Art movements have always been full of change, expression and often communicate the way that people perceive the world around them. Here we present you with 6 different artistic styles and give you some highlights of the Artistic movements for you to understand them.

Some highlights of the Artistic movements
Art movements have always been full of change and expression. Photo Source: Unsplash

The Highlights Of Pop Art

Began Late 1950’s

Pop artists 20th century art found that fine art was too far removed from the lives of modern people. So they created art that represented the times that they were living in. Drawing inspiration from everything around them. From soup cans to Hollywood celebrities. The pop art movement was famous from the USA to the UK, although British artists modern artists had a different style. The art critic often questioned if this Decorative arts style was actually art due to its lack of brushwork a

Pop Artist: Rosenquist

James Rosenquist was born into a family of pilots who frequently moved for work. Rosenquist grew up to be fiercely independent, working from a young age doing a variety of odd jobs to earn money. Due to paper being in short supply at the time Rosenquist made do with drawing on wallpaper that had been thrown away. His mother, who was an amateur painter, noticed his talent and supported Rosenquist with trips to art schools, museums and galleries.

All of which lead him to win a scholarship at a prestigious art school where he got to work with real artists. To support himself, he took up work as a commercial sign painter who was hard work and took a lot of effort. These experiences were some of the founding points in Rosenquist’s life that helped to shape his artistic style and later success.

  • Top Artworks: President Elect (1960/61), F-111 (1964/65), Marilyn Monroe I (1962), Swimmer in the econo-mist (1997/98), Stowaway peers out of the speed of light (2000)
  • Birthplace: USA
  • Lifeline: 1933 - 2017
  • Art Style: Pop art
  • Art Forms: Painting

Popular Pop Art Work: Marilyn Diptych, 1962

The term diptych means a 2 panelled artwork, this style of art was often used in early religious art. He cleverly used symbolism to compare the cult of celebrity to the cult of religion. The image is a picture of Marilyn’s head repeated and stacked like products on a shelf. On the right side, the heads are in colour, and on the left, they are in black and white. The dramatic fading that can be seen represented the fading of Monroe’s stardom.

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They created art that represented something new.
Artists found that fine art was too far removed from the lives of modern people. Photo Source: Unsplash

The Highlights Of Surrealism

Began In The Early 1920s

Surrealists were interested in dreams and the unconscious mind. They sought to explore and present their work without rationalising the images created. It stemmed completely from imagination and was art in its purest form.

Surrealist Artist: Ernst

Max Ernst, shocked by his time as a soldier in World War 1, expressed his trauma after onto the canvas by mocking western culture.  He became influential in both the surrealist and the dada movements. For his candid ability to discover, present and reveal his unconscious thoughts and feelings in the art form, further deepening the discovery of himself through his creativity.

  • Top Artworks: Here everything is still floating (1920), Celebes (1921)
  • Birthplace: Germany
  • Lifeline: 1891 - 1976
  • Art Style: Surrealist, Dadaist, Modern art movements
  • Other: Performance artist
  • Inspired by: Dada movement,
  • Art Forms: Painting and Modern sculpture

Popular Surrealist Work: The Metamorphosis Of Narcissus

Based on an interpretation of the Greek myth of Narcissus. A handsome man who broke the hearts of all who loved him turned into a flower for falling in love with himself unknowingly and then committing suicide when it was revealed. Painted in 1937 Dali highlight themes of life and death, and uses symbolism to communicate his idea of time and emotion.

The Highlights Of Cubism

Began In 1907

Cubism challenges the idea of how you see something, it presents you with all sides of an item at the same time. Challenging the idea of perception, art and composition.

Cubist Artist: Picasso

Pablo Ruiz Picasso invented Cubism although he did not like the term. He worked with another artist called George Braque to develop cubism. He was one of the most influential young artists in the 20th century. He also invented collage and laid the foundation for other art movements like symbolism and surrealism.

  • Top Artworks: The three dancers (1925), The old guitarist (1904), The weeping woman (1937), Bull's head (1942)
  • Birthplace: Spain
  • Lifeline: 1881 - 1973
  • Art Style: Cubist, Surrealist, Symbolist
  • Inspired by: Geometric forms, Abstract painters like Abstract expressionist Jackson Pollock and Surrealist artists
  • Art Forms: Painting, printing and sculpting

Popular Cubist Art Work: Guernica

Inspired by abstract artists One of his most important pieces of work was Guernica, a mural about the civil war in Spain. It toured the world and opened the eyes and hearts of people to the effects of war. Painted in 1937, the work was a symbolic - Cubist masterpiece that was over 25 feet long and 11 feet high. It consumes your vision and gives you no escape. Everything looks like a sorrowful monochromatic confusion, but each piece has meaning.

The Highlights Of Impressionism

Began In 1860

Impressionists wanted to get out of the studio and into the fresh air, they wanted to allow inspiration to hit them using natural, spontaneous composition. No preparation or pre-planning was required, and light, played a huge part in the works. Art criticism often spoke about the brushwork which they feel to appear unfinished.

Impressionist Artist: Degas

Edgar Degas was interested in the forms of the human body and enjoyed capturing it in contorted positions. Rather than the traditional ways, he especially enjoyed painting the female form. Seeking models in new situations like dance, street scenes or the brothel. In fact, it was his choice of subject that most often earned Degas the most criticism.

Degas’ compositions make you feel like a distant spectator, glancing at something that you have seen a million time but never considered worthy of capturing. He captures the between moments in life, rather like someone lurking behind the scenes noting your secrets after you have closed the door to the world.

  • Top Artworks: The ballet class (1871 - 1874), Ballet rehearsal on stage (1874), Woman combing her hair (1887 - 1890)
  • Birthplace: France
  • Lifeline: 1834 - 1917
  • Art Style: Impressionism, Realism, Japonism
  • Art Forms: Paint, Prints and Sculptures

Popular Impressionist Art Work: The Water Lilies (Les Nympheas)

The surface of these paintings are rough when you look close up, but from afar, they appear smooth. There are hundreds of these images in museums around the world. Some are huge and others small, but they all pull you in. With visual vibrancy, curiosity and intrigue.

I feel that Monet is playing with the idea of permanence and impermanence. As what you see depends on where you stand, the water is the permanent foundation, but at the same time, it is ever changing. As you feel you know what you will see it changes, which is a nice philosophical way to look at many things in life. Impressionist painters used this technique often in their paintings.

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A new and none permanent yellow colour
Van Gogh used these impermanent colours on purpose. Photo Source: Unsplash

The Highlights Of Expressionism

Began In 1912

Expressionists wanted to move away from classically taught techniques and express their emotions on the canvas. Thick and swirling brushstrokes defined the style. Expressionist artists created a way to express themselves emotionally

Expressionist Artist: Kandinsky

Wassily Kandinsky was born in 1866 in Moscow to upper-class parents. From an early age, he showed a talent for art through sounds, words and colours. His father paid for him to study art and music; however, it was not until he was 30 that he seriously decided to pursue his art.

As well as being an expressionist, Kandinsky is also the pioneer of the abstract art movement. He interrelated colour and form to create an experience which evoked all emotions. He wanted to communicate spirituality through art and inspire an aesthetic experience like visual poetry. Music was greatly incorporated into his process, and he worked to replicate the freedom of sound within his paintings.

  • Top artworks: The Blue Rider (1903), The blue mountain (1908/9), Composition IV (1911)
  • Birthplace: Russia
  • Lifeline: 1866 - 1944
  • Art Style: Expressionism and abstract expressionism
  • Inspired by: Post-impressionists,
  • Art Forms: Painting

Popular Expressionist Work: Vase With Twelve Sunflowers

Van Gogh's paintings of sunflowers of some of the most famous painting in his collection. Painted in the south of France Van Gogh painted a series of 5 images of sunflowers in a vase. In the image, if you look closely, you might notice that he only used a few colours to paint the entire picture, namely 3 tones of yellow. He wanted to demonstrate it was possible to paint an image with only a single colour.

He painted the series to communicate gratitude, happiness and hope. The colour that he used was a new and none permanent yellow colour which is why today the painting has faded from their former glory. Van Gogh used these impermanent colours on purpose and is quoted as saying paintings fade like flowers. The images have started boldly with bright, vibrant colour and through the centuries have slowly faded and muted in their vibrancy.

The Highlights Of Baroque

Began In 1600

Baroque artists like Caravaggio were commissioned by the church and religious institutions to create extravagant artwork.  Although not exclusively, the work highlighted the power of the Catholic church. Paintings, buildings, music, literature and dance all expressed the style.

Baroque Artist: Van Dyck

Sir Anthony van Dyck was born in Antwerp, his artistic career started early with his first painting being at age 17. By age 20 he was already in the service of the king of England where he became one of the leading painters at court. Passionate about his craft, he travelled to Italy and the Netherlands for an extended period to gain more inspiration and experience. By the time he returned to English court, he was well renowned and successful. He is well known for his portraits of King Charles I.

  • Top Artworks: Charles I at the hunt, Charles I in three positions, Cupid and psyche
  • Birthplace: Antwerp, Belgium
  • Lifeline: 1599 - 1641
  • Art Style: Baroque (European art)
  • Art Forms: Painting

Popular Baroque Work: Judith Slaying Holofernes

This painting is of a heroic woman called Judith, by Artemisia Gentileschi (one of a small number of Female artists). The figures are bursting out of the darkness. Beautifully highlighted figures fill the foreground in a luminous but dim light. The story is that the heroic woman Judith hatched a plan to catch the eye of the general, Holofernes who leads the Assyrian army. The same army which has laid siege to her town Bethulia which is about to lose in battle. Judith’s plan works perfectly, and Holofernes gets drunk and falls asleep. Judith’s maid helps in the murder as Holofernes tries to fight them off. At which point Judith beheads him with his own sword.
The limbs of the women and the general lead the eye directly to the beheading. Judith’s hand trusses Holofernes’ hair and turn him to face us. He is powerless to do anything but look on and await his fate. The contrast of colour and the play with light really brings our focus to the main point of action.

Pop artists wanted to connect art to their experience. Surrealists wanted to break down the barriers of the mind. Cubists want to look at things differently. Expressionists wanted to express their emotions on the canvas. Impressionists want to get out of the studio and make art of whatever caught their eye. The baroque was lead by religion to establish power. Which do you like best?

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