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Etymologically, the term “Humanities” is from a Latin word humanus which means educated.

It refers to
the learning of arts such as architecture, dance, literature, music, painting, theatre, and sculpture
(Sanches, 2011). They are branches of knowledge that focuses on the human opinions, and relationships
(Machlis, 2003). As a branch of learning, the artwork is considered as the material object while its creativity
and appreciation is the formal object (Menoy, 2009& Marcos, et al., 2010).

Likewise, Humanities is more concerned on how a person expresses his/her feelings. These feelings
can be in facial manifestations or body movements. Laughing, crying, clenching our fists, curling our
toes, stretching out our fingers, and crossing our arms are representations of humanities (Menoy, 2009).

As a branch of knowledge, Humanities explores on human conditions through the use of analytical,
critical, or theoretical methods. These methods are in the form of ideas and words that help makes our life
more meaningful. Moreover, Humanities can also be as the study on how an individual documented and
processed his/her experiences particularly in connecting to others (Stanford University, 2016). Imparting
humanities as an academic science is designed to let our learners (particularly the new generations) become
creative and artistic individuals. Humanities help the students to connect with the community through art
exposure like museum outings, concerts, theatre performance, etc. (Marcos, 2010).

IMPORTANCE OF ART
Art is uniquely human and tied directly to culture. It takes the ordinary and makes it extraordinary. It asks
questions about who we are, what we value, the meaning of beauty and the human condition. As an expressive
medium it allows us to experience sublime joy, deep sorrow, confusion and clarity. It tests our strengths,
vulnerabilities and resolve. It gives voice to ideas and feeling, connects us to the past, reflects the present and
anticipates the future. Along these lines, art history, combined with anthropology and literature, are three main
sources in observing, recording and interpreting our human past.

Description of Art Appreciation

When we look around, we see a lot of things that relate to art. Art can come in the form of many items
such as posters, paintings, portraits, covers, and more. People look at art in different ideas that they want to
know more about or may be studying. Art can shows ideas about the past, what is currently happening and
what may happen in the future. It can also show meaning, love, boredom, and creativity (Ramos, 2012). Art
can be meaningful because of the colors, shapes, and depictions it can create.

Art Appreciation is a way to motivate ideas and allows individuals to illustrate their feelings when
they viewed an artwork. It helps develops critical and innovative skills in thinking and teaches essential
qualities in listening, observing, and responding to multiple viewpoints It also requires an ability to differentiate
what is apparent and what is not (Gargaro & Jilg, 2016 and Sanger, 2012).

The Creation of Arts

In our life, we experience so much fragmentation of our thoughts and feelings. But, by creating arts, it
brings things back together. We merely make art because of so many reasons, and we enjoy the process of it.

The word “art” is from a Latin arti, which means craftsmanship, inventiveness, mastery of form, skill. It
includes literature, music, paintings, photography, sculpture, etc. It serves as an original record of human needs
and achievements. It usually refers to the so-called “fine arts” (e.g., graphics, plastic, and building) and to the
so-called “minor arts” (everyday, useful, applied, and decorative arts). It is the process of using our senses and
emotions in making creative activities (Marcos, 2010). It is a human capability to make things beautiful (e.g.,
buildings, illustration, designing, painting, sculpture, and Photography) through the production of his/her
imagination depending on the preparation, theme, medium, and values used.
Significantly, the word artist comes from the French word artiste and the Spanish artista, which means
“performer.” It is someone who creates art that is merely trades and professions by which different people make
their livings (Goines, 2004).

Artist is most often refers to those who create within a context of the fine arts such as acting, dancing,
drawing, filmmaking, painting, sculpture, writing, photography, and music. They are those who use
imagination, and a skill to construct works that may be judged to have aesthetic importance. Creativity is a
characteristic of an artist that progressed in the extent of his/her life to express feelings. These are all processed
in three significant phases namely: Creation of Forms; Creation of Ideas; and Creation of the Materials
(Sanchez, 2011).

a. The Creations of ideas. Artists are usually impressionable persons. They used their experiences as their
basis in the making of dance, picture, a poem, or a play or a song. For example, a composer may write a
song on the developing romance between a man and a woman, or on the pains of a broken-hearted.

b. The Creations of the Materials. The artist uses different materials or mediums to give form to an idea.
For example, a painter uses pigments; a sculptor uses wood, metal or stone; an author uses words; and a
composer who uses musical sounds to determine the notes.

c. The Creations of Forms. There are diverse forms used by the artists in expressing their ideas. It is a
medium of artistic expression recognized as fine art. This form is used to explain the physical nature of
the artwork like in metal sculpture, an oil painting, etc.

CULTURE – set of shared attitudes, values, goals and practices that define a group of people such as people of a
particular region. The arts – vast subdivision of culture, composed of many creative endeavors and disciplines.

Functions of Arts

From the very beginning, arts have been part of human history. It described, defined, and deepened the
human experience. In the Prehistoric period for example, peoples performed songs and dances to gratify their
ancestors. Likewise, hunters brushed different figures on the walls of caves to depict their day to day
experiences. Arts also serve several functions which are item outcome to its purpose (Menoy, 2009), namely:

1. Individual Function- The artists perform arts because of the passion of their respective art forms. A
singer presents a concert for free because of his advocacy and the love of singing. For example, Regine
Velaquez (Asia’s Songbird) is well-known for possessing extensive vocal range.

2. Social Function- Man associates with others through his art performance that arouses social
consciousness. Examples of this association are the choral singing, group dancing, public art exhibits
and other practices.

3. Economic Functions- Arts are emerging as a potent force in the economic life of people assumes an
essential role as a direct and indirect contributor to state economies. Example of this is by generating
economic vitality in under-performing regions through crafts, tourism, and cultural attractions.

4. Political Functions- Art provides a forum for ideas that will lead to employment, prestige, status, and
power. During election period, for example, the candidates created their artworks (poster) which
expresses their propaganda, agendas and political views about making a stable society.
5. Historical Functions- Art is an essential technique for information to be recorded and preserved. It
serves to document or reconstruct historical figure and events. Most arts that are in Museums, for
example, are filled with amazing stories about the world most excellent and most creative people who
brought us the treasures. By looking at a work of art’s colors, materials, and symbolism, we can learn
about the story and culture that produced it in the past.

6. Cultural Functions- Art is an articulation and transmission of new information and values. Example,
when you think of Manila, you probably think of Fort Santiago, Luneta Park, and its world-renowned
churches, or the famous Intramuros.

7. Physical Functions- Buildings are artistically designed and constructed to protect their occupants and
make their life inside more meaningful. Architects, Industrial and Graphic Designers, and Interior
Decorators share responsibility in building environment that balance forms and functions.

8. Aesthetic Functions- Any artwork means beauty. It is visual spice for gracefully adorned interiors and
can bring out the most elegant features of different décor elements. It reasonably reproduced visual
images which communicate through fantastic persuasions and meaningful words.

Creative Process – means the process of generating new ideas, making connection between ideas and producing an
artwork based on those ideas. It is the ability to create or produce with originality one’s ideas or imaginations. It is an art
of nurturing inspiration. Creativity is creating an art work based on one’s own imagination and thoughts. It is
contributing of something that is new and innovative.

The creative process manifests in different ways and different timelines for each person. Anyone who is able to unlock
their creative potential goes through a similar process to bring an idea to life.

Preparation – the first stage is the idea od preparation, the idea that you are immersing yourself in the domain

Incubation – the second stage is what we call the incubation stage. This is when all the information that you have
gathered in the preparation stage goes back.

Insight – third stage is what most of the public think is a classical signal or sign of a creative person, what is called
insight stage or the insight step. It is the idea of “aha” moment the “eureka” moment

Evaluation – requires self-criticism and reflection. It is asking yourself questions like: “is the novel or new idea or is it
one that is just re- hashed and has been done before?”

Elaboration – final stage of the creative process. It is when the hard work happens. Your creative product might be a
physical object, an advertising campaign, a song, novel, architectural design – any item or object that you set out to
create, propelled by that initial idea that popped into your head.

AS YOU EMBARK ON YOUR OWN CREATIVE PROCESS, UNLEASH YOUR MIND AND LET YOUR IDEAS GROW THROUGH
THE FIVE STAGE OF CREATIVITY.

HUMANITIES AND ART HAVE ALWAYS BEEN PART OF MANS GROWTH AND CIVILIZATION. SINCE THE DAWN OF TIME,
MAN HAS ALWAYS TRIED TO EXPRESS HIS INNERMOST THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS ABOUT REALITY THROUGH
CREATING ART.
BASIC ASSUMPTIONS OF ART
ART IS UNIVERSAL - art has always been timeless and universal, spanning generation and continents through and
through.

ART IS NOT NATURE – art is mans expression of his reception of nature. Art is mans a way of interpreting nature

ART INVOLVES EXPERIENCE – unlike field of knowledge that involve data, art is known by in experiencing, a work of
art then cannot be abstracted from actual doing. In order to know what an artwork is, we have sense it, see or hear it,
and see and hear it.

ART AS A SKILL OR MASTERY


ART AS A PROCESS OR PRODUCT OF A CREATIVE SKILL
ART AS UNIVERSAL LANGUANGE
ART AS REPRESENTATION OF REALITY
ART REFLECTS THE CHARACTERISTICS OF A PERIOD
ART SHOWS THE MANNER OF EXISTENCE OF THE PEOPLE O LONG AGO

ELEMENTS OF ART (THE BULDING BLOCKS OR INGREDIENTS OF ART)


Line – a mark with length and direction. A continuous mark made on a surface by a moving point.

Color – consists of hue (another word for color) intensity (brightness) and value (lightness or darkness)

Value – the lightness or darkness of a color (The denman Ross value scale) ex. The old guitar by pablo Picasso

Shape – an enclosed area defined and determined by other art elements: 2 dimensional. Ex. Fruit displayed on a stand
by Gustave Caillbeotte 1881

Form – a 3 – dimensional object; or something ina 2d artwork that appears to be 3d. for example. A triangle, whihch is
2d, is shape but a pyramid is 3d is a form…… ex configuration of serpentine by jean arp

Space – the distance or area between, around, above, below or within things. Ex. Foreground, middleground,
background creates depth……. Positive (filled with something) and negative (empty areas)

Texture – the surface quality or quot;feel and qout;of an object, its smoothness, roughness, softness, etc texture
maybe actual or implied

PRINCIPLES OF ART (WHAT WE USE TO ORGANIZE THE ELEMENTS OF ART, OR THE TOOLS TO
MAKE ART)
BALANCE – THE WAY THE ELEMENTS ARE ARRANGED TO CREATE A FEELING OF STABILITY IN A WORK

SYMMETRICAL – THE PARTS OF THE IMAGE ARE ORGANIZED SO THAT ONE SIDE MIRRORS THE OTHER EX LEONARDO
DA VINCI

ASSYMETRICAL – ONE SIDE OF A COMPOSITION DOES NOT REFLECT THE DESOGN OF OTHER EX JAMES WHISTLER

EMPHASIS – THE FOCAL POINT OF AN IMAGE OR WHEN ONE AREA OR THING STAND OUT THE MOST
CONTRAST – A LARGE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN TWO THINGS TO CREATE INTEREST AND TENSION

RHYTHM – A REGULAR REPETITION OF ELEMENTS TO PRODUCE THE LOOK AND FEEL OF MOVEMENT

PATTERN – REPETITION OF A DESIGN

UNITY – ALL THE ELEMENTS AND PRINCIPLES WORK TOGETHER TO CREATE A PLEASING IMAGE

VARIETY – USE OF DIFFERENCES AND CHANGE TO INCREASE THE VISUAL INTEREST OF THE WORK

PROPORTION – COMPARATIVE RELATIONSHIP OF ONE PART TO ANOTHER WITH RESPECT TO SIZE, QUANTITY, OR
DEGREE, SCALEs

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND OF ART


PRE-HISTORIC ART – 40,000-4,000 B.C

PaleoLascaux cave paintings, Paleolithic era


Characteristics: Rock carvings, pictorial imagery, sculptures, and stone arrangements

ANCIENT ART – 30,000 B.C-A. D 400

Mesopotamia (Middle east), Code of Hammurabi, 1754 B.C


Characteristics: Religious and symbolic imagery, decorations for utilitarian objects, mythological stories

MEDIEVAL ART – A. D 500-A. D 1,400

Giotto Lamentation of Christ 1305


Cimabue, Crucifix, 1288
Characteristics: Dark imagery, biblical subjects, classical mythology, gothic architecture

RENAISSANCE – 1400-1600

Mona Lisa, 1503


Characteristics: Natural elements, individualism, realism, Attention to detail, precision of human anatomy

MANNERISM – 1527-1580

Bronzino, venus cupid, folly and time, 1560


Characteristics: Stylized features, exaggerated details, decorative elements

BAROQUE – 1600-1750

Caravaggio, the calling of st matthew, 1600


Characteristics: ornate, grandeur, richness, stylistically complex, dramatic

ROCOCO – 1699-1780

Antoine Watteau, embarication for cythera, 1718


Characteristics: Lightness, elegance, natural forms, asymmetrical designs, subtle colors

NEOCLASSICISM – 1750-1850
Jacques-louis David, napoleon crossing the alps, 1801
Characteristics: Renewed interest in classical antiquity, harmony, simplicity, and proportion

ROMATICISM – 1780-1850

William blake, the ghost of a flea, 1820


characteristics: imaginative elements, focus on passion, emotion, and observing the senses

REALISM – 1848-1900

Jean-francois millet, the gleaners, 1857


characteristics: Detailed depiction of everyday life

ART NOVEAU – 1890-1910

Alphonse mucha, princess hyacinth, 1911


Characteristics: long, sinous lines and carves

IMPRESSIONISM – 1865-1885

Claude monet, impression, sunrise, 1899


Characteristics: Short, quick brushworks, separation of color, sketch-like finish, modern subject matter

POST IMPRESSIONISM – 1885-1910

Georges Seurat, A Sunday afternoon on the island of la grande jatte, 1886


Characteristics: Subjective visions, symbolism, abstraction

FAUVISM – 1900-1935
Henri matisse, woman with a hat, 1905
characteristics: Expressive color, line and brushwork, bold surface design, flat composition

EXPRESSIONISM – 1905-1920

Edvard munch, the dance of life, 1900


characteristics: Distortion of form, strong use of colors

CUBISM – 1907-1914

Georges Braque, violin and palette, 1909


characteristics: Abstraction, flat, 2-d surfaces, geometric forms, contrasting vintage points

SURREALISM – 1917-1950

Rene Magrite, the son of man, 1964


characteristics: Exploration of dreams and unconsciousness, inspired by Sigmund freud

ABSTRACT EXPRESSIONISM – 1940-1950’S

Jackson pollock, autumn rhythm number 30, 1950


Characteristics: spontaneity, improvisation, colossally scaled works, unique techniques

OP ART AND POP ART – 1950’S-1960’S


Op art – bridget riley, blaze, 1964
Characteristics: Use of color, patterns , shapes and contrast to create images that appeared to be moving or blurring

Pop art – andy Warhol, campbells soup cans, 1962


Characteristics: Use of everyday, mundane objects, bold, vivid color, mass media

MINIMALISM AND CONCEPTUAL ART – 1960’S-1970’S

Arte povera 1960, Mario merz, giaps igloo, 1968


Characteristics: use of soil, rock, paper and other natural elements to create a pre industrial sentiment

Minimalism – frank stella, black series I, 1967


characteristics: A focus on exactly what art portrays, aside from outside realities and emotions

Conceptual art mide 1960-1970

Joseph kosuth, one and three chairs, 1965


characteristics: A focus on exactly what art portrays, aside from outside realities and emotions

CONTEMPORARY ART – 1970-PRESENT

Jeff koons, Michael Jackson and bubbles, 1988


Characteristics: Exploration of post modernism, feminist art, neo expressionism, street art, appropriation art, digital
art and other small schools

 https://www.invaluable.com/blog/art-history-timeline/
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Home  Fine Art  Art History Timeline: Western Art Movements and Their Impact

Art History Timeline: Western Art Movements and Their


Impact
Fresco painting in St. Charles's church in Vienna
Estimated Reading Time:  12 minutes
 • 
Last updated: 04.12.19
The foundation of art history can be traced back tens of thousands of years to when ancient
civilizations used available techniques and media to depict culturally significant subject matter. Since
these early examples, a plethora of art movements have followed, each bearing their own distinct
styles and characteristics that reflect the political and social influences of the period from which they
emerged.

Influential genres of art from the Renaissance to the rise of Modernism have undoubtedly made their
mark on history. With many artists today like Banksy, Kerry James Marshall, Mickalene Thomas,
and Kehinde Wiley consistently infusing art historical references into contemporary works,
understanding the historical context and significance of each period and movement is critical for
collectors and art enthusiasts alike. Below is a comprehensive art movements timeline that explores
the characteristics, leading contributors, and important influences of each prominent period in the
history of Western art.

A Concise Timeline of WESTERN ART


HISTORY
Click on the genres below to learn more about key characteristics and leading contributors
of Western art’s pivotal periods.

1. Prehistoric Art~40,000–4,000 B.C.

Lascaux cave paintings,


Paleolithic era

2. Ancient Art30,000 B.C.–A.D. 400

Mesopotamia, Code of Hammurabi, 1754 B.C.

3. MedievalA.D. 500–A.D. 1400


Cimabue, Crucifix, 1288

4. Renaissance1400–1600

Raphael, The School of Athens,


1511

5. Mannerism1527–1580
Bronzino, Venus, Cupid, Folly and Time, 1540

6. Baroque1600–1750

Caravaggio, The Calling of St Matthew, 1600

7. Rococo1699–1780
Antoine
Watteau, Embarkation for Cythera, 1718

8. Neoclassicism1750–1850

Jacques-Louis David, Napoleon Crossing the Alps, 1801

9. Romanticism1780–1850
William Blake, The Ghost of a Flea, 1820

10. Realism1848–1900

Jean-François Millet, The
Gleaners, 1857

11. Art Nouveau1890–1910


Alphonse Mucha, Princess Hyacinth, 1911

12. Impressionism1865–1885

Claude Monet, Impression, Sunrise,


1899

13. Post-Impressionism1885–1910
Georges Seurat, A
Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, 1886

14. Fauvism1900–1935

Henri Matisse, Woman with a Hat, 1905

15. Expressionism1905–1920
Edvard Munch, The
Dance of Life, 1900

16. Cubism1907–1914

Georges Braque, Violin and Palette, 1909

17. Surrealism1917–1950
René Magritte, The Son of Man, 1964

18. Abstract Expressionism1940–1950s

Jackson
Pollock, Autumn Rhythm (Number 30), 1950

19. Op Art1950s–1960s
Bridget Riley, Blaze, 1964

20. Pop Art1950s–1960s

Andy
Warhol, Campbell's Soup Cans, 1962

21. Arte Povera1960s


Mario Merz, Giap’s Igloo, 1968

22. Minimalism1960s–1970s

Frank Stella, Black Series


I, 1967

23. Conceptual Artmid-1960s–mid-1970s


Joseph Kosuth, One and Three
Chairs, 1965

24. Contemporary Art1970–present

Jeff Koons, Michael Jackson and


Bubbles, 1988
CHARACTERISTICSRock carvings, pictorial imagery, sculptures, and stone arrangements
LEADING CONTRIBUTORSPrehistoric cultures that existed before the advent of a written language
INFLUENTIAL WORKSLascaux cave paintings, Paleolithic era

Prehistoric Art (~40,000–4,000 B.C.)


The origins of art history can be traced back to the Prehistoric era, before written records were kept.
The earliest artifacts come from the Paleolithic era, or the Old Stone Age, in the form of rock carvings,
engravings, pictorial imagery, sculptures, and stone arrangements.

Art from this period relied on the use of natural pigments and stone carvings to create representations
of objects, animals, and rituals that governed a civilization’s existence. One of the most famous
examples is that of the Paleolithic cave paintings found in the complex caves of Lascaux in France.
Though discovered in 1940, they’re estimated to be up to 20,000 years old and depict large animals
and vegetation from the area.

Ancient Art (4,000 B.C.–A.D. 400)


Unknown, Code of Hammurabi, circa 1792 and circa 1750 B.C. Image via Wikimedia Commons.
Ancient art was produced by advanced civilizations, which in this case refers to those with an
established written language. These civilizations included Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, and those of
the Americas.
The medium of a work of art from this period varies depending on the civilization that produced it, but
most art served similar purposes: to tell stories, decorate utilitarian objects like bowls and weapons,
display religious and symbolic imagery, and demonstrate social status. Many works depict stories of
rulers, gods, and goddesses.

One of the most famous works from ancient Mesopotamia is the Code of Hammurabi. Created around
1792 B.C., the piece bears a Babylonian set of laws carved in stone, adorned by an image of King
Hammurabi—the sixth King of Babylonia—and the Mesopotamian god, Shabash.

Medieval Art (500–1400)


Simone Martini. Sold for $4,114,500 via  Sotheby’s (January 2012).
The Middle Ages, often referred to as the “Dark Ages,” marked a period of economic and cultural
deterioration following the fall of the Roman Empire in 476 A.D. Much of the artwork produced in the
early years of the period reflects that darkness, characterized by grotesque imagery and brutal
scenery. Art produced during this time was centered around the Church. As the first millennium
passed, more sophisticated and elaborately decorated churches emerged; windows and silhouettes
were adorned with biblical subjects and scenes from classical mythology.

This period was also responsible for the emergence of the illuminated manuscript and Gothic
architecture style. Definitive examples of influential art from this period include the catacombs in
Rome, Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, the Lindisfarne Gospels, one of the best-known examples of the
illuminated manuscript, and Notre Dame, a Parisian cathedral and prominent example of Gothic
architecture.

Renaissance Art (1400–1600)


Raffaello Sanzio da Urbin, The School of Athens, 1511. Image via Wikimedia Commons.
This style of painting, sculpture, and decorative art was characterized by a focus on nature
and individualism, the thought of man as independent and self-reliant. Though these ideals were
present in the late Medieval period, they flourished in the 15th and 16th centuries, paralleling social
and economic changes like secularization.
The Renaissance reached its height in Florence, Italy, due in large part to the Medici, a wealthy
merchant family who adamantly supported the arts and humanism, a variety of beliefs and
philosophies that places emphasis on the human realm. Italian designer Filippo Brunelleschi and
sculptor Donatello were key innovators during this period.
The High Renaissance, which lasted from 1490 to 1527, produced influential artists such as da Vinci,
Michelangelo, and Raphael, each of whom brought creative power and spearheaded ideals of
emotional expression. Artwork throughout the Renaissance was characterized by realism, attention to
detail, and precise study of human anatomy. Artists used linear perspective and created depth
through intense lighting and shading. Art began to change stylistically shortly after the High
Renaissance, when clashes between the Christian faith and humanism gave way to Mannerism.

Mannerism (1527–1580)
Follower of Giorgio Vasari, The Holy Family, 17th century. Offered for €6,000 – 8,000 via  Artcurial (May
2010).
Mannerist artists emerged from the ideals of Michelangelo, Raphael, and other Late Renaissance
artists, but their focus on style and technique outweighed the meaning of the subject matter. Often,
figures had graceful, elongated limbs, small heads, stylized features and exaggerated details. This
yielded more complex, stylized compositions rather than relying on the classical ideals of harmonious
composition and linear perspective used by their Renaissance predecessors.

Some of the most celebrated Mannerist artists include Giorgio Vasari, Francesco Salviati, Domenico
Beccafumi, and Bronzino, who is widely considered to be the most important Mannerist painter in
Florence during his time.

Baroque (1600–1750)
Caravaggio, The Calling of Saint Matthew, circa 1599-1600. Image via Wikimedia Commons.
The Baroque period that followed Mannerism yielded ornate, over-the-top visual arts and architecture.
It was characterized by grandeur and richness, punctuated by an interest in broadening human
intellect and global discovery. Baroque artists were stylistically complex.
Baroque paintings were characterized by drama, as seen in the iconic works of Italian painter
Caravaggio and Dutch painter Rembrandt. Painters used an intense contrast between light and dark
and had energetic compositions matched by rich color palettes.

Rococo (1699–1780)
Antoine Watteau, The Embarkation for Cythera 1717. Image via Wikimedia Commons.
Rococo originated in Paris, encompassing decorative art, painting, architecture, and sculpture. The
aesthetic offered a softer style of decorative art compared to Baroque’s exuberance. Rococo is
characterized by lightness and elegance, focusing on the use of natural forms, asymmetrical design,
and subtle colors.

Painters like Antoine Watteau and Francois Boucher used lighthearted treatments, rich brushwork,
and fresh colors. The Rococo style also easily translated to silver, porcelain, and French furniture.
Many chairs and armoires featured curving forms, floral designs, and an expressive use of gilt.

Neoclassicism (1750–1850)
Jacques-Louis David, Napoleon Crossing the Alps, 1801. Image via Wikimedia Commons.
As its name suggests, the Neoclassical period drew upon elements from classical antiquity.
Archaeological ruins of ancient civilizations in Athens and Naples that were discovered at the time
reignited a passion for all things past, and artists strove to recreate the great works of ancient art.
This translated to a renewed interest in classical ideals of harmony, simplicity, and proportion.

Neoclassical artists were influenced by classical elements; in particular, a focus on idealism.


Inevitably, they also included modern, historically relevant depictions in their works. For example,
Italian sculptor Antonio Canova drew upon classical elements in his marble sculptures, but avoided
the cold artificiality that was represented in many of these early creations.

Romanticism (1780–1850)
William Blake,  The Descent of Man into the Vale of Death. Sold for $225,000 via Sotheby’s  (January 2016).
Romanticism embodies a broad range of disciplines, from painting to music to literature. The ideals
present in each of these art forms reject order, harmony, and rationality, which were embraced in
both classical art and Neoclassicism. Instead, Romantic artists emphasized the individual and
imagination. Another defining Romantic ideal was an appreciation for nature, with many turning
to plein air painting, which brought artists out of dark interiors and enabled them to paint outside.
Artists also focused on passion, emotion, and sensation over intellect and reason.
Prominent Romantic painters include Henry Fuseli, who created strange, macabre paintings that
explored the dark recesses of human psychology, and William Blake, whose mysterious poems and
images conveyed mystical visions and his disappointment in societal constraints.

Realism (1848–1900)
Jean-François Millet, The Gleaners, 1857. Image via Wikimedia Commons.
Arguably the first modern art movement, Realism, began in France in the 1840s. Realism was a
result of multiple events: the anti-Romantic movement in Germany, the rise of journalism, and the
advent of photography. Each inspired new interest in accurately capturing everyday life. This attention
to accuracy is evident in art produced during the movement, which featured detailed, life-like
depictions of subject matter.

One of the most influential leaders of the Realist movement is Gustave Courbet, a French artist
committed to painting only what he could physically see.

Art Nouveau (1890–1910)


Alphonse Mucha, Princess Hyazinthe, 1911. Image via Wikimedia Commons.
Art Nouveau, which translates to “New Art,” attempted to create an entirely authentic movement free
from any imitation of styles that preceded it. This movement heavily influenced applied arts, graphics,
and illustration. It focused on the natural world, characterized by long, sinuous lines and curves.
Influential Art Nouveau artists worked in a variety of media, including architecture, graphic and interior
design, jewelry-making, and painting. Czechoslovakian graphic designer Alphonse Mucha is best-
known for his theatrical posters of French actress Sarah Bernhardt. Spanish architect and sculptor
Antoni Gaudi went beyond focusing on lines to create curving, brightly-colored constructions like that
of the Basilica de la Sagrada Familia in Barcelona.

Impressionism (1865–1885)
Claude Monet, Impression, Sunrise, 1872. Image via Wikimedia Commons.
Impressionist painters sought to capture the immediate impression of a particular moment. This was
characterized by short, quick brushstrokes and an unfinished, sketch-like feel. Impressionist artists
used modern life as their subject matter, painting situations like dance halls and sailboat regattas
rather than historical and mythological events.
Claude Monet, a French artist who spearheaded the idea of expressing one’s perceptions before
nature, is virtually synonymous with the Impressionist movement. His notable works include The Water
Lily Pond (1899), Woman with a Parasol (1875), and Impression, Sunrise (1872), from which the name of
the movement itself is derived.

Post-Impressionism (1885–1910)
George Seurat, A Sunday on the Island of La Grande Jatte, 1884. Image via Wikimedia Commons.
Post-Impressionist painters worked independently rather than as a group, but each influential Post-
Impressionist painter had similar ideals. They concentrated on subjective visions and symbolic,
personal meanings rather than observations of the outside world. This was often achieved through
abstract forms.

Post-Impressionist painters include Georges Seurat, noted for his pointillism technique that used
small, distinct dots to form an image. Vincent van Gogh is also considered a Post-Impressionist
painter, searching for personal expression through his art, often through rugged brushstrokes and
dark tones.

Fauvism (1900–1935)
Henri Matisse, Woman With a Hat, 1905. Image via Wikimedia Commons.
Led by Henri Matisse, Fauvism built upon examples from Vincent van Gogh and George Seurat. As
the first avant-garde, 20th-century movement, this style was characterized by expressive use of
intense color, line, and brushwork, a bold sense of surface design, and flat composition.
As seen in many of the works of Matisse himself, the separation of color from its descriptive,
representational purpose was one of the core elements that shaped this movement. Fauvism was an
important precursor of Cubism and Expressionism.

Expressionism (1905–1920)
Edvard Munch, The Dance of Life, 1899. Image via Wikimedia Commons.
Expressionism emerged as a response to increasingly conflicted world views and the loss of
spirituality. Expressionist art sought to draw from within the artist, using a distortion of form and strong
colors to display anxieties and raw emotions. Expressionist painters, in a quest for authenticity,
looked for inspiration beyond that of Western art and frequented ethnographic museums to revisit
native folk traditions and tribal art.
The roots of Expressionism can be traced to Vincent van Gogh, Edvard Munch, and James Ensor.
Prominent groups including Die Brücke (The Bridge) and Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider) formed
so artists could publish works and express their ideals collectively.

Cubism (1907–1914)
Violin and Palette, Georges Braque, 1909. Image via Wikimedia Commons.
Cubism was established by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque, who rejected the concept that art
should copy nature. They moved away from traditional techniques and perspectives; instead, they
created radically fragmented objects through abstraction. Many Cubist painters’ works are marked by
flat, two-dimensional surfaces, geometric forms or “cubes” of objects, and multiple vantage points.
Often, their subjects weren’t even discernible.

Surrealism (1916–1950)
René Magritte, The Son of Man, 1964. Image via Wikipedia.
Surrealism emerged from the Dada art movement in 1916, showcasing works of art that defied
reason. Surrealists denounced the rationalist mindset. They blamed this thought process on events
like World War I and believed it to repress imaginative thoughts. Surrealists were influenced by Karl
Marx and theories developed by Sigmund Freud, who explored psychoanalysis and the power of
imagination.
Influential Surrealist artists like Salvador Dalí tapped into the unconscious mind to depict revelations
found on the street and in everyday life. Dalí’s paintings in particular pair vivid and bizarre dreams
with historical accuracy.

Abstract Expressionism (1940s–1950s)


Shaped by the legacy of Surrealism, Abstract Expressionism emerged in New York after WWII. It’s
often referred to as the New York School or action painting. These painters and abstract
sculptors broke away from what was considered conventional, and instead used spontaneity and
improvisation to create abstract works of art. This included colossally-scaled works whose size could
no longer be accommodated by an easel. Instead, canvases would be placed directly upon the floor.
Celebrated Abstract Expressionist painters include Jackson Pollock, known for his unique style of drip
painting, and Mark Rothko, whose paintings employed large blocks of color to convey a sense of
spirituality.

Op Art (1950s–1960s)
Heightened by advances in science and technology as well as an interest in optical effects and
illusions, the Op art (short for “optical” art) movement launched with Le Mouvement, a group exhibition
at Galerie Denise Rene in 1955. Artists active in this style used shapes, colors, and patterns to create
images that appeared to be moving or blurring, often produced in black and white for maximum
contrast. These abstract patterns were meant to both confuse and excite the eye.
English artist Bridget Riley is one of the most prominent Op Art practitioners. Her 1964
artwork Blaze features zigzag black and white lines that create the illusion of a circular decent.

Pop Art (1950s–1960s)

Andy Warhol. Sold for $17,327,500 via Sotheby’s (May 1998).


Pop art is one of the most recognizable artistic developments of the 20th century. The movement
transitioned away from methods used in Abstract Expressionism, and instead used everyday,
mundane objects to create innovative works of art that challenged consumerism and mass media.
This introduction to identifiable imagery was a shift from the direction of modernism.
Pop artists like Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein sought to establish the idea that art can draw from
any source and there is no hierarchy of culture to disrupt that. Perhaps the most famous pop culture
work of art is Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup Cans production.

Arte Povera (1960s)


Translating literally to “poor art,” Arte Povera challenged modernist, contemporary systems by
infusing commonplace materials into creations. Artists used soil, rocks, paper, rope, and other
earthen elements to evoke a pre-industrial sentiment. As a result, many of the notable works during
this movement are sculptural.

Italian artist Mario Merz, in conjunction with other Italian artists such as Giovanni Anselmo
and Alighiero Boetti, created anti-elitist works by drawing upon materials from everyday life. His
1968 Giap’s Igloo, one of what would soon become his signature series of igloos, focused on his
occupations with the necessities of life: shelter, warmth, and food.

Minimalism (1960s–1970s)
The Minimalist movement emerged in New York as a group of younger artists began to question the
overly expressive works of Abstract Expressionist artists. Minimalist art instead focused on
anonymity, calling attention to the materiality of works. Artists urged viewers to focus on precisely
what was in front of them, rather than draw parallels to outside realities and emotive thoughts through
the use of purified forms, order, simplicity, and harmony.
American artist Frank Stella was of the earliest adopters of Minimalism, producing
nonrepresentational paintings, as seen in his Black Paintings completed between 1958 and 1960.
Each features a pattern of rectilinear stripes of uniform width printed in metallic black ink.

Conceptual Art (1960s–1970s)


Conceptual art completely rejected previous art movements, and artists prized ideas over visual
components, creating art in the from of performances, ephemera, and other forms. Polish
performance artist Ewa Partum’s Active Poetry consisted of her scattering single alphabet letters
across various landscapes. American artist Joseph Kosuth explored the production and role of
language within art, as seen in his 1965, One and Three Chairs. In it, he represents one chair in three
different ways to represent different meanings of the same object. Because this type of art focused on
ideas and concepts, there was no distinct style or form.

Contemporary Art (1970–present)


The 1970s marked the beginning of contemporary art, which extends through present day. This
period is dominated by various schools and smaller movements that emerged.

 Postmodernism: In reaction against modernism, artists created works that reflected


skepticism, irony, and philosophical critiques.
 Feminist art: This movement arose in an attempt to transform stereotypes and break the
model of a male-dominated art history.
 Neo Expressionism: Artists sought to revive original aspects of Expressionism and create
highly textural, expressive, large works.
 Street art: Artists such as Keith Haring, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Barry McGee, Banksy, and
more created graffiti-like art on surfaces in public places like sidewalks, buildings, and
overpasses.
 The Pictures Generation: Artists Cindy Sherman, Louise Lawler, Gary Simmons, and others
who were influenced by Conceptual and Pop art experimented with recognizable imagery to
explore images shaped our perceptions of the world.
 Appropriation art: This movement focused on the use of images in art with little
transformation from their original form.
 Young British Artists (YBA): This group of London artists were notorious for their willingness
to shock audiences through their imagery, and a willingness to push beyond limits of
decency. They’re also known for their zestful, entrepreneurial spirit.
 Digital art: The advent of the camera lent way to this artistic practice that allowed artists to
use the infusion of art and technology to create with mediums like computers, audio and
visual software, sound, and pixels.