century BCE as their city-states gained control of central Italy. Like the
Egyptians but unlike the Greeks, Etruscans believed in an after-life, thus tomb or funerary art was a
characteristic feature of Etruscan culture. Etruscan artists were also renowned for their figurative
sculpture, in stone, terracotta and bronze. Above all Etruscan art is famous for its "joi de vivre",
exemplified by its lively fresco mural painting, especially in the villas of the rich. In addition, the skill of
Etruscan goldsmiths was highly prized throughout Italy and beyond. Etruscan culture, itself strongly
influenced by Greek styles, had a marked impact on other cultures, notably the Hallstatt and La Tene
styles of Celtic art. Etruscan culture declined from 396 BCE onwards, as its city states were absorbed into
the Roman Empire.

Celtic Art (c.600-100 BCE)

From about 600 BCE, migrating pagan tribes from the Russian Steppes, known as Celts, established
themselves astride the Upper Danube in central Europe. Celtic culture, based on exceptional trading
skills and an early mastery of iron, facilitated their gradual expansion throughout Europe, and led to two
styles of Celtic art whose artifacts are known to us through several key archeological sites in Switzerland
and Austria. The two styles are Hallstatt (600-450) and La Tene (450-100). Both were exemplified by
beautiful metalwork and complex linear designwork. Although by the early 1st Millennium CE most
pagan Celtic artists had been fully absorbed into the Roman Empire, their traditions of spiral,
zoomorphic, knotwork and interlace designs later resurfaced and flourished (600-1100 CE) in many
forms of Hiberno-Saxon art (see below) such as illuminated Gospel manuscripts, religious metalwork,
and High Cross Sculpture. Famous examples of Celtic metalwork art include the Gundestrup Cauldron,
the Petrie Crown and the Broighter gold torc.

Roman Art (c.200 BCE-400 CE)


Unlike their intellectual Greek neighbours, the Romans were primarily practical people with a natural
affinity for engineering, military matters, and Empire building. Roman architecture was designed to awe,
entertain and cater for a growing population both in Italy and throughout their Empire. Thus Roman
architectural achievements are exemplified by new drainage systems, aqueducts, bridges, public baths,
sports facilities and amphitheatres (eg. the Colosseum 72-80 CE), characterized by major advances in
materials (eg. the invention of concrete) and in the construction of arches and roof domes. The latter not
only allowed the roofing of larger buildings, but also gave the exterior far greater grandeur and majesty.
All this revolutionized the Greek-dominated field of architecture, at least in form and size, if not in
creativity, and provided endless opportunity for embellishment in the way of scultural reliefs, statues,
fresco murals, and mosaics. The most famous examples of Roman architecture include: the massive
Colosseum, the Arch of Titus, and Trajan's Column.

Painting, Sculpture

If Roman architecture was uniquely grandiose, its paintings and sculptures continued to imitate the
Greek style, except that its main purpose was the glorification of Rome's power and majesty. Early
Roman art (c.200-27 BCE) was detailed, unidealized and realistic, while later Imperial styles (c.27 BCE -
200 CE) were more heroic. Mediocre painting flourished in the form of interior-design standard fresco
murals, while higher quality panel painting was executed in tempera or in encaustic pigments. Roman
sculpture too, varied in quality: as well as tens of thousands of average quality portrait busts of Emperors
and other dignitaries, Roman sculptors also produced some marvellous historical relief sculptures, such
as the spiral bas relief sculpture on Trajan's Column, celebrating the Emperor's victory in the Dacian war.

Early Art From Around the World

Although the history of art is commonly seen as being mainly concerned with civilizations that derived
from European and Chinese cultures, a significant amount of arts and crafts appeared from the earliest
times around the periphery of the known world. For more about the history and artifacts of these
cultures, see: Oceanic art (from the South Pacific and Australasia), African art (from all parts of the
continent) and Tribal art (from Africa, the Pacific Islands, Indonesia, Burma, Australasia, North America,
and Alaska).

History of Medieval Art

Constantinople, Christianity and Byzantine Art

With the death in 395 CE, of the Emperor Theodosius, the Roman empire was divided into two halves: a
Western half based initially in Rome, until it was sacked in the 5th century CE, then Ravenna; and an
eastern half located in the more secure city of Constantinople. At the same time, Christianity was made
the exclusive official religion of the empire. These two political developments had a huge impact on the
history of Western art. First, relocation to Constantinople helped to prolong Greco-Roman civilization
and culture; second, the growth of Christianity led to an entirely new category of Christian art which
provided architects, painters, sculptors and other craftsmen with what became the dominant theme in
the visual arts for the next 1,200 years. As well as prototype forms of early Christian art, much of which
came from the catacombs, it also led directly to the emergence of Byzantine art. See also: Christian Art,
Byzantine Period.

Art of Byzantium (Constantinople) (330-1450 CE)

Byzantine art was almost entirely religious art, and centred around its Christian architecture.
Masterpieces include the awesome Hagia Sophia (532-37) in Istanbul; the Church of St Sophia in Sofia,
Bulgaria (527-65); and the Church of Hagia Sophia in Thessaloniki. Byzantine art also influenced the
Ravenna mosaics in the Basilicas of Sant'Apollinare Nuovo, San Vitale, and Sant' Apollinare in Classe.
Secular examples include: the Great Palace of Constantinople, and Basilica Cistern. As well as new
architectural techniques such as the use of pendentives to spread the weight of the ceiling dome, thus
permitting larger interiors, new decorative methods were introduced like mosaics made from glass,
rather than stone. But the Eastern Orthodox brand of Christianity (unlike its counterpart in Rome), did
not allow 3-D artworks like statues or high reliefs, believing they glorified the human aspect of the flesh
rather than the divine nature of the spirit. Thus Byzantine art (eg. painting, mosaic works) developed a
particular style of meaningful imagery (iconography) designed to present complex theology in a very
simple way. For example, colours were used to express different ideas: gold represented Heaven; blue,
the colour of human life, and so on.

After 600 CE, Byzantine architecture progressed through several periods - such as, the Middle Period
(c.600-1100) and the Comnenian and Paleologan periods (c.1100-1450) - gradually becoming more and
more influenced by eastern traditions of construction and decoration. In Western Europe, Byzantine
architecture was superceded by Romanesque and Gothic styles, while in the Near East it continued to
have a significant influence on early Islamic architecture, as illustrated by the Umayyad Great Mosque of
Damascus and the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem.

Byzantine Painting

In the absence of sculpture, Byzantine artists specialized in 2-D painting, becoming masters of panel-
painting, including miniatures - notably icons - and manuscript illumination. Their works had a huge
influence on artists throughout western and central Europe, as well as the Islamic countries of the
Middle East.

Irish Christian Art (c.600-1100 CE)

Located on the remote periphery of Western Europe, Ireland remained free of interference from either
Rome or the barbarians that followed. As a result, Irish Celtic art was neither displaced by Greek or
Roman idioms, nor buried in the pagan Dark Ages. Furthermore, the Church was able to establish a
relatively secure network of Irish monasteries, which rapidly became important centres of religious
learning and scholarship, and gradually spread to the islands off Britain and to parts of Northern
England. This monastic network soon became a major patron of the arts, attracting numerous scribes
and painters into its scriptoriums to create a series of increasingly ornate illuminated gospel
manuscripts: examples include: the Cathach of Colmcille (c.560), the Book of Dimma (c.625), the Durham
Gospels (c.650), the Book of Durrow (c.670), and the supreme Book of Kells (also called the Book of
Columba), considered to be the apogee of Western calligraphy. These gospel illuminations employed a
range of historiated letters, rhombuses, crosses, trumpet ornaments, pictures of birds and animals,
occasionally taking up whole pages (carpet pages) of geometric or interlace patterns. The creative
success of these decorated manuscripts was greatly enhanced by the availability of Celtic designs from
jewellery and metalwork - produced for the Irish secular elite - and by increased cultural contacts with
Anglo-Saxon craftsmen in England.
Another early Christian art form developed in Ireland was religious metalwork, exemplified by such
masterpieces as the Tara Brooch, the Ardagh Chalice, the Derrynaflan Chalice, and the Moylough Belt
Shrine, as well as processional crosses like the 8th/9th century Tully Lough Cross and the great 12th
century Cross of Cong, commissioned by Turlough O'Connor. Finally, from the late eighth century, the
Church began commissioning a number of large religious crosses decorated both with scenes from the
bible and abstract interlace, knotwork and other Celtic-style patterns. Examples include Muiredach's
Cross at Monasterboice, County Louth, and the Ahenny High Cross in Tipperary. These scripture high
crosses flourished between 900 and 1100, although construction continued as late as the 15th century.

Unfortunately, with the advent of the Vikings (c.800-1000), the unique Irish contribution to Western
Civilization in general and Christianity in particular, began to fade, despite some contribution from Viking
art. Thereafter, Roman culture - driven by the Church of Rome - began to reassert itself across Europe.

A Word About Asian Art

In contrast to Christianity which permits figurative representation of Prophets, Saints and the Holy
family, Islam forbids all forms of human iconography. Thus Islamic art focused instead on the
development of complex geometric patterns, illuminated texts and calligraphy.

In East Asia, the visual arts of India and Tibet incorporated the use of highly coloured figures (due to
their wide range of pigments) and strong outlines. Painting in India was extremely diverse, as were
materials (textiles being more durable often replaced paper) and size (Indian miniatures were a
specialty). Chinese art specialized in ceremonial bronze sculpture, calligraphic and brush painting and
jade carving, as well as lacquerware and Chinese pottery. In Japan, Buddhist temple art, Zen Ink-Painting,
Yamato-e and Ukiyo-e woodblock prints were four of the main types of Japanese art.

Romanesque Art (Carolingian, Ottonian) (c.775-1050)

On the continent, the revival of medieval Christian art began with Charlemagne I, King of the Franks,
who was crowned Holy Roman Emperor, by Pope Leo III in 800. Charlemagne's court scriptoriums at
Aachen produced a number of magnificent illuminated Christian texts, such as: the Godscalc
Evangelistary, the Lorsch Gospels and the Gospels of St Medard of Soissons. Ironically, his major
architectural work - the Palatine Chapel in Aachen (c.800) - was influenced not by St Peter's or other
churches in Rome, but by the Byzantine-style Basilica of San Vitale in Ravenna. The Carolingian empire
rapidly dissolved but Carolingian Art marked an important first step in the spread of Medieval art and the
revitalization of Continental culture. Furthermore, many of the Romanesque and Gothic churches were
built on the foundations of Carolingian architecture. Charlemagne's early Romanesque architectural
achievements were continued by the Holy Roman Emperors Otto I-III, in a style known as Ottonian Art,
which morphed into the fully fledged "Romanesque." (In England and Ireland, the Romanesque style is
usually called Norman architecture.)

The Church Invests in Art to Convey Its Message

The spread of Romanesque art in the 11th century coincided with the reassertiveness of Roman
Christianity, and the latter's influence on secular authorities led to the Christian re-conquest of Spain
(c.1031) as well as the Crusade to free the Holy Land from the grip of Islam. The success of the Crusaders
and their acquisition of Holy Relics triggered a wave of new cathedrals across Europe. In addition to its
influence over international politics, Rome exercised growing power via its network of Bishops and its
links with Monastic orders such as the Benedictines, the Cistercians, Carthusians and Augustinian
Canons. From these monasteries, its officials exercised growing administrative power over the local
population, notably the power to collect tax revenues which it devoted to religious works, particularly
the building of cathedrals (encompassing sculpture and metalwork, as well as architecture), illuminated
gospel manuscripts, and cultural scholarship - a process exemplified by the powerful Benedictine
monastery at Cluny in Burgundy.

Romanesque Architecture (c.1000-1200)

Although based on Greek and Roman Antiquity, Romanesque architecture displayed neither the
creativity of the Greeks, nor the engineering skill of the Romans. They employed thick walls, round
arches, piers, columns, groin vaults, narrow slit-windows, large towers and decorative arcading. The basic
load of the building was carried not its arches or columns but by its massive walls. And its roofs, vaults
and buttresses were relatively primitive in comparison with later styles. Above all, interiors were dim and
comparatively hemmed in with heavy stone walls. Even so, Romanesque architecture did reintroduce
two important forms of fine art: sculpture (which had been in abeyance since the fall of Rome), and
stained glass, albeit on a minor scale.

Gothic Art (c.1150-1400)

Largely financed by monastic orders and local bishops, Gothic architecture exploited a number of
technical advances in pointed arches and other design factors, in order to awe, inspire and educate the
masses. Thus, out went the massively thick walls, small windows and dim interiors, in came soaring
ceilings ("reaching to heaven"), thin walls and stained glass windows. This transformed the interior of
many cathedrals into inspirational sanctuaries, where illiterate congregations could see the story of the
bible illustrated in the beautiful stained glass art of its huge windows. Indeed, the Gothic cathedral was
seen by architects as representing the universe in miniature. Almost every feature was designed to
convey a theological message: namely, the awesome glory of God, and the ordered nature of his
universe. Religious Gothic art - that is, architecture, relief sculpture and statuary - is best exemplified by
the cathedrals of Northern France, notably Notre Dame de Paris; Reims and Chartres, as well as Cologne
Cathedral, St Stephen's Cathedral Vienna and, in England, Westminster Abbey and York Minster.

History of Renaissance Art (c.1300-1620)

Strongly influenced by International Gothic, the European revival of fine art between roughly 1300 and
1600, popularly known as "the Renaissance", was a unique and (in many respects) inexplicable
phenomenon, not least because of (1) the Black Death plague (1346), which wiped out one third of the
European population; (2) the 100 Years War between England and France (1339-1439) and (3) the
Reformation (c.1520) - none of which was conducive to the development of the visual arts. Fortunately,
certain factors in the Renaissance heartland of Florence and Rome - notably the energy and huge wealth
of the Florentine Medici family, and the Papal ambitions of Pope Sixtus IV (1471-84), Pope Julius II (1503-
13), Pope Leo X (1513-21) and Pope Paul III (1534-45) - succeeded in overcoming all natural obstacles,
even if the Church was almost bankrupted in the process.

Renaissance art was founded on classicism - an appreciation of the arts of Classical Antiquity, a belief in
the nobility of Man, as well as artistic advances in both linear perspective and realism. It evolved in three
main Italian cities: first Florence, then Rome, and lastly Venice. Renaissance chronology is usually listed
as follows:

• Proto-Renaissance (c.1300-1400)

This introductory period was largely instigated by the revolutionary painting style of Giotto (1270-1337),
whose fresco cycle in the Capella Scrovegni (Arena Chapel) in Padua introduced a new realism into
painting which challenged many of the iconographic conventions then in use.

• Early Renaissance (c.1400-1490)

Triggered in part by the unearthing of a copy of De Architectura ("Ten Books Conerning Architecture") by
the 1st century Roman architect Vitruvius (c.78-10 BCE), and Filippo Brunelleschi's magnificent 1418
design for the dome of Florence's Gothic cathedral (1420-36), this period of activity was centred on
Florence. Major early Renaissance artists included the architect Filippo Brunelleschi (1377-1446), the
sculptor Donatello (1386-1466), and the painter Tommaso Masaccio (c.1401-28). Later important
contributors included Piero della Francesca (1420-92), Antonio del Pollaiuolo (1432-98) and Botticelli
(1445-1510), plus the Northerner Andrea Mantegna (1431-1506).

• High Renaissance (c.1490-1530)

Regarded as the apogee of the Italian Renaissance and its aesthetic ideals of beauty and harmony, the
High Renaissance was centred on Rome and dominated by the painting of Leonardo Da Vinci (1452-
1519) (eg. "The Last Supper", "The Mona Lisa") and Raphael (1483-1520) (eg. "The School of Athens"),
and the immortal works of Michelangelo (1475-1564) (including masterpieces of Italian Renaissance
sculpture such as "Pieta" and "David", and the "Genesis" Sistine Chapel fresco). Other leading high
Renaissance artists included members of the school of Venetian painting school, such as Giovanni Bellini,
Giorgione, Titian, Paolo Veronese and Tintoretto.

Renaissance architecture employed precepts derived from ancient Greece and Rome, but kept many
modern features of Byzantine and Gothic invention, such as domes and towers. Important architects
included: Donato Bramante (1444-1514) the greatest exponent of High Renaisance architecture;
Baldassare Peruzzi (1481-1536), an important architect and interior designer; Michele Sanmicheli (1484-
1559), the leading pupil of Bramante; Jacopo Sansovino (1486-1570), the most celebrated Venetian
architect; Giulio Romano (1499-1546), the chief practitioner of Italian Late Renaissance-style building
design; Andrea Palladio (1508-1580), an influential theorist; and of course Michelangelo himself, who
helped to design the dome for St Peter's Basilica in Rome.
• Northern Renaissance (c.1400-1530)

In Northern Europe (Flanders, Holland, England and Germany), the Renaissance developed in a different
manner. A damper climate unsuited to fresco painting encouraged the early use of oils, while differing
skills and temperament led to the early espousal of printmaking, and the the invention of the printing
press by Johannes Gutenberg in the 1450s. In most countries of Northern Europe the Reformation
caused a serious loss of patronage, and a consequent decline in large-scale religious works. In its place
there emerged new traditions of portraiture, and other easel-works, which led ultimately to the
wonderful still lifes and genre painting of the Dutch Realism school in the 17th century. The greatest
artists of the Northern Renaissance were: the Dutchman Jan Van Eyck (1390-1441), noted for his
luminous colours and detailed realism; the versatile German Albrecht Durer (1471-1528), noted for his
drawing, self-portraiture, oils, watercolours, woodcuts and engravings; Robert Campin (1375-1444) the
Master of Flemalle, an elusive but outstanding artist who taught Van der Weyden and was a key founder
of the Dutch School; the Belgian Roger van der Weyden (1400-1464), noted for his powerful religious
paintings; the Netherlandish painter Hieronymus Bosch (1450-1516), noted for his moralizing fantasy
works illustrating the sins of Man; the austere religious fanatic Mathias Grunewald (1470-1528), whose
dramatic style of art influenced later schools of Expressionism; and the portraitists Lucas Cranach (1472-
1553) and Hans Holbein (1497-1543).

Among the greatest sculptors of the Northern Renaissance were: the German limewood sculptor Tilman
Riemenschneider (1460-1531), noted for his reliefs and freestanding wood sculpture; and the wood-
carver Veit Stoss (1450-1533) noted for his delicate altarpieces.

Mannerism (1530-1600)

This style grew up partly as a reaction against the idealistic forms of the High Renaissance and partly as a
reflection of troubled times - Martin Luther had begun the Reformation, while Rome itself had just been
sacked by mercenaries. Mannerist artists introduced a new expressiveness into their works, as
exemplified by the marvellous sculpture Rape of the Sabine Women by Giambologna, and
Michelangelo's Last Judgement fresco in the Sistine Chapel. Other important exponents of Mannerism
include El Greco (c.1541-1614) and Caravaggio (1571-1610), whose dramatic use of light and shadow
influenced a generation of Caravaggisti.

History of Post-Renaissance Art

Baroque Art (c.1600-1700)

It was during this period that the Catholic Counter-Reformation got going in an attempt to attract the
masses away from Protestantism. Renewed patronage of the visual arts and architecture was a key
feature of this propaganda campaign, and led to a grander, more theatrical style in both areas. This new
style, known as Baroque art was effectively the highpoint of dramatic Mannerism.
Baroque architecture took full advantage of the theatrical potential of the urban landscape, exemplified
by Saint Peter's Square (1656-67) in Rome, in front of the domed St Peter's Basilica. Its architect,
Gianlorenzo Bernini (1598-1680) employed a widening series of colonnades in the approach to the
cathedral, conveying the impression to visitors that they are being embraced by the arms of the Catholic
Church. The entire approach is constructed on a gigantic scale, to induce feelings of awe.

In painting, the greatest exponent of Catholic Counter-Reformation art was Peter Paul Rubens (1577-
1640) - "the Prince of painters and the painter of Princes". Other leading Catholic artists included Diego
Velazquez (1599-1660), Francisco Zurbaran (1598-1664) and Nicolas Poussin (1594-1665).

In Protestant Northern Europe, the Baroque era was marked by the flowering of Dutch Realist genre
painting, a style uniquely suited to the new bourgeois patrons of small-scale interiors, genre-paintings,
portraits, landscapes and still lifes. Several schools of 17th century Dutch painting sprang up including
those of Haarlem, Delft, Utrecht, and Leiden. Leading members included the two immortals Rembrandt
(1606-1669) and Jan Vermeer (1632-1675), as well as Frans Snyders (1579-1657), Frans Hals (1581-
1666), Adriaen Brouwer (1605-38), Jan Davidsz de Heem (1606-84), Adriaen van Ostade (1610-85), David
Teniers the Younger (1610-90), Gerard Terborch (1617-81), Jan Steen (1626-79), Pieter de Hooch (1629-
83), and the landscape painters Aelbert Cuyp (1620-91), Jacob van Ruisdael (1628-82) and Meyndert
Hobbema (1638-1709), among others.

Rococo Art (c.1700-1789)

This new style of decorative art, known as Rococo, impacted most on interior-design, although
architecture, painting and sculpture were also affected. Essentially a reaction against the seriousness of
the Baroque, Rococo was a light-hearted, almost whimsical style which grew up in the French court at
the Palace of Versailles before spreading across Europe. Rococo designers employed the full gamut of
plasterwork, murals, tapestries, furniture, mirrors, porcelain, silks and other embellishments to give the
householder a complete aesthetic experience. In painting, the Rococo style was championed by the
French artists Watteau (1684-1721), Fragonard (1732-1806), and Boucher (1703-70). But the greatest
works were produced by the Venetian Giambattista Tiepolo (1696-1770) whose fantastic wall and ceiling
fresco paintings took Rococo to new heights. See in particular the renaissance of French Decorative Art
(1640-1792), created by French Designers especially in the form of French Furniture, at Versailles and
other Royal Chateaux, in the style of Louis Quatorze (XIV), Louis Quinze (XV) and Louis Seize (XVI). As it
was, Rococo symbolized the decadent indolence and degeneracy of the French aristocracy. Because of
this, it was swept away by the French Revolution which ushered in the new sterner Neoclassicism, more
in keeping with the Age of Enlightenment and Reason.

Neoclassical Art (Flourished c.1790-1830)

In architecture, Neoclassicism derived from the more restrained "classical" forms of Baroque practised in
England by Sir Christopher Wren (1632-1723), who designed St Paul's Cathedral. Yet another return to
the Classical Orders of Greco-Roman Antiquity, the style was characterized by monumental structures,
supported by columns of pillars, and topped with classical Renaissance domes. Employing innovations
like layered cupolas, it lent added grandeur to palaces, churches, and other public structures. Famous
Neoclassical buildings include: the Pantheon (Paris) designed by Jacques Germain Soufflot (1756-97), the
Arc de Triomphe (Paris) designed by Jean Chalgrin, the Brandenburg Gate (Berlin) designed by Carl
Gotthard Langhans (1732-1808), and the United States Capitol Building, designed by English-born
Benjamin Henry Latrobe (1764-1820), and later by Stephen Hallet and Charles Bulfinch. See also the era
of American Colonial Art (c.1670-1800).

Neoclassicist painters also looked to Classical Antiquity for inspiration, and emphasized the virtues of
heroicism, duty and gravitas. Leading exponents included the French political artist Jacques-Louis David
(1748-1825), the German portrait and history painter Anton Raphael Mengs (1728-79), and the French
master of the Academic art style, Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres (1780-1867). Neoclassical sculptors
included: Antonio Canova (1757-1822),

Bertel Thorvaldsen (1770-1844), and Jean-Antoine Houdon (1741-1828).

Romanticism Movement (Flourished c.1790-1830)

In contrast to the universal values espoused by Neo-Classicism, Romantic artists expressed a more
personal response to life, relying more on their senses and emotions rather than reason and intellect.
This idealism, like Neoclassism, was encouraged by the French Revolution, thus some artists were
affected by both styles. Nature was an important subject for Romantics, and the style is exemplified, by
the English School of Landscape Painting, the plein air painting of John Constable (1776-1837), Corot
(1796-1875) along with members of the French Barbizon School and the American Hudson River School
of landscape painting, as well as the more expressionistic JMW Turner (1775-1851). Arguably, however,
the greatest Romantic landscape painter is arguably Caspar David Friedrich (1774-1840). Narrative or
history painting was another important genre in Romanticism: leading exponents include: Francisco Goya
(1746-1828) Henry Fuseli (1741-1825), James Barry (1741-1806), Theodore Gericault (1791-1824) and
Eugene Delacroix (1798-63), as well as later exponents of Orientalist painting, and moody Pre-
Raphaelites and Symbolists.

Realism (c.1845 onwards)

As the 19th century progessed, growing awareness of the rights of man plus the social impact of the
Industrial Revolution caused some artists to move away from idealistic or romantic subjects in favour of
more mundane subjects, depicted in a more true-life, style of naturalism. This new focus (to some extent
anticipated by William Hogarth in the 18th century, see English Figurative Painting) was exemplified by
the Realism style which emerged in France during the 1840s, before spreading across Europe. This new
style attracted painters from all the genres - notably Gustave Courbet (1819-77) (genre-painting), Jean
Francois Millet (1814-75) (landscape, rural life), Honore Daumier (1808-79) (urban life) and Ilya Repin
(1844-1930) (landscape and portraits).

History of Modern Art

Impressionism (c.1870-80)
French Impressionism, championed above all by Claude Monet (1840-1926), was a spontaneous colour-
sensitive style of pleinairism whose origins derived from Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot and the techniques
of the Barbizon school - whose quest was to depict the momentary effects of natural light. It
encompassed rural landscapes [Alfred Sisley (1839-1899)], cityscapes [Camille Pissarro (1830-1903)],
genre scenes [Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919), Edgar Degas (1834-1917), Paul Cezanne (1839-1906),
and Berthe Morisot (1841-95)] and both figurative paintings and portraits [Edouard Manet (1832-83),
John Singer Sargent (1856-1925)]. Other artists associated with Impressionism include, James McNeil
Whistler (1834-1903) and Walter Sickert (1860-1942).

Impressionists sought to faithfully reproduce fleeting moments outdoors. Thus if an object appeared
dark purple - due perhaps to failing or reflected light - then the artist painted it purple. Naturalist
"Academic-Style" colour schemes, being devised in theory or at least in the studio, did not allow for this.
As a result Impressionism offered a whole new pictorial language - one that paved the way for more
revolutionary art movements like Cubism - and is often regarded by historians and critics as the first
modern school of painting.

In any event, the style had a massive impact on Parisian and world art, and was the gateway to a series
of colour-related movements, including Post-Impressionism, Neo-Impressionism, Pointillism, Divisionism,
Fauvism, Intimism, the American Luminism or Tonalism, as well as American Impressionism, the Newlyn
School and Camden Town Group, the French Les Nabis and the general Expressionist movement.

Post Impressionism (c.1885 onwards)

Essentially an umbrella term encompassing a number of developments and reactions to Impressionism,

Post-Impressionism involved artists who employed Impressionist-type colour schemes, but were
dissatisfied with the limitations imposed by merely reproducing nature. Neo-Impressionism with its
technique of Pointillism was pioneered by Georges Seurat and Paul Signac (1863-1935), while major
Post-Impressionists include Paul Gauguin, Vincent Van Gogh and Paul Cezanne. Inspired by Gauguin's
synthetism and Bernard's cloisonnism, the Post-Impressionist group Les Nabis promoted a wider form of
decorative art; another style, known as Intimisme, concerned itself with genre scenes of domestic,
intimate interiors. Exemplified by the work of Pierre Bonnard (1867-1947) and Edouard Vuillard (1868-
1940), it parallels other tranquil interiors such as those by James McNeil Whistler, and the Dutch Realist-
influenced Peter Vilhelm Ilsted (1861-1933). Another very important movement - anti-impressionist
rather than post-impressionist - was Symbolism (flourished 1885-1900), which went on to influence
Fauvism, Expressionism and Surrealism. Note also that many post-Impressionist artists adopted the
forms and aesthetics of classicism, as a response to the passive naturalism of Impressionist art. This led
to a widespread Classical Revival in modern art, known as the 'return to order', between 1900 and 1930.

Colourism: Fauvism (1900 onwards)

The term "Fauves" (wild beasts) was first used by the art critic Louis Vauxcelles at the 1905 Salon
d'Automne exhibition in Paris when describing the vividly coloured paintings of Henri Matisse (1869-
1954), Andre Derain (1880-1954), and Maurice de Vlaminck (1876-1958). Other Fauvists included the
later Cubist Georges Braque (1882-1963), Raoul Dufy (1877-1953), Albert Marquet (1875-1947) and
Georges Rouault (1871-1958). Most followers of Fauvism moved on to Expressionism or other
movements associated with the Ecole de Paris.

19th Century/Early 20th Century Sculpture

Sculptural traditions, although never independent from those of painting, are concerned primarily with
space and volume, while issues of scale and function also act as distinguishing factors. Thus on the
whole, sculpture was slower to reflect the new trends of modern art during the 19th century, leaving
sculptors like Auguste Rodin (1840-1917) free to pursue a monumentalism derived essentially from
Neoclassicism if not Renaissance ideology. The public dimension of sculpture also lent itself to the
celebration of Victorian values and historical figures, which were likewise executed in the grand manner
of earlier times. Thus it wasn't until the emergence of artists like Constantin Brancusi (1876-1957) and
Umberto Boccioni (1882-1916) that sculpture really began to change, at the turn of the century.

Expressionist Art (c.1900 onwards)

Expressionism is a general style of painting that aims to express a personal interpretation of a scene or
object, rather than depict its true-life features, it is often characterized by energetic brushwork,
impastoed paint, intense colours and bold lines. Early Expressionists included, Vincent Van Gogh (1853-
90), Edvard Munch (1863-1944) and Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944). A number of German Expressionist
schools sprang up during the first three decades of the 20th century. These included: Die Brucke (1905-
11), a group based in Dresden in 1905, which mixed elements of traditional German art with Post-
Impressionist and Fauvist styles, exemplified in works by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, Erik
Heckel, and Emil Nolde; Der Blaue Reiter (1911-14), a loose association of artists based in Munich,
including Wassily Kandinsky, Franz Marc, August Macke, and Paul Klee; Die Neue Sachlichkeit (1920s) a
post-war satirical-realist group whose members included Otto Dix, George Grosz, Christian Schad and to
a lesser extent Max Beckmann. Expressionism duly spread worldwide, spawning numerous derivations in
both figurative painting (eg. Francis Bacon) and abstract art (eg. Mark Rothko). See also: History of
Expressionist Painting (c.1880-1930).

Decorative Arts: Art Nouveau (1890-1910) and Art Deco (1920s-30s)

Art Nouveau (Late 19th Century - Early 20th Century)

Art Nouveau (promoted as Jugendstil by the Munich Secession (1892) and Berlin Secession (1898), as
Sezessionstil in the Vienna Secession (1897), and as Stile Liberty in Italy, and Modernista in Spain)
derived from William Morris and the Arts and Crafts Movement in Britain, and was also influenced by
both the Celtic Revival arts movement and Japanonisme. It's popularity stemmed from the 1900
Exposition Universelle in Paris, from where it spread across Europe and the United States. It was noted
for its intricate flowing patterns of sinuous asymetrical lines, based on plant-forms (dating back to the
Celtic Hallstatt and La Tene cultures), as well as female silhouettes and forms. Art Nouveau had a major
influence on poster art, design and illustration, interior design, metalwork, glassware, jewellery, as well
as painting and sculpture. Leading exponents included: Alphonse Mucha (1860-1939), Aubrey Beardsley
(1872-98), Eugene Grasset (1845-1917) and Albert Guillaume (1873-1942). See also: History of Poster

The Bauhaus School (Germany, 1919-1933)

Derived from the two German words "bau" for building and "haus" for house, the Bauhaus school of art
and design was founded in 1919 by the architect Walter Gropius. Enormously influential in both
architecture and design - and their teaching methods - its instructors included such artists as Josef
Albers, Lyonel Feininger, Paul Klee, Wassily Kandinsky, Oskar Schlemmer, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Anni
Albers and Johannes Itten. Its mission was to bring art into contact with everyday life, thus the design of
everyday objects was given the same importance as fine art. Important Bauhaus precepts included the
virtue of simple, clean design, massproduction and the practical advantages of a well-designed home
and workplace. The Bauhaus was eventually closed by the Nazis in 1933, whereupon several of its
teachers emigrated to America: Laszlo Moholy-Nagy settled in Chicago where he founded the New
Bauhaus in 1937, while Albers went to Black Mountain College in North Carolina.

Art Deco (1920s, 1930s)

The design style known as Art Deco was showcased in 1925 at the International Exhibition of Modern
Decorative and Industrial Arts in Paris and became a highly popular style of decorative art, design and
architecture during the inter-war years (much employed by cinema and hotel architects). Its influence
was also seen in the design of furniture, textile fabrics, pottery, jewellery, and glass. A reaction against
Art Nouveau, the new idiom of Art Deco eliminated the latter's flowing curvilinear forms and replaced
them with Cubist and Precisionist-inspired geometric shapes. Famous examples of Art Deco architecture
include the Empire State Building and the New York Chrysler Building. Art Deco was also influenced by
the simple architectural designs of The Bauhaus.

Cubism (c.1908-12)

Invented by Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) and Georges Braque (1882-1963) and considered to be "the"
revolutionary movement of modern art, Cubism was a more intellectual style of painting that explored
the full potential of the two-dimensional picture plane by offering different views of the same object,
typically arranged in a series of overlapping fragments: rather like a photographer might take several
photos of an object from different angles, before cutting them up with scissors and rearranging them in
haphazard fashion on a flat surface. This "analytical Cubism" (which originated with Picasso's "Les
Demoiselles d'Avignon") quickly gave way to "synthetic Cubism", when artists began to include "found
objects" in their canvases, such as collages made from newspaper cuttings. Cubist painters included:
Juan Gris (1887-1927), Fernand Leger (1881-1955), Robert Delaunay (1885-1941), Albert Gleizes (1881-
1953), Roger de La Fresnaye (1885-1925), Jean Metzinger (1883-1956), and Francis Picabia (1879-1953),
the avant-garde artist Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968), and the sculptors Jacques Lipchitz (1891-1973), and
Alexander Archipenko (1887-1964). (See also Russian art.) Short-lived but highly influential, Cubism
instigated a whole new style of abstract art and had a significant impact the development of later styles
such as: Orphism (1910-13), Collage (1912 onwards), Purism (1920s), Precisionism (1920s, 1930s),
Futurism (1909-1914), Rayonism (c.1912-14), Suprematism (1913-1918), Constructivism (c.1919-32),
Vorticism (c.1914-15) the De Stijl (1917-31) design movement and the austere geometrical style of
concrete art known as Neo-Plasticism.

Surrealism (1924 onwards)

Largely rooted in the anti-art traditions of the Dada movement (1916-24), as well as the psychoanalytical
ideas of Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung, Surrealism was the most influential art style of the inter-war
years. According to its chief theorist, Andre Breton, it sought to combine the unconscious with the
conscious, in order to create a new "super-reality" - a "surrealisme". The movement spanned a huge
range of styles, from abstraction to true-life realism, typically punctuated with "unreal" imagery.
Important Surrealists included Salvador Dali (1904-89), Max Ernst (1891-1976), Rene Magritte (1898-
1967), Andre Masson (1896-1987), Yves Tanguy (1900-55), Joan Miro (1893-1983), Giorgio de Chirico
(1888-1978), Jean Arp (1886-1966), and Man Ray (1890-1976). The movement had a major impact
across Europe during the 1930s, was the major precursor to Conceptualism, and continues to find
adherents in fine art, literature and cinematography.

Early 20th Century American Art (c.1900-45)

American painting during the period 1900-45 was realist in style and became increasingly focused on
strictly American imagery. This was the result of the reaction against the Armory Show (1913) and
European hypermodernism, as well as a response to changing social conditions across the country. Later
it became a patriotic response to the Great Depression of the 1930s. See also the huge advances in
Skyscraper architecture of the early 20th century. For more, see: American architecture (1600-present).
Specific painting movements included the Ashcan School (c.1900-1915); Precisionism (1920s) which
celebrated the new American industrial landscape; the more socially aware urban style of Social Realism
(1930s); American Scene Painting (c.1925-45) which embraced the work of Edward Hopper and Charles
Burchfield, as well as midwestern Regionalism (1930s) championed by Grant Wood, Thomas Hart Benton
and John Steuart Curry.

Note: Echoes of American Regionalism can be seen in the government approved style of Socialist Realism
(c.1920-80), which flourished in Russia, China and other totalitarian states during the early (and later)
20th century.

Abstract Expressionism (1945-60)

The first international modern art movement to come out of America (it is sometimes referred to as The
New York School - see also American art), it was a predominantly abstract style of painting which
followed an expressionist colour-driven direction, rather than a Cubist idiom, although it also includes a
number of other styles, making it more of a general movement. Four variants stand out in Abstract
Expressionism: first, the "automatic" style of "action painting" invented by Jackson Pollock (1912-56) and
his wife Lee Krasner (1908–1984). Second, the monumental planes of colour created by Mark Rothko
(1903-70), Barnett Newman (1905-70) and Clyfford Still (1904-80) - a style known as Colour Field
Painting. Third, the gestural figurative works by Willem De Kooning (1904–1997). Four, the geometric
"Homage to the Square" geometric abstracts of Josef Albers (1888-1976).

Highly influential, Abstract Expressionist painting continued to influence later artists for over two
decades. It was introduced to Paris during the 1950s by Jean-Paul Riopelle (1923-2002), assisted by
Michel Tapie's book, Un Art Autre (1952). At the same time, a number of new sub-movements emerged
in America, such as Hard-edge painting, exemplified by Frank Stella. In the late 1950s/early 1960s, a
purely abstract form of Colour Field painting appeared in works by Helen Frankenthaler and others,
while in 1964, the famous art critic Clement Greenberg helped to introduce a further stylistic
development known as "Post-Painterly Abstraction". Abstract Expressionism went on to influence a
variety of different schools, including Op Art, Fluxus, Pop Art, Minimalism, Neo-Expressionism, and

Pop Art (Late 1950s-60s)

The bridge between modern art and postmodernism, Pop art employed popular imagery and modern
forms of graphic art, to create a lively, high-impact idiom, which could be understood and appreciated by
Joe Public. It appeared simultaneously in America and Britain, during the late 1950s, while a European
form (Nouveau Realisme) emerged in 1960. Pioneered in America by Robert Rauschenberg (1925-2008)
and Jasper Johns (b.1930), Pop had close links with early 20th century movements like Surrealism. It was
a clear reaction against the closed intellectualism of Abstract Expressionism, from which Pop artists
sought to distance themselves by adopting simple, easily recognized imagery (from TV, cartoons, comic
strips and the like), as well as modern technology like screen printing. Famous US Pop artists include: Jim
Dine (b.1935), Robert Indiana (b.1928), Alex Katz (b.1927), Roy Lichtenstein (1923-97), Claes Oldenburg
(b.1929), and Andy Warhol (1928-87). Important Pop artists in Britain were: Peter Blake (b.1932), Patrick
Caulfield (1936-2006), Richard Hamilton (b.1922), David Hockney (b.1937), Allen Jones (b.1937), RB Kitaj
(b.1932), and Eduardo Paolozzi (1924-2005).

Mid-20th Century Sculpture

From the early works of Brancusi, 20th century sculpture broadened immeasurably to encompass new
forms, styles and materials. Major innovations included the "sculptured walls" of Louise Nevelson (1899-
1988), the existential forms of Giacometti (1901-66), the biomorphic abstraction of both Barbara
Hepworth (1903-75) and Henry Moore (1898-1986), and the spiders of Louise Bourgeois (1911-2010).
Other creative angles were pursued by Salvador Dali (1904-89) in his surrealist "Mae West Lips Sofa" and
"Lobster Telephone" - by Meret Oppenheim (1913-85) in her "Furry Breakfast", by FE McWilliam (1909-
1992) in his "Eyes, Nose and Cheek", by Sol LeWitt (b.1928) in his skeletal box-like constructions, and by
Pop-artists like Claes Oldenburg (b.1929) and Jasper Johns (b.1930), as well as by the Italians Jonathan
De Pas (1932-91), Donato D'Urbino (b.1935) and Paolo Lomazzi (b.1936) in their unique "Joe Sofa".

History of Contemporary Art

LThe word "Postmodernist" is often used to describe contemporary art since about 1970. In simple
terms, postmodernist art emphasizes style over substance (eg. not 'what' but 'how'; not 'art for art's
sake', but 'style for stye's sake'), and stresses the importance of how the artist comunicates with his/her
audience. This is exemplified by movements such as Conceptual art, where the idea being
communicated is seen as more important than the artwork itself, which merely acts as the vehicle for
the message. In addition, in order to increase the "impact" of visual art on spectators, postmodernists
have turned to new art forms such as Assemblage, Installation, Video, Performance, Happenings and
Graffiti - all of which are associated in some way or other with Conceptualism- and this idea of impact
continues to inspire.

Postmodernist Painting

Painters since the 1970s have experimented with numerous styles across the spectrum from pure
abstraction to figuration. These include: Minimalism, a purist form of abstraction which did little to
promote painting as an attractive medium; Neo-Expressionism, which encompassed groups like the
"Ugly Realists", the "Neue Wilden", "Figuration Libre", "Transavanguardia", the "New Image Painters"
and the so-called "Bad Painters", signalled a return to depicting recognizable objects, like the human
body (albeit often in a quasi-abstract style), using rough brushwork, vivid colours and colour harmonies;
and the wholly figurative styles adopted by groups such as "New Subjectivity" and the "London School".
At the other extreme from Minimalism is the ultra-representational art form of photorealism
(superrealism, hyperrealism). Conspicuous among this rather bewildering range of activity are figure
painters like Francis Bacon, the great Lucien Freud (b.1922), the innovative Fernando Botero (b.1932),
the precise David Hockney (b.1937), the photorealists Chuck Close (b.1940) and Richard Estes (b.1936),
and the contemporary Jenny Saville (b.1970). See also: Contemporary British Painting (1960-2000).

Postmodernist Sculpture

Sculpture since 1970 has appeared in a variety of guises, including: the large scale metal works of Mark
Di Suvero (b.1933), the minimalist sculptures of Walter de Maria (b.1935), the monumental public forms
of Richard Serra (b.1939), the hyper-realist nudes of John De Andrea (b.1941), the environmental
structures of Anthony Gormley (b.1950), the site-specific figures of Rowan Gillespie (b.1953), the
stainless steel works of Anish Kapoor (b.1954), the high-impact Neo-Pop works of Jeff Koons (b.1955),
and the extraordinary 21st century works by Sudobh Gupta (b.1964) and Damian Ortega (b.1967). In
addition, arresting public sculpture includes the "Chicago Picasso" - a series of metal figures produced
for the Chicago Civic Centre and the architectural "Spire of Dublin" (the 'spike'), created by Ian Ritchie
(b.1947), among many others.

Postmodernist Avant-garde

The pluralistic "anything goes" view of contemporary art (which critics might characterize as
exemplifying the fable of the "Emperor's New Clothes"), is aptly illustrated in the works of Damien Hirst,
a leading member of the Young British Artists school. Renowned for "The Physical Impossibility of Death
in the Mind of Someone Living", a dead Tiger shark pickled in formaldehyde, and lately for his diamond
encrusted skull "For the Love of God", Hirst has managed to stimulate audiences and horrify critics
around the world. And while he is unlikely ever to inherit the mantle of Michelangelo, his achievement
of sales worth $100 million in a single Sotheby's auction (2008) is positively eye-popping.
On a more sobering note, in March 2009 the prestigious Georges Pompidou Centre of Contemporary Art
in Paris staged an exhibition entitled "The Specialisation of Sensibility in the Raw Material State into
Stabilised Pictorial Sensibility". This avant-garde event consisted of 9 completely empty rooms - in effect,
a reincarnation of John Cage's completely silent piece of "musical" conceptual art entitled "4.33". If one
of the great contemporary art venues like the Pompidou Centre regards nine completely empty spaces as
a worthy art event, we are all in deep trouble.

20th Century Architecture

One might say that 19th century architecture aimed to beautify the new wave of civic structures, like
railway stations, museums, government buildings and other public utilities. It did this by taking ideas
from Neo-Classicism, Neo-Gothic, French Second Empire and exoticism, as well as the new forms and
materials of so-called "industrial architecture", as exemplified in factories along with occasional
landmark structures like the Eiffel Tower (1887-89). In comparison, 20th century architecture has been
characterized by vertical development (skyscrapers), flagship buildings, and post-war reconstruction.
More than any other era, its design has been dominated by the invention of new materials and building
methods. It began with the exploitation of late 19th century innovations developed by the Chicago
School of architecture, such as the structural steel frame, in a style known as Early Modernism. In
America, architects started incorporating Art Nouveau and Art Deco design styles into their work, while
in Germany and Russia totalitarian architecture pursued a separate agenda during the 1930s. Famous
architects of the first part of the century included: Louis Sullivan (1856-1924), Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-
1959), Victor Horta (1861-1947), Antoni Gaudi (1852-1926), Peter Behrens (1868-1940), Walter Gropius
(1883-1969) and Le Corbusier (1887-1965). After 1945, architects turned away from functionalism and
began creating new forms facilitated by reinforced concrete, steel and glass. Thus Late Modernism gave
way to Brutalism, Corporate Modernism and High Tech architecture, culminating in structures like the
Georges Pompidou Centre in Paris, and the iconic Sydney Opera House - one of the first buildings to use
industrial strength Araldite to glue together the precast structural elements. Since 1970, postmodernist
architecture has taken several different approaches. Some designers have stripped buildings of all
ornamentation to create a Minimalist style; others have used ideas of Deconstructivism to move away
from traditional rectilinear shapes; while yet others have employed digital modeling software to create
totally new organic shapes in a process called Blobitecture. Famous post-war architects include: Miers
van der Rohe (1886-1969), Louis Kahn (1901-74), Jorn Utzon; Eero Saarinen (1910-61), Kenzo Tange
(1913-2005), IM Pei (b.1917), Norman Foster (b.1935), Richard Rogers, James Stirling (1926-92), Aldo
Rossi (1931-97), Frank O. Gehry (b.1929), Rem Koolhaas (b.1944), and Daniel Libeskind (b.1946). Famous
architectural groups or firms, include: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (est 1936); Venturi & Scott-Brown (est
1925); the New York Five - Peter Eisenman, Michael Graves, Charles Gwathmey, John Hejduk, Richard
Meier; and Herzog & de Meuron (est 1950)