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Art styles

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Art styles

There were, and are, many schools, movements, groups and styles in art, to make up the wide selection of artwork that we have available for you here. Here is a very brief introduction to them. Click the headings to see the sample prints that we have available in a particular style.

There were, and are, many schools, movements, groups and styles in art, to make up the wide selection of artwork that we have available for you here. Here is a very brief introduction to them. Click the headings to see the sample prints that we have available in a particular style.


Abstract Expressionism
This post-World War 2 American art movement was the first to achieve international influence for New York and put it at the center of the western art world, replacing Paris.

Avant-garde, rebellious, anarchic and nihilistic, Mark Rothko, Franz Kline, Barnett Newman, Willem De Kooning and Jackson Pollock splashed paint about freely and advanced art in leaps and bounds at the same time.
A style of painting and sculpture produced under the influence of European academies of art had the tendency to consolidate art to keep it safe.

Academic art artists, such as Paul Delaroche and Thomas Couture, followed the standards of the French Académie des Beaux-Arts, and the movements of Neoclassicism and Romanticism, that looked to preserve existing art rather than to move it forward too fast.

Art Nouveau
Initially named in Paris as Style Mucha after the distinctive decorative "whiplash" motifs in the posters of Czech artist Alphonse Maria Mucha, this became an international philosophy involving architecture, applied arts, and especially the decorative art, that was very popular during 1890–1910.
Henri De Toulouse-Lautrec and Gustav Klimt made work in the design style with its characteristic curves formed by dynamic, undulating and flowing lines, flying in syncopated rhythm.

Ashcan School
Eight American artists and newspaper illustrators, including John Sloan and Robert Henri, formed this realist artistic movement during the early 20th century, best known for portraying scenes of daily life in New York's poorer neighborhoods.
Robert Henri "wanted art to be akin to journalism. He wanted paint to be as real as mud, as the clods of horse-shit and snow that froze on Broadway in the winter."

Started in 1600 in Rome, the style expanded in Europe, featuring exaggerated lighting, intense emotions and release from restraint. in a period of artistic sensationalism.
A part of the Counter-Reformation, the movement affirmed the emotional depths of the Catholic faith and glorified the power and influence both church and monarchy in direct response to the puritanical backlash of the Reformation.

The avant-garde Cubism art movement, pioneered by Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, Fernand Léger and others, hit Europe with the force of a revolution early in the 20th century.
Cubists painters suddenly sought to analyze their model objects differently then broke them up and reassembled them in abstracted forms, not depicting objects from one viewpoint but from a multitude of views, to give different context to the subject.

Avant-garde artists also early in the 20th century reacted violently to the horrors of World War 1, blaming reason and logic of bourgeois capitalistic society for the bloodshed.
Beginning in Zurich, Switzerland in 1916 and spreading to Berlin, Dadaists, such as Georg Groz and Marcel Duchamp, went out of their way to prize nonsense, irrationality, chaos and intuition as their cure for the prevailing norms that to them had gone badly wrong.

Dutch Golden Age
Master painters Rembrandt van Rijn and Johannes Vermeer flourished in their creativity in the socalled Dutch Golden Age that roughly spanned the 17th century. In this period Dutch commerce, science, military and art achieved world acclaim.

Early Netherlandish
The career of painter Jan van Eyck spanned the period in the Low Countries during 15th and 16th centuries known as Early Netherlandish painting.
Painters, such as Hans Memling and Rogier van der Weyden, worked especially in the flourishing cities of Bruges and Ghent. The end of this period is seen as being marked by t the death of Pieter Bruegel the Elder in 1569.

Early Renaissance
The astonishing talents of Masaccio,Fra Angelico, Paolo Uccello, Piero della Francesca and Verrocchio graced this period in the Italian Renaissance from early 15th to late 16th centuries, centered on that fabled cultural city of Florence.

Experimentation in art-exists just about wherever and whenever art is made.
A consistently experimental surrealist artist was Joan Miró, the Spanish Catalan painter, sculptor and ceramicist, born in Barcelona, who lived from 1893 to 1983.
Miró always expressed contempt for conventional painting that was seen by him as supporting bourgeois society. He famously declared that his work was an "assassination of painting".

Originating at the beginning of the 20th century in Germany, this avant-garde art movement, with painters such as Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and Franz Marc, presented the world only in a subjective way, distorting it at will for emotional effect and to evoke moods or ideas, much of which contained emotional angst.

Called les Fauves(French for "the wild beasts") early 20th century, for their preference for wild and free use of strong color over the representational values, a group of artists, led by Henri Matisse and André Derain, made waves in bold and beautiful ways in only three exhibitions in Paris between 1904–1908.

Folk Art
Folk art, such as paintings by Anna Robertson Moses in Englandis art made by the masses: indigenous natives, peasants and other laboring tradespeople. It is mostly utilitarian and decorative, often in a naïve style rather than seeking to be purely aesthetic, as does fine art.

German Romanticism
A dominant movement of the late 18th and early 19th centuries in all aspects of German culture, German romantics tried to forge a new synthesis of philosophy, science and art, looking backward to the Middle Ages as a simpler and more unified time The timelessness of nature also featured large in the paintings of Caspar David Friedrich, for example.

This Medieval art style developed in France from Romanesque art in the mid-12th century and accompanied the advent of Gothic architecture.
In frescos and panel paintings of Giotto, Duccio di Buoninsegna and Gentile da Fabriano, religious figures become smaller relating to background landscape and were more expressive.

High Renaissance
The spectacular flowering of creativity in the Italian Renaissance reached its peak of some 30 years between 1490 and 1520s when Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo and Raphael (need we say more?) were painting in Rome, under the patronage of Pope Julius II.

Hudson River School
A group of romantic American landscape painters in mid-19th century, led by founder Thomas Cole, painted romantic visions of the Hudson River Valley and surrounding areas, including the Catskill, Adirondack, and White Mountains.

The now well-loved work of this art movement of Paris-based artists during the 1870s and 1880s, first met with harsh opposition from the conventional art community in France.
Undeterred, Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Eduard Manet and others painted ordinary subject matter their canvases, often in the open air, with small brushstrokes to capture beautifully the changing qualities of light.

Italian Renaissance
This vital period of rebirth of Italy and Europe marked the transition between Medieval and early modern Europe.
This was a phenomenal a period of great cultural change and achievement that began in Italy around the end of the 13th century until the 16th century in Florence and Tuscany, and expanded elsewhere in the continent.
Painters such as Masaccio, Piero della Francesca, Paolo Ucello, Boticelli and Titian, to name only a few, contributed to this remarkable bloom of European culture.

Late Gothic
This art style continued until well into the 16th century when the Renaissance took hold. While more secular art was also made, Gothic religious paintings, of Giotto di Bondone in the 14th century for example, embodied a belief that the events of the Old Testament pre-figured those of the New.

Les Nabis
A group of Post-Impressionist artists, such as Pierre Bonnard and Edouard Vuillard, called themselves Les Nabis (pronounced "nah-bee") and happily set the artistic pace in France the 1890s. They were especially inspired by the design of Japanese prints and art nouveau.

This was a period of European art that followed the later years of the Italian High Renaissance around 1520 and lasting until about 1580 in Italy, when a Baroque style replaced it. The style was a reaction against the restrained naturalism of Leonardo da Vinci and Raphael.
The work of Michelangelo embodies this intellectual sophistication and more artificial qualities. As do the works of El Greco and Giuseppe Arcimboldo, among others.

Modern Modernism
Western society in the late 19th and early 20th centuries underwent the dramatic and far-reaching changes known as the modernist movement in arts and culture that accompanied rapid technological and industrial growth.
The strand of thinking asserted that it was necessary to push aside previous norms entirely in light of contemporary techniques. The work of sculptor Henry Moore and painter Fernand Leger, for example, reflected the modernist vision.

This movement in Western decorative and visual arts around the end of the 18th century, as seen in the work of Jacques-Louis David and Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres, drew inspiration from the "classical" art and culture of Ancient Greece or Ancient Rome.

Northern Renaissance
The Italian Renaissance had little influence outside Italy before 1450, but from late 15th century the humanist ideals had spread around Europe, to Germany, France, England and The Netherlands, inspiring the work of Albrecht Durer, Hans Holbein and Pieter Bruegel, for example.

Op Art
This kind of art lets you test your eyesight with optical illusions, as seen in the fascinating and beautiful work of Victor Vasarely, for example.
The interaction between illusion and picture plane challenges your understanding and seeing. The work has movement, hidden images, flashing, vibration, patterns and even swelling and warping.

Academic art in the 19th century and painters such as Jean Léon Gérôme and Frederick Arthur Bridgman loved to portray exotic aspects of Middleastern and East Asian cultures, and made orientalist paintings about ideal eastern places and peoples of the European imagination.

Seeing spots before your eyes? Pointillism painting uses small distinct dots of pure colors to make patterns to form an image.
Georges Seurat and Paul Signac developed the technique in 1886, taking the recording of light further along from impressionist painters.

Pop Art
From mid 1950s in Britain and the United States, pop artists, such as Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein, challenged fine art by using imagery from popular culture, such as advertising, news, comic books and mundane cultural objects, to make striking art.

French artists after Manet from 1910, such as Paul Cezanne and Odilon Redon, were called Post-Impressionists, who rejected limitations of impressionism.
But they still used vivid colors, thick application of paint, distinctive brush strokes, and real-life subject matter, but emphasized more geometric form and distorted it for expressive effect.

For the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, a group of seven English poets, critics, and painters, such as John Everett Millais, art needed to be reformed by rejecting what it considered to be the mechanistic approach adopted by the Mannerist artists who came after Raphael.
They believed that the classical poses and elegant compositions of Raphael in particular had been a corrupting influence on the academic teaching of art and sought to go back to the time before the great master Raphael himself, hence pre-Raphael.

The metaphysical world in the paintings of Giorgio de Chirico and the weird visions of Hieronymus Bosch were considered Pre-surrealist. Artists who produced surrealist-like paintings before 1924, when surrealism became an official doctrine, were grouped in this category.

Also known as Cubist Realism, this American artistic movement emerged after World War and was at its height between the world wars.
Influenced strongly by Cubism and Futurism, painters such as Charles Demuth and Charles Sheeler, recorded the industrialization and modernization of the American landscape, depicting it as sharply defined geometrical forms.

The approach of realist painters, such as Ilya Repin and Gustav Courbet, is to simply depict what the eye can see in the beauty of landscape or people. American realist painters in the 20th century, such as Edward Hopper, continued the tradition that leads later to the Photorealistic paintings that looked at reality even more closely than a photograph.

This cultural movement spanned roughly from the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. From the Italian word rinascere (to be reborn), it was a time for exactly that for the continent.
Giovanni Bellini, Donatello, and Tiziano Vecelli (Titian), and a long string of other masters, helped tremendously with this rebirth.

This style developed in the early part of the 18th century in Paris, reacting against the grandeur, symmetry and strict regulations of the Baroque, especially as seen in the Palace of Versailles.
The beautiful work of painters, such as Jean Simeon Chardin, Jean-Antoine Watteau and Canaletto, perfected this intriguing style.

A European cultural movement from about 1800 to 1840 reacted to the perceived barrier that Industrial Revolution has placed between man and nature.
Painters, such as William Turner in England, again sought strong emotion as a source of aesthetic experience, emphasizing apprehension, terror and awe and also glorified the sublime in untamed nature.

André Breton, a leader of Surrealism, a cultural movement that began in Paris in the early 1920s, following on from Dadaism, saw the period as nothing short of artistic revolution.
Surrealist works by painters such as René Magritte and Paul Delvaux, had the elements of surprise, and unexpected juxtapositions
The dream-like, hallucinatory, metaphysical, supernatural and trompe l'oeil aspects of the work all helped to create the surrealist unconscious art, being sought to be displayed by its practitioners.

Symbolism. Art Nouveau
Symbolists claimed that art should represent absolute truths that could only be described indirectly. Artists, such as Gustav Klimt in the Art Nouveau style in the 1880s in Vienna, reacted against naturalism and realism, and instead favored spirituality, imagination and dreams.

American artists in the 1880s, such as George Inness and James McNeill Whistler, painted landscapes with an overall tone of colored atmosphere or mist. Their paintings were filled with dark, neutral hues such as gray, brown or blue, and the "tonal" atmosphere dominated everything.

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