In your art history class, you will most definitely have to write about artists, artworks, as well as art movements, and periods. The difference between the last two can be very subtle. Art periods are more about the time when it happens. Art movements are about the intent or a shared goal. While historians define the former, the latter is formed by artists.
The significance of art movements to an artist is hard to overestimate. Individuals get inspired by different trends and incorporate various characteristics into their works.
Artists group an art movement with a set goal, particular style, and common agenda. They create publications and manifestos that declare their values and principles. They share their dreams of what their craft should be. In a way, it is a critique of what art currently is or was.
In this article, our experts have gathered key art periods and movements. You can analyze any of them in your assignment. Besides, you will learn the concepts and terminology that are significant to art movements and see free essay samples below.
Essential Art Periods
As we’ve already mentioned, art periods are defined by historians retrospectively. We’ve gathered information about them in this section. Any of the periods can become a foundation for your art movements essay. As for the idea to write about, you can let our topic generator create one for you.
Here’s how the evolution of art looks like from a linear historical perspective:
Ancient Period (before 800BC)
Everything that is dated before 800 BC and before the rise of Greece is considered ancient. Yet, the cultures of the time were entirely separated. That is why ancient art usually gets categorized geographically. Each culture has its look and character. Celtic, Egyptian, African, Asian, Mesopotamian, and Pre-Columbian art is included in the ancient period.
Greek/Roman Period (800BC – 400AD)
This period in the Greek and Roman Empires focused on beauty and harmony. Most of the artworks centered around religion and human perfection. Among the prominent pieces of art are mosaics, vases, architecture, paintings, sculptures.
Medieval Period (400s-1350s)
Medieval Art can be characterized by Christianity. Elaborate patterns and the use of metals and gems are its prevalent features. Art historians can break the period into several smaller ones:
Renaissance Period (1350s-1600s)
During this period, artists used linear perspective and Classical ideals to depict nature and beauty. Faith in the nobility of man underpinned paintings, literature, and theater. Naturally, the Renaissance period contains several art movements.
Baroque Period (17th century)
Baroque art in Western tradition coincides with the 17th century. It tried to represent infinity and had an emphasis on light and effects. It was apparent through architecture in particular. The rococo style emerged in the late Baroque period and was characterized by exaggerated ornaments and details.
Neoclassicism (17th century until the 1850s)
The neoclassical period in painting and visual arts began in the 17th century and lasted until the 1840s and 1850s. Artworks were based on simplicity, precision, and symmetry. In some countries, such as France, it is characterized by austere classical settings and artificial light. It is also can be seen as a return to Greek and Roman ideas of logic.
Romanticism (first half of the 19th century)
It’s a period when artists honored nature, emotion, and individualism. Romantic art focused on spirituality, mystery, imagination. In painting, the brushwork was less precise. It was very often depicting landscape, peaceful beauty, church, and revolution.
Realism (19th century)
Realism emerged in France around the time of the Revolution. Realists rejected Romanticism and wanted to depict life as it is. The paintings are drawn photographically, and even unpleasant aspects of everyday life are represented.
Modern Period (1860s-1970s)
During the period, new artists experimented with the traditions of the past. Modern art begins with Vincent van Gogh, Paul Gauguin, Georges Seurat, and Pablo Picasso. Numerous movements emerged during this time.
Key Modern Art Movements
What is called modern art involves dozens of art movements as this period lasted for over a century. These are so different and versatile that students almost always pick one of them for their works. In this section, you’ll see critical modern art movements that you can discuss. To argue your position and elaborate on the topic properly, check how to write a 5-paragraph essay.
The key modern art movements are as follows:
Impressionism (the 1870s, 1880s) is an art movement characterized by small but visible brush strokes in painting with light. This motion is a crucial element of the drawings. The group originated in Paris, and the name derives from Claude Monet’s painting Impression.
Post-Impressionism (1886 and 1905) emerged as a reaction against Impressionists in France. It attacked the naturalistic depiction of light. Post-Impressionists use vivid colors and thick paint strokes. This movement was created by Paul Cezanne, Paul Gauguin, Vincent van Gogh.
Art Nouveau (around 1890 and 1910) is a style of art, applied art, and architecture that flourished in Europe and the US. The artists tried to create an entirely new style that will be free from any imitation. One of the most prominent representatives was Scottish architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh.
Fauvism (around 1905) was started in Paris by the critic Louis Vauxcelles when he saw Andre Derain and Henri Matisse. The artists emphasized color over realistic representations. The subject matter used abstraction and oversimplification.
Cubism (around 1907) is an avant-garde art movement that changed European painting and sculpture. It revolutionized music, performing arts, literature, and architecture. In Cubism, the artworks are broken up and reassembled. The artist depicts the object from a multitude of viewpoints.
Futurism (around 1909) was launched in Italy by Filippo Marinetti when he published his Founding and Manifesto of Futurism. It was trendy in Italy and Russia. The Futurists produced paintings, ceramics, graphic and urban design. Besides, they impacted theatre, music, literature, and fashion.
Expressionism (the start of the 20th century) is a movement that originated in Germany. Expressionists represented the world from a subject point of view to invoke emotions and ideas.
Dadaism (from 1916 to roughly 1924) is a movement of the European avant-garde in the 20th century. It was developed due to World War I and rejected logic, reason, and capitalist society. Instead, it focused on nonsense and irrationality. Dadaists created artworks in visual, literary, poetry, painting, and sculpture.
Surrealism (from the late 1910s and early ‘20s) appeared in Europe after World War I. The trend is most known for visual works and writings. Artists created illogical works with photographic precision to allow the unconscious to manifest itself. Andre Breton, the leader of the art movement, expressed the aim of creating super-reality or surreality.
Pop Art (the mid-1950s) was established in Britain and the US. It was a response to the optimism during the post-war consumer boom. Artists drew inspiration from popular cultures and new trends in arts such as comics, ads, and television. Andy Warhol, an American artist, and film director, was the leading figure in this movement.
Feminist Art (the 1960s) emerged to provide female representation in art and the world. Feminist artists try to represent feminine experiences highlighting vaginal imagery and naked female body.
Thank you so much for reading our article till the end! Much more can be said and added about art movements and periods. Yet, we hope the information was enough for you to start working on your paper. Read the essays on art movements below to draw inspiration and ideas.
Although the Renaissance period brought tremendous changes in the artistic approaches based upon the traditional art of Greek and Roman statuary, the Expressionist movement of the 1900s instituted a profound rejection of all the traditional [...]
Although as a movement, Expressionism lasted for only a decade, up to 1920, it has been accredited with the explosion of all the innovative ideas of the mid-twentieth century, and the concepts introduced by the [...]
The lifts ought not to be longer but be hidden away like tapeworms in the position of stairwells, also the stairwells themselves, made ineffective, must be eliminated, and the lifts should scale the length of [...]
It was partially a rebellion against aristocratic social and political standards of the Age of Enlightenment and a response against the scientific explanation of nature and was exemplified most powerfully in the visual arts, music, [...]
Burtynsky's use of images as metaphors to depict the dilemma of the heavy industrialization due to which nature and earth suffer heavily is a prominent theme which I have used in the creation of the [...]
Discuss the topic of how religion influenced art and architecture in the ancient world and during the Christian era, it is necessary to point out that all civilizations beginning from the primitive ones, through the [...]
This was the underlying idea behind resisting the effects of the Industrial Revolution on art the aspiration to create a personal style that would be devoid of the typical features of the products and designs [...]
However, as everybody else feel the impact of Chinese products penetrating even the poorest and most remote areas of third world countries and English become the language that must, power and representation seem to still [...]
All through history, there have been many different styles of art utilizing an abstracting approach but abstract art was established in the early 20th century as artists began creating works of art lacking any apparent [...]
The paintings portraying the mores and morals of pre-war Berlin are the exciting script of a soul fascinated by the temptations of the metropolis, and each stroke of the brush conveys nervous tension and emotional [...]
The events of the 20th century have created a platform for the rapid development of various artistic styles and approaches. One of the most notorious branches of art was the Dada movement and the spreading [...]
They were the two poles of architectural thinking on the side of Neoclassicism was a rational, objective, almost scientific method of thought, which put reason in the first place among human abilities.
Peter Paul Rubens was one of the key figures of the Baroque and the Catholic Counter-Reformation. Jesus Christ is the central character of The Descent from the Cross and draws the viewer's attention from the [...]
The art of the twentieth century is characterized by the exploration of self and experimentation with form. Another peculiarity of the art of the beginning of the twentieth century was its connection with African traditions [...]
The church chose the style so that it could communicate religious themes in emotional involvement during the time of the Council of Trent. The style dynamically reflected the growth of absolutist monarchies, and in power [...]
Simultaneously, the works of Karl Marx challenged the assumption of the relative nature of the shortcomings of capitalist society and suggested its fundamental flaws and inherent contradictions as reasons for the current social issues.
The insights of identity can be seen in the artworks of many contemporary artists. The majority of them try to reveal their philosophical views and attract the public's attention to those issues they consider to [...]
One of the main qualities of visual art is that it allows people to get in touch with the surrounding physical reality through the perceptual lenses of another person's mind hence, making it possible for [...]
For this reason, the modern age with its great dependence on money and consumer character of society gives rise to a question of whether there is a significant difference between western and eastern pop art [...]
The paintings of the time alongside the artwork were presented mythically and also depicted the religious aspect. The presence of the monarchial administration helped most merchants to come up, something that led to the development [...]
In this essay Rasquache encompasses the following characteristics: In Rasquache there are the elements of a have-not, the use of creativity in transforming otherwise useless materials into valuable products, and the need for sentimental value [...]
The second phase shifts the perspective of the progress of art away from the development of the forms of its representation for example, during the period of modernism, the traditional art pieces can no longer [...]
The review is divided into three main sections including the identification of the main arguments and the explanation of their worth, the evaluation of the supportive material and the clarification of methodological framework, and, finally, [...]
3 The outbreak of violent protests in the capital city of France in mid-1968 was because of the Student dissatisfaction at the Sorbonne University and the University of Paris. 9 Accordingly, the right to the [...]
As Bravmann explains, the culture of the Lega society blends the elements of the colonial Bwamis and the elements of other African cultures: "it is through initiation into Bwami, and through the gradual movement through [...]
A different approach can be observed in Van Gogh's painting; the artist uses energetic brushstrokes with tones of thick paint, and, unlike the Impressionistic method, the artist emphasizes the geometric forms of the objects with [...]
The group had identified that the refugees used art to negotiate their way of becoming part and parcel of the indigenous people of the new home, despite the varying degrees of prejudice and exclusion that [...]
It is easier to explore the impact of Orientalism on human perception of the East through the works of art produced in the 19th and 20th centuries, since they reflect the vision that critical thinkers [...]
Because of the considerable pause in the art development in the Victorian period, Pevsner assumes that such artists as Morris, Gropius, etc.were called to put an end to the period of cultural "stagnation" of the [...]
One of the brightest events of that period was the creation of the Aesthetic Movement. The Aesthetic Movement started as a reaction against the Victorian style, which was characterized by the use of jewellery in [...]
This paper discusses not only the essence of visual and performing arts but also focuses on the activities of popular Canadian artists and their ideas, evaluates the history of the Canadian art, and explains the [...]
Romanticism refers to the period of intellectual, artistic and literary movement in Europe in the first half of nineteenth century. The supporters of the Romantic Movement point to the spontaneous and irrational display of powerful [...]
Numerous happenings in the fields of art, philosophy, science, music, and critical theory explain the meaning of post-modernism. Post-modernism is the same as modern art due to the production of new pieces.
Harrison and Wood observe that "The history of art is that of a long series of attacks upon social and aesthetic values held to be moribund, although the avant-garde position is frequently nostalgic and absolute". [...]
The focal point of the composition is the figure of the empress, highlighted through color and light. The mosaic 'Empress Theodora and Her Attendants' provides a glaring example of how formal elements of design work [...]
The text, which was written with a great deal of absurdist humor, has references to several precursors of Surrealism that represented the Surrealist spirit before the declaration of the manifesto and the works of other [...]
As such, the Baroque artistic style and period was a reaction to previous artistic styles, specifically the Mannerist art of the 16th century, which appealed to the witty and intellectual qualities only.
This can be explained by the fact that Greco-Roman artists of the era were convinced of the existence of dialectical relationship between the concepts of aesthetic/intellectual finesse, civil virtuousness and the notion of physical health, [...]
In a wide-ranging discussion, he touched on humor, the cathartic value of defacing the iconic image of a dictator, China's imperiled environment, the dangers of political art in that country, and his feelings as a [...]
Its impact of social and cultural development of the Islamic World and other cultures can be considered to be positive because it has introduced uniqueness, originality, and unity of Islamic culture, architecture, media and politics.
Though the artistic revolution is considered in this article as the major element of the renaissance, it was a result of the revolutions in the other elements such as the scientific, philosophical and the linguistic [...]