Do You Understand Art Movements?

Trying to decipher all the different art movements can be overwhelming. With so many movements and sub-genres, how can anyone ever keep up? This in-depth guide will help you understand the nuances of all the major art movements.
Reading Time: 25 minutes


  • Learn about art movements and gain a better understanding of the progression of art throughout history as well as the contributions of various artists.
  • Discover the origins of creative trends.
  • Develop your appreciation for, and confidence in, analysing and critically analysing various works of art.

Introduction to Art Movements

Welcome to “The Ultimate Guide to Art Movements.” In this article, we will dive into the captivating world of art movements throughout history and explore their impact on the art landscape. From Renaissance to Modernism, we will unravel the evolution of artistic styles, techniques, and ideologies that have shaped the course of art history.

Whether you are an art enthusiast, a student, or simply curious about the diverse expressions of creativity, this guide will provide you with a comprehensive understanding of art movements.

Join us as we embark on a journey of discovery, uncovering the fascinating stories behind each movement and gaining a newfound appreciation for the rich tapestry of artistic expression.

What are Art Movements?: Definition and Example

Art movements are a way of categorising and understanding the different styles and techniques used by artists throughout history. These movements provide a framework for analysing and appreciating art, as well as a way of tracing the evolution of artistic expression over time.

Common features such as style, technique, subject matter, and cultural environment identify art movements. They frequently emerge in response to social, political, or technical advances, and they may have a substantial influence on both the art world and wider society.

Art movements are a method of categorising art in order to better comprehend its development and progress across time. The artist’s style and subject matter, as well as the historical environment in which it was made, frequently identify them.

How do Art Movements Begin?

Even today, art movements continue to influence the art world. Art movements usually begin because something will trigger a response at a specific time or place. This might be based, for example, on a group of artists’ interests or even some political movement or changes in society.

Art movements can also be seen as a way to bring together artists who share similar ideas and aesthetic sensibilities. A typical art movement generally begins with a certain concept, aim, or ambition shared by a group of artists. This might involve a shared belief system or a belief in a certain type of art. An art movement typically alters the artistic direction of a work of art for its time.

  • Group of Artists: Art movements are frequently attributed to a group of artists working together rather than to the art of a single artist working alone.
  • Common Beliefs: Artists that collaborate (even if they are not physically working in the same studio) will share a common belief about art and its direction.
  • Common Style of Art: All exhibit a similar style of art among a group of artists.
  • Period in Time: Art movements arise at various times. It might last anywhere from a few months to several years.
  • Change in Artistic Direction: The art movement represents a shift in the art world’s artistic orientation. These artists are actively creating something new and fresh for their era, rather than simply re-creating past art. Many new art movements and trends are often regarded as the new avant-garde.
  • Public Opinion: Many new art trends did not initially garner favourable evaluations from the public or even art critics. This normally does not deter artists from continuing to believe in the direction of their art.
  • External Forces Assist in Shaping the Movement: Changes in the world frequently influence a group of artists and their art. For example, the industrial revolution, conflict, or new spiritual or religious ideas have all played their part.
  • Dominant Figures or Institutions: Some art movements start with a central figure in the art world that inspires other artists. If we consider Walter Gropius, who was the founder of the Bauhaus, and how students and their work were inspired by their attendance at this institution. Gropius brought together artists, architects, and designers to create an experimental pedagogy that focused on materials and functions rather than traditional art school methodologies.

Understanding Art Movements

Art Movements Timeline

By organising art movements chronologically, we may better grasp the progression of creative ideas and practises across time. This timeline includes significant art movements from the ancient and Renaissance periods to more innovative 21st century methods such as digital and AI art.

Importance of Understanding Art Movements

I was always a little overwhelmed trying to grasp all of these different art movements, but I believe that understanding them is vital for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Allowing us to appreciate and contextualize individual works of art within a broader historical and cultural context;
  • Helps identify and analyse the different techniques and styles used by artists, which can deepen our appreciation and understanding of their work;
  • Finally, studying art movements can be a fascinating way of exploring the evolution of human culture and society over time. By understanding art movements, we can gain insight into how our culture has shaped our ideas about art, and how different cultures have influenced each other through their artwork.

Art Periods

Art periods and styles can be used interchangeably to describe the different phases and trends in art history. Understanding the various art eras and styles helps us to contextualize individual works of art and appreciate their place within the broader history of human creativity.

Ancient Art Periods

The term “ancient art” refers to the various types of art created by advanced cultures of ancient societies with various forms of writing, such as those of ancient China, India, Mesopotamia, Persia, Palestine, Egypt, Greece, and Rome. Whereas, prehistoric art is the term used to describe the art of pre-literate cultures and is not included here. 

Although certain pre-Columbian societies produced writing over the centuries before Europeans arrived, they are covered in pre-Columbian art and articles such as Maya art, Aztec art, and Olmec art on account their dating.

Medieval Art Periods

The Western world’s medieval art spans over 1000 years throughout Europe and, at times, Western Asia and Northern Africa. It encompasses important art movements and periods, national and regional art, genres, revivals, the artists’ crafts, and the artists themselves.

Art historians typically struggle to categorise mediaeval art into distinct periods and styles. The culmination of Early Christian art, Migration Period art, Byzantine art, Insular art, Pre-Romanesque art, Romanesque art, and Gothic art, as well as numerous more eras within these primary styles, are all included in a widely acknowledged scheme.

 Furthermore, each region had its own distinct creative style, particularly during the era when nations or civilizations were in the process of becoming nations, such as the distinct styles of Anglo-Saxon or Viking art.

Renaissance Art Periods

The painting, sculpture, and decorative arts of the Renaissance period (1350–1620 AD) evolved as a unique style in Italy around AD 1400, paralleling breakthroughs in philosophy, literature, music, science, and technology. 

Renaissance art built on the art of classical antiquity, regarded as the noblest of ancient traditions, but altered it by absorbing recent innovations in Northern European art and applying contemporary scientific knowledge.

Some of the most famous artists of the Renaissance include:

Baroque and Rococo Art Periods

Rococo, also known as Late Baroque, is a highly ornamental and dramatic style of architecture, art, and decoration that uses asymmetry, scrolling curves, gilding, white and pastel colours, sculpted moulding, and trompe-l’œil frescoes to create surprise and the illusion of motion and drama. It is frequently referred to as the Baroque movement’s last manifestation.

In the 1730s, the Rococo style emerged in France as a reaction against the more formal and geometric Louis XIV style. It was known as the “style Rocaille”, or “Rocaille style”. It quickly expanded throughout Europe, notably to northern Italy, Austria, southern Germany, Central Europe, and Russia. It also had an impact on other arts, including sculpture, furniture, silverware, glassware, painting, music, and drama. 

Although the Rococo was initially, a secular style used mostly for the interiors of private dwellings, its spiritual character led to its extensive adoption in church interiors, notably in Central Europe, Portugal, and South America.

Neoclassical Art Periods

Neoclassicism (sometimes spelled Neo-classicism) was a Western cultural movement in the decorative and visual arts, literature, drama, music, and architecture that took influence from ancient antiquity’s art and culture.

Neoclassicism was born in Rome, largely due to the writings of Johann Joachim Winckelmann, during the rediscovery of Pompeii and Herculaneum. However, its popularity spread throughout Europe as a generation of European art students completed their Grand Tour and returned from Italy to their home countries with newly rediscovered Greco-Roman ideals.

The major neoclassical trend began with the Age of Enlightenment in the 18th century and lasted into the early 19th century, later clashing with Romanticism. The style persisted in architecture throughout the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries.

Modern Art Periods

Modern art encompasses creative work created between the 1860s and the 1970s, and it symbolises the styles and ideologies of the art created throughout that period. The word is typically connected with art, in which old conventions have been abandoned in favour of experimentation and creativity.

Impressionism, Cubism, Surrealism, Abstract Expressionism, and Pop Art are all examples of some of the characteristics of modern art trends. Many modern artists have sought to abandon old modes of representation in order to seek new ways of depicting the world around them.

Various breakthroughs in science and technology during the period encouraged some artists to experiment, while others turned to politics or social issues for inspiration in their work. 

Modern art has had a significant effect on how we view and understand the world today. Its influence may be seen in everything from advertising and graphic design to architecture and fashion. While some critics have rejected modern art as aristocratic or outdated, its impact is still seen in current art and society.

What Are the Most Important Modern Art Movements?

Modern art movements have had a huge impact on the world of art. From Post-Impressionism to Abstract Expressionism, each of these movements has contributed to the development of modern art and its evolution over the past century. 

This section will explore some of the most important movements, including their origins, key figures, and lasting influence.

We will examine how these movements have shaped our understanding of contemporary art and how they continue to influence artistic expression today, even expanding the definition of what can be considered art.

What Were the Art Movements of the 19th Century?

The 19th century was a period of immense creativity, and with it came a few art movements that revolutionised the way we think about art. There were several major movements such as Romanticism, Realism, Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, Symbolism, and Art Nouveau, which all had a profound impact on the progression of artistic styles. These movements have since become integral to our understanding of modern art.


Impressionism was a 19th-century art movement that emphasized the use of light and colour to capture fleeting moments and impressions of the natural world. Impressionist artists rejected the traditional rules of academic painting, instead opting for loose brushstrokes and vibrant colours.


Post-Impressionism was a term used to describe the work of several late 19th-century artists who took the principles of Impressionism and pushed them in new directions. Post-Impressionist artists experimented with new techniques and used colour expressively to convey emotion and mood.


The primary difference between Neo-Impressionism and Post-Impressionism is that most Neo-Impressionism is classified as Post-Impressionism, but many Post-Impressionists did not work in a Neo-Impressionist style.

Neo-impressionist Georges Seurat pioneered chromoluminarism, also known as pointillism, characterised by the separation of colours into dots or patches that interact optically.

One of Seurat’s most remarkable skills was the way he applied Conté crayons to rough-surfaced, textured paper, using varying pressure to create bright middle tones contrasted with darker ones, demonstrating his skill at using black and white.

The movement focused on the most fundamental uses of colour and light. These artists, unlike the Impressionists, did not use large, open brushstrokes or mix paint on their palettes.


The Incoherent’s were a French art movement that emerged in the late 19th century as a response to the academic tradition in art. Incoherent artists created works that were deliberately nonsensical and anti-art, often using puns and visual jokes to subvert traditional expectations.

What is Art Nouveau?

The origins of Art Nouveau can be found in the influential Arts and Crafts Movement which emerged in England during the latter half of the 19th century and flourished in the early 20th century. This movement laid the foundation for the development of Art Nouveau, showcasing its deep roots and significant impact on artistic expression.

It was a reaction to academic art, which was considered too stiff and formal. Instead, it focused on the beauty of nature, using flowing lines and organic shapes and motifs to create a sense of harmony and balance. Art Nouveau artists often used flowing lines, intricate patterns, and stylized representations of plants and animals in their work.

Art Nouveau is an international style of art, architecture, and applied art, especially the decorative arts. The style is known by different names in different languages: Jugendstil in German, Stile Liberty in Italian, Modernisme in Catalan, and also known as the Modern Style in English.

The style was popular among architects, designers, furniture makers, painters, sculptors, and artisans. It can be seen in everything from jewellery to posters to architecture.

The most famous examples of Art Nouveau are the works by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, whose art captured the Parisian nightlife of the period, and the amazing architecture of Antoni Gaudí in Barcelona.

These pieces exhibited Art Nouveau, an international style of ornamentation defined by writhing plant forms and a reaction to the early nineteenth-century historicism of forms and elements.

Art Nouveau had a major influence on later art movements such as Art Deco, the Bauhaus, and even modernism. Its emphasis on nature-inspired designs has been echoed by many contemporary artists who are looking for ways to bring beauty into their work while still staying true to their own style.

One major objective of Art Nouveau was to break down the traditional distinction between fine arts (especially painting and sculpture) and applied arts. It was most widely used in interior design, graphic arts, furniture, glass art, textiles, ceramics, jewellery and metalwork.

Finally, I must add the lovely Michelin House, which is located at 81 Fulham Road in Chelsea, London. Opened in 1911 as Michelin’s headquarters in England, this is a one-of-a-kind structure that exemplifies late Modern Style (British Art Nouveau style) and early Art Deco.

Art Deco

Art Deco, short for the French Arts Décoratifs, and sometimes referred to simply as Deco, is a style of visual arts, architecture, and product design, that first appeared in France in the 1910s (just before World War I), and flourished in the United States and Europe during the 1920s and 1930s.


Realism is an art movement that emerged in the mid-19th century and emphasized the accurate representation of the natural world. Realist artists aimed to depict everyday life and ordinary people as accurately and objectively as possible.

What Were the Art Movements of the 20th Century?

The 20th century saw a plethora of new art movements, including Cubism, Expressionism, Surrealism, and Futurism. Other influential art movements that emerged during this period were Dadaism, Abstract Expressionism, Pop Art, Minimalism, and Conceptual Art. Each of these art movements had its own distinct style and highly influenced the development of modern art.

The Age of Radio

The radio era was a watershed point in communication history, and I think it is important to provide a context of its influence on the development of art movements during this time. It altered the way people communicated, allowing them to connect with individuals close and far. Radio allowed people all over the world to hear news and entertainment, becoming a worldwide community. It also enabled individuals to connect in ways that had never been possible before.

AM (amplitude modulation) was developed between 1900 and 1920. On Christmas Eve 1906, Reginald Fessenden, a Canadian researcher, made what is considered the first AM public entertainment broadcast, which consisted of some violin playing and Bible excerpts. However, it was not until around 1920 that regular public AM broadcasting began.

Radio waves can also be used in a variety of ways, such as for navigation, communication, broadcasting, and even medical purposes. As technology continues to evolve, so does radio’s role in our lives. With its ability to reach far-off places and its potential for providing new sources of knowledge, radio will continue to have an important role in society for many years to come.


Modernism is a philosophical, religious, and artistic movement that arose from broad transformations in Western society during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The movement sought to establish a new aesthetic, philosophy, and social structure in alignment with the experience and ideals that characterised modern industrial life. Through the rapid developments in areas such as urbanisation, architecture, new technology, and conflict, it mirrored the complexity of life.

The foundation for the movement’s approach was based on the poet Ezra Pound’s rendering of a passage in Da Xue, a historical Chinese text, in which, although possibly lost through translation, he coined the phrase ‘Make It New’. This motto evolved into a model of transformation, of renaissance, and of renewal, in which the new is more than just a return to the old. A process of historical recycling, quotation, and re-arrangement that draws on the work of others who have gone before. However, because of his support for fascism, Pound’s economic and political convictions have ensured that his life and work remain contentious.

Artists throughout the world attempted to depart from traditional forms of art, which they considered outdated or obsolete. Many employed new images, materials, and techniques to produce artworks that they thought better reflected the reality and hopes of modern civilizations, building on their late nineteenth-century predecessors.

Modernist innovations included abstract art, the stream-of-consciousness novel, montage cinema, atonal and twelve-tone music, divisionist painting, and modern architecture.

Modernism explicitly rejected the ideology of realism and made use of the works of the past through the employment of reprise, incorporation, rewriting, recapitulation, revision, and parody. Modernism also rejected the certainty of Enlightenment thinking, and many modernists rejected religious belief.

A notable characteristic of modernism is self-consciousness concerning artistic and social traditions, which often led to experimentation with form and the use of techniques that drew attention to the processes and materials used in creating works of art.

While some scholars see modernism continuing into the 21st century, others see it evolving into late modernism or high modernism. Postmodernism is a departure from modernism and rejects its basic assumptions.


Fauvism was an early 20th-century art movement that emphasized bold colours and strong brushstrokes. The name “Fauvism” comes from the French word “fauve,” which means “wild beast.” Fauvist artists rejected traditional rules of perspective and composition, instead using colour to express emotion and create a sense of energy and vitality in their work.


Expressionism was an early 20th-century art movement that emphasized the emotional and psychological impact of art. Expressionist artists sought to express their innermost feelings and emotions through bold colours, distorted forms, and exaggerated gestures.


Dada was an art movement that emerged in the aftermath of World War I as a response to the horrors of war and the perceived irrationality of modern society. Dada artists sought to create works that were nonsensical and anti-art, often using found objects and collage techniques to subvert traditional notions of art and beauty.


Surrealism was an art movement that emerged in the 1920s and emphasized the importance of the subconscious mind and dreams. Surrealist artists sought to create works that were fantastical and dreamlike, often using unexpected juxtapositions of objects and images to create a sense of disorientation and surprise.


Cubism was an early 20th-century art movement that emphasized the fragmentation of form and the exploration of multiple viewpoints. Cubist artists sought to break down traditional notions of perspective and representation, instead presenting multiple viewpoints simultaneously within a single work of art.


Orphism was an early 20th-century art movement that emphasized the use of pure colour and abstraction. Orphist artists sought to create works that evoked a sense of harmony and balance through the interplay of colours and shapes.

Orphism, also known as Simultaneism, is a trend in the visual arts that emerged from Cubism and was spearheaded by Robert Delaunay. It emphasizes the importance of light and colour in abstract art. The movement was given its name in 1912 by the French poet Guillaume Apollinaire.


Futurism was an early 20th-century art movement that celebrated the speed, technology, and dynamism of modern life. Futurist artists sought to capture the energy and excitement of the modern world through their work, often using dynamic compositions and bold colours.


Constructivism was an art movement that emerged in Russia in the early 20th century and emphasized the importance of functional design and industrial production. Constructivist artists sought to create works that were practical and useful, often designing furniture, clothing, and other everyday objects.

Abstract Expressionism

Abstract Expressionism was an art movement that emerged in the United States in the 1940s and 1950s. Abstract Expressionist artists sought to create works that were highly emotional, expressive, often-using large canvases, and gestural brushstrokes to convey a sense of energy and vitality.

The Age of Television

Much like the influence of radio at the beginning of the twentieth century, the age of television opened up a completely new world for us to explore and enjoy. Although television did not make its formal debut until the 1939 New York World’s Fair, it has had considerable influence on visual artists.

It has been suggested that television may be divided into three key eras, for example:

  • 1950s shows such as ‘I Love Lucy’ an American television sitcom that originally aired on CBS from October 15, 1951, to May 6, 1957, with a total of 180 half-hour episodes.

  • 1990s The rise of the box set series, such as The Sopranos and DVD-by-mail service.

  • 2000s On demand streaming services, which differs from the prior two eras, which were characterised by the introduction of technology, the home television, and a liberal cultural movement that relaxed morals and attitudes.

With advancements in technology, we now have access to content from all over the world, and can watch shows from any recorded medium and era. Supply has continued to meet demand through a multitude of streaming services, capitalizing on the social phenomenon of the Coronavirus pandemic. This has harnessed billions of streams, utilizing a new quantitative model that achieves the same impact as filling seats in cinemas for the film industry.

The age of television has changed dramatically over the years. From the days of only a handful of channels to now having hundreds of options, and let us be honest, how much time is wasted deciding what to watch.

What makes this age so special is the unprecedented level of entertainment and information it provides us with. We now have the ability to watch our favourite shows, movies, sports, news, and more at our convenience. It has become one of the most significant sources of entertainment in our lives today and will continue to hold that position in the future.

As television has risen to prominence as a primary source of visual information, it has profoundly transformed the visual environment, both in terms of picture presentation and content variety. Many artists have embraced the new medium to create video art, but television has also influenced the form and content of works created in conventional mediums.

She said, Soap for sore eyes (I need an intermission), If looks could kill I'd- (I'd kill your television), Soap for sore eyes (I need an intermission), If looks could kill I'd- (I'd kill your television).

What are Postmodern Art Movements?

Postmodernism can be seen as a reaction against the ideas and values of modernism, as well as a description of the period that followed modernism’s dominance in cultural theory and practice in the early and middle decades of the twentieth century. The term is associated with scepticism, irony and philosophical critiques of the concepts of universal truths and objective reality.

The term “postmodernism” originally appeared around 1970. It is difficult to define as an art movement because there is no single postmodern style or idea upon which it is founded. It incorporates various techniques in art making and can be traced back to the 1960s, with the emergence of pop art. It encompasses numerous subsequent movements, including conceptual art, neo-expressionism, feminist art, and the Young British Artists of the 1990s.

Pop Art

Pop Art was an art movement that emerged in the United Kingdom and the United States during the 1950s and 1960s and celebrated the popular culture of the time. Pop artists sought to incorporate images from advertising, mass media, consumer culture and mundane mass-produced objects into their work, often using bright colours and bold graphics.

Situationist International

Situationist International was another significant postmodern art movement in the mid-20th century.

The Situationist International’s intellectual foundation was a libertarian Marxism and the avant-garde art movements of the early 20th century, especially Dada and Surrealism. Founded in 1957 by Guy Debord, Asger Jorn, and Piero Simondo, the Situationist International was one of many prominent European art movements until its dissolution in 1972. Comprised of avant-garde artists, intellectuals, and activists, its primary goal was to challenge capitalist society and consumer culture.

The Perception of Narrative
The Perception of Narrative, Adrian Reynolds, 2024

Situationist International believed in the power of everyday life and sought to create situations that would disrupt the monotony and alienation caused by modern society. Based on their theory and concept known as the spectacle, they rejected traditional forms of art and instead focused on creating art that was participatory and engaged the viewer directly.

One of their most famous concepts was “détournement,” which involved taking existing images or cultural artefacts and repurposing them to subvert their original meaning. This technique critiques art commodification and the dominant capitalist narrative.

The movement also emphasised urban environments and psychogeography. They believed that cities’ structure and design influenced individuals’ behaviour and emotions. Through their art, they aimed to expose how urban spaces were controlled and manipulated by those in power.

Overall, Situationism played a crucial role in shaping postmodern art by challenging established norms and conventions. Their ideas continue to influence contemporary artists who seek to question societal structures and encourage active participation from the audience.

Bricolage to Arte Povera

The art world is a vibrant and ever-evolving landscape, constantly influenced by new movements and ideas. Two significant art movements that have left a lasting impact are Bricolage and Arte Povera.

Bricolage, derived from the French word meaning the process of improvisation in a human endeavour, or roughly means “do-it-yourself.” This approach became popular in the early twentieth century, when resources were scarce and aspects of Surrealism, Dada, and Cubism had a bricolage character.

It is characterised by the use of found objects and materials to create new works of art. Artists embraced this approach as a way to challenge traditional notions of artistic creation and explore unconventional mediums. Bricolage celebrates the beauty of repurposing everyday objects, transforming them into something unexpected and thought provoking.

Arte Povera was an art movement that occurred in various towns around Italy, most notably Turin, between the end of the 1960s and the beginning of the 1970s. Translated as “poor art,” this movement sought to break away from commercialism and traditional artistic practises. Artists associated with Arte Povera utilised humble materials such as rocks, twigs, cloth, and even dirt to create their artworks. By embracing these simple elements, they aimed to evoke a sense of rawness and authenticity while commenting on societal issues.

Both Bricolage and Arte Povera challenged conventional notions of art making by incorporating ordinary materials into their creations. They pushed boundaries and encouraged viewers to question established norms within the art world. These movements continue to inspire contemporary artists today, reminding us that creativity knows no bounds when it comes to expressing oneself through unconventional means.


Minimalism was an art movement that emerged in the 1960s and emphasised simplicity and reduction. Minimalist artists sought to create works that were stripped down to their essential elements, often using monochromatic colours and simple geometric shapes.

When combined, minimalism and negative space are two powerful compositional tools that can help artists capture attention and convey emotion.

Conceptual Art

Conceptual Art was an art movement that emerged in the 1960s and emphasized the importance of ideas over aesthetics. Conceptual artists sought to create works that were thought provoking and intellectually stimulating, often using language and text as their primary medium.

Feminist Art

Feminist Art is an art movement that emerged in the twentieth century, specifically in the 1960s and 1970s. It aimed to challenge conventional ideas surrounding gender and sexuality. Feminist artists frequently utilize their work as a means to comment on patriarchal power structures and advocate for social justice.

Installation Art

Installation Art is a contemporary art form that involves creating immersive environments or experiences for the viewer. Installation artists use a combination of materials, including sculpture, sound, and video, to create complex and engaging works of art.

Performance Art

Performance Art is a contemporary art form that involves using the body as a medium for artistic expression. Performance artists create live events or actions that are often provocative and challenging, pushing the boundaries of what is considered art.

Contemporary Art Movements

Contemporary art is the art of today, produced in the second half of the 20th century or in the 21st century. Contemporary artists work in a globally influenced, culturally diverse, and technologically advancing world. Their art is a dynamic combination of materials, methods, concepts, and subjects that continue the challenging of boundaries that was already well underway in the 20th century. 

Diverse and eclectic, contemporary art as a whole is distinguished by the very lack of a uniform, organising principle, ideology, or “-ism”. Contemporary art is part of a cultural dialogue that concerns larger contextual frameworks such as personal and cultural identity, family, community, and nationality.

Street Art

Street Art is a contemporary art form that involves creating works of art in public spaces. Street artists often use graffiti, stencil art, and other techniques to create works that are political, social, or simply decorative.


Neo-Expressionism is a contemporary art movement that emerged in the 1980s and emphasized the importance of emotional expression and subjective experience. Neo-Expressionist artists often use bold colours and aggressive brushwork to create works that are highly charged and intense.

Environmental Art

Environmental Art is a contemporary art form that involves creating works that interact with the natural environment. Environmental artists often use natural materials and site-specific installations to create works that are both beautiful and thought provoking.


Stuckism is a contemporary art movement founded in 1999 by Billy Childish and Charles Thomson to promote figurative painting as opposed to conceptual art.

This anti – conceptual art movement was a reaction against the perceived elitism and pretentiousness of the contemporary art world. Stuckist artists advocate for a return to figurative painting and emphasize the importance of authenticity and self-expression in their work.

The Age of the Internet

Before the word ‘Internet’ was invented, the majority of early computers were primitive, having limited magnetic core memory, and programming was far from easy. Although a number of World Fairs presented concepts of different types of data communication over the phone lines, such as The ‘Picturephone’ of 1939, shown again at the New York World’s Fair in 1964.

Initially the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) of the U.S. Department of Defense, a future-oriented funder of ‘high-risk, high-gain’ research, laid the groundwork for what becomes Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET).

Since its inception in 1969 until its decommissioning in 1989, the predominant use of ARPANET was for academic and scientific purposes. Funding was also made available to non-US teams, such as Norwegian, British and French.

However, it was in France and in Inria’s laboratories that some of the basics of the packet-switching protocol were invented. In a project led by Louis Pouzin, this invention laid the foundations for the TCP/IP protocol, which has become the fundamental building block of the Internet.

Later Tim Berners-Lee first proposed the idea of a ‘web of information’ in 1989. It relied on ‘hyperlinks’ to connect documents together. Written in Hypertext Markup Language (HTML), a hyperlink can point to any other HTML page or file that sits on top of the internet. Prior to this, there was no established method for connecting various computer networks.

Today, the Internet has well over a billion hosts, with computers that are ever faster and network bandwidth which ever increases to accommodate all this traffic.

The age of the internet has revolutionized communication, interaction, and business practices. It has fundamentally changed how we access information, shop, work, and socialize. We now find ourselves in a world where nearly everything can be accomplished online.

The internet has made it easier for us to connect with people from all over the world and share ideas in real-time. It has also enabled us to access a wealth of knowledge and resources at our fingertips. With just a few clicks, we can find what we need quickly and easily.

The age of the internet has opened up new possibilities for businesses, individuals and artists. Businesses are now able to reach wider audiences more quickly and cost-effectively than ever before. Individuals have access to more opportunities than ever before too – whether it is finding a job or starting their own business online.

Digital Art

Digital Art is a contemporary art form that involves using digital technology to create works of art. Digital artists use a variety of software programs and tools to create everything from digital paintings to interactive installations.

AI Art: Blurring the Lines between Technology and Creativity

AI Art, or Artificial Intelligence Art, is an emerging field within the realm of digital art that explores the intersection between technology and creativity. It involves the use of algorithms and machine learning to generate or enhance artistic compositions. With the advancements in AI technology, artists are now able to experiment with new ways of creating art by leveraging the computational power and capabilities of AI systems.

One fascinating aspect of AI Art is the ability of machines to learn from existing artworks and generate original pieces that mimic various artistic styles. For example, deep learning algorithms can analyse a vast collection of paintings by renowned artists and then produce unique artworks that imitate their techniques and aesthetics. This has sparked debates about the role of AI in the creative process and the nature of artistic expression.

AI Art is not limited to replicating existing styles. Some artists use AI algorithms as tools to assist them in their creative process, generating ideas, exploring possibilities, or even collaborating with the machine itself. These collaborations between human artists and AI algorithms can result in unexpected and thought-provoking artworks that challenge traditional notions of authorship and creativity.

Moreover, AI Art has paved the way for interactive installations and immersive experiences. Artists can create installations that respond to the viewers’ movements or emotions, blurring the boundaries between the artwork and the audience. The fusion of technology and art opens up exciting new avenues of exploration, inviting viewers to engage actively with the artwork in ways that were once unimaginable.

As AI continues to advance, the possibilities for AI Art are boundless. From generative algorithms creating mesmerizing visual patterns to AI-driven robots producing physical sculptures, the intersection of art and artificial intelligence offers endless opportunities for innovation and experimentation. It is an exciting time to witness the evolution of this emerging inventive 21st century art form and observe how it reshapes our understanding of creativity and the artistic process.

You can read more about AI art here.

DALL·E 2023-07-12 17.18.04 - A painting of all the art movements throughout human history.
DALL·E 2023-07-12 17.18.04 - A painting of all the art movements throughout human history. Adrian × DALL·E Human & AI


Metamodernism is an art movement that emerged in the early 21st century. It’s associated with the Age of the Internet and is about embracing and accepting human beings polarising nature. The coexistence of things in life such as doubt and hope, failure and experience, emotion and apathy, sincerity and irony, excitement and melancholy, all go hand in hand.

It is characterised by an embrace of paradox and irony, as well as a focus on themes of progress and change. The movement seeks to combine elements of modernism and postmodernism, while also pushing the boundaries of both and has been described as a “third wave” in the development of contemporary art movements. It combines elements of modernism and postmodernism to create a unique style of art that reflects the complexities of our current society.

Metamodernist artists often use irony, satire, and humour to explore themes such as identity, technology, consumerism, and globalisation. They often challenge traditional notions of what constitutes art by blurring the boundaries between mediums such as painting, sculpture, video art, performance art, and digital media.

Metamodernist artists may also use appropriation, which entails re-contextualizing existing images, texts, or ideas within their own work. Artists produce thought-provoking works by borrowing and repurposing components from other sources, challenging traditional concepts of originality and authorship. As a result, they produce works that are both visually attractive and intellectually intriguing.

In some ways, you can draw parallels between Hip-Hop, Breakbeat culture, and the use of samplers in music production. As all three have revolutionized the music industry by introducing innovative techniques and pushing boundaries and created a platform for artists to express themselves authentically.

Types of Art Styles within all Movements

Of course, these examples only scratch the surface of the art styles within this list of art movements. There are countless other styles and approaches that artists explore. The beauty of art resides in its diversity and the boundless possibilities for creative expression. From AI Art to Metamodernism, artists persistently push boundaries, explore new techniques, and redefine the very essence of meaningful and impactful artwork.

However, within the broader context of these movements, there are some common types of art styles that can be observed.

  • Painting Styles: There are numerous painting styles, each with its own unique techniques and visual language. Some common painting styles include landscape, portrait, still life, and abstract. Additionally, other styles focus on specific subject matter or artistic approaches.
  • Drawing Styles: Just like painting, the world of drawing encompasses a wide range of styles. These styles can be categorized based on technique, medium, or subject matter. Some popular drawing styles include figure drawing, architectural drawing, and illustration. Additionally, there are more experimental approaches such as collage and mixed media.
  • Sculpture Styles: Sculpture encompasses a wide range of styles and techniques, including carving, modelling, casting, and assemblage. Sculptors work with various materials such as stone, wood, metal, and clay to create representational, abstract, or conceptual works.
  • Photography Styles: Photography styles can be classified based on subject matter, technique, or approach. Some popular styles include portraiture, landscape, street photography, and photojournalism. Additionally, there are more experimental approaches such as abstract and conceptual photography.

Learn More About Art Movements

There are many resources available to help you learn more about art movements. You can find books, websites, and museums that specialise in art history. You can also take art classes or attend lectures on art movements.

Art Movements

Conclusion: Final Thoughts on Art Movements

I trust that you found this comprehensive guide to art movements helpful in gaining a better understanding of the diverse styles and techniques employed by artists throughout history.

Whether you are a seasoned art enthusiast or a curious beginner, gaining an understanding of art movements is crucial in order to fully appreciate and enjoy art on a deeper level. It can even help you to look at something else if you are having a creative block.

Studying different types of art movements and their associated techniques allows us to gain a deeper understanding of the cultural context in which individual works of art were created. Furthermore, you will develop a deeper appreciation for the distinctive ways in which artists have endeavoured to convey their ideas and emotions. This is essential in order to truly value the extensive history and diverse range of human artistic expression.

By learning about various art movements, you can develop a deeper appreciation for the evolution of art throughout history and the contributions of different artists to this evolution.

Not only will this knowledge help you appreciate artwork more deeply, but it will also assist you in analysing and critically evaluating various pieces of art.  I hope you will continue to explore the wonderful world of art!

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