What are the different types of art

Art eras in painting - an overview of all art movements

Since man has been aware of himself as a person, he has been painting. The oldest surviving drawings and paintings of mankind, mostly in caves and under rocky overhangs, were made in the younger Paleolithic and are up to around 40,000 years old. This is pretty well established by measurements with the radiocarbon method. Friedrich Schiller answered the question why people paint in his own way: "Man paints himself in his gods." What seems understandable at first glance doesn't really answer the question on closer inspection.

It is noticeable that the images of animals in many cave paintings in particular are often more lively and realistic than those by painters of later times. Which begs the question: Why did artists from different eras paint so differently? In the following we would like to introduce you to these artistic epochs and their characteristics in an overview.

Incidentally: Have you ever noticed that the 'official' art epochs only begin with the Romanesque, as if there had been no painting before? But it did, as we have shown above, and of course people always painted between the Stone Age and the Romanesque period. We have wonderful pictorial evidence of the Romans and Greeks of antiquity, but are several thousand years ahead of them Wall paintings in ancient Egypt originated, and on Crete around 2000 BC. The fresco painting, which left amazingly natural portraits.

The fact that we do not divide all of these artistic works into epochs is due, among other things, to the fact that they were each created in a more or less narrowly limited area, while almost all of today's so-called art epochs are several countries, often the entire European continent, sometimes also Spanning North and occasionally South America.

 

 

 

An overview of the art eras

You should only use the numbers in brackets as an approximate framework, because depending on the country the respective epoch began or ended earlier or later. Nevertheless, the data mentioned offer you a framework in order to be able to understand the development. If you look closely, you will see that the individual epochs often overlap strongly. Some art movements, especially in recent times, even exist side by side.

  • Romanesque (approx. 1000 - 13th century AD)
  • Gothic (approx. 12th - 16th century)
  • Renaissance (around 1420 in Florence - around 1520)
  • mannerism (approx. 1520 - approx. 1600, in Italy partly even later)
  • Baroque (End of the 16th century - around 1760)
  • Rococo (approx. 1725 - 1780)
  • classicism (approx. 1770 - 1840)
  • romance (around the end of the 18th - middle of the 19th century)
  • realism (approx. mid 19th century - approx. 1925)
  • Pre-Raphaelism (1848 – 1854)
  • impressionism (around the second half of the 19th century - around the end of the 19th century)
  • naturalism (1880 – 1900)
  • Post impressionism (1880 – 1920)
  • symbolism (around the end of the 19th century - around 1920)
  • Art Nouveau (around the end of the 19th century - beginning of the 20th century)
  • expressionism (around the end of the 19th century - around 1914)
  • cubism (ca.1906 in France - ca.1914)
  • futurism (from 1909 in Italy - partly until 1945)
  • Dadaism (1912 - approx. 1920)
  • Precisionism (1920 – 1950)
  • art deco (1920 – 1935)
  • bauhaus (1920 – 1925)
  • surrealism (approx. 1924 - approx. 1945)
  • New Objectivity (approx. 1918-1933)
  • Abstract expressionism / Tachism (late 1940's - early 1960's)
  • Pop art (Mid-1950s in Great Britain and USA at the same time - late 1960s)
  • Photorealism (1968 - now)
  • Neo-Expressionism(from 1980 - 1989)

The art styles that have appeared since then and that have become more and more "fragmented" are no longer referred to as epochs, although this designation has been inadequate for most art movements since the end of the 19th century at the latest. Some people spoke of the “end of painting” several decades ago, and even if you look at it superficially, you can see how nonsensical it is. People continue to paint happily, as in the Stone Age, without being classified in any drawer or so-called epoch.

 

 

Art epochs timeline

We have clearly presented all art epochs in a timeline for you. From 1000 AD, through the art styles in the Middle Ages to today's modern art movements, you can chronologically classify the individual art styles in the epoch overview.

 

 

The Romanesque: pictures as "reading fodder" for the common people

(1000 – 1300)

Romanesque painting begins sometime around 1000 AD in direct connection with the increasingly powerful Christianity. Very few people could read at that time, so there should be another means of teaching them what they should believe, apart from the worship service. Romanesque painting consists almost exclusively of Christian / church objects and of images of people who played a role in the church, for example the saints. Then there were the secular and above all the ecclesiastical dignitaries, which were often the same.

It is often said that the Romanesque images were there for the common people to «read». That means that they just had to be kept. Romanesque pictures, whether in book illumination, wall painting, panel painting or as a mosaic (which is not directly related to painting), therefore mostly have solid contours and relative simple colored areas. There are no depth of space (perspective), and hardly any «natural» images. You have probably already noticed that different people are depicted in different sizes on Romanesque pictures. This tells you that the person painted large is more important, more significant, than the small person next to him. Meaning perspective is the technical term used for this. You may also have noticed the often strange content of such images, including scary dragons.

Romanesque images point you high symbolic content on. Human faces are often drastically distorted. These pictures often tell stories that are full of emotions. Facts and reality as we understand them are of no interest to their creators, especially since their paintings appear almost exclusively in church settings. It is completely tied to a specific purpose and to an order. Romanesque painting can be found all over Europe. The name Romanesque comes from the round arches used in architecture and adopted by the Romans, which can be found in architecture and painting of that time.

 

 

The Gothic: higher, further, freer - and the downfall in view

(1100 – 1500)

The Gothic period, which began around 1200 AD and, depending on the country, lasted until just under the middle of the 15th century, is characterized by two contrasts. On the one hand, people's thinking becomes broader and freer. The dull hump braces itself a slowly awakening "I" opposite. Take a look at a Romanesque and then a Gothic church: In the Gothic one you feel crouched - but also secure. The Gothic one pulls your gaze upwards through larger and larger ones light-flooded windows through into an unprecedented freedom - which is also fearful. People have always liked to be protected (and thus controlled).

The new freedom, however, corresponds to the fear of the end. In the year 1500, so many people feared at the time, the world would end. All of this is clearly evident in the painting of this time. It plays a role that the painters ever larger areas are available, which brings with it an expansion of the range of topics. Gradually come more and more secular "subjects" in the pictures above. Technically, the discovery and two-dimensional traced development plays out the three-dimensional Spatial perspective a major role. The perspective of meaning changes little, but people no longer appear like inanimate objects. Suddenly they are presented quite differently than before: Instead of the rigid and often clumsy-looking posture in Gothic, there is one soft S-curvethat helps the body move. Faces are becoming more individual, softer and less flat; The clothing, previously of little interest to the painter, now attracts attention and has intricate folds.

More and more secular scenes are shown to hunting or working in the field. Courtly elegance moves into the focus of interest. The absolute power of the church is beginning to wane. This is one of the reasons for the cruelty of the Inquisition. In the end, the Church still has her hand, partly protecting, partly slaving, and yet in the later period of the epoch works such as that of Breughels or Hieronymus von Bosch emerged that the Church would hardly have liked.

Incidentally, while we hardly know any individual artists from the Romanesque period, we now find one explosive increasing number of famous names, in Italy as in France, in the Netherlands as in Germany and elsewhere. The first large and competing schools emerged. Italy kicks off with Giotto di Bondone's unheard of naturalism. Here the development of panel painting is favored by the ever larger wall surfaces away from the churches.

 

 

The renaissance: rebirth of an "epoch" that never existed

(1420 – 1520)

The brown hare Albrecht Dürer [Public domain]

Something begins around 1420, which resulted quite logically from the above: one Liberation of the individual, a kind of rebirth (hence the name). Artists of all disciplines, including painters, recalled their ancient Roman and, above all, Greek models, which had been buried or lost for centuries. As for painting, it seems somewhat contradictory. Classical antiquity is mainly limited to sculpture and architecture. Pictures are more of an exception.

The renaissance in painting is the rebirth of an epoch that never existed in its own profession. The principles of antiquity, however, correspond very precisely to those of the new movement. Portraits and in general all images, including landscapes, are becoming more and more naturalistic and more realistic. Three-dimensionality breaks out in relation to the purely two-dimensional representations in the Romanesque and in some cases also in the Gothic. As far as this three-dimensionality is concerned, a sculptural work, the "David" by Michelangelo, should be remembered, which was one of the first sculptures of the Renaissance that were deliberately designed so that you can see them from every side. Until then, all post-ancient sculptures were only designed to be viewed from the front.

The situation is similar with the paintings of the Renaissance, whereby it is worth pointing out that in addition to Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo Buonarotti as a painter (not only as a sculptor) is one of the major pioneers.

The Renaissance: The fresco, invented 3000 years ago, takes on a whole new meaning. Large wall surfaces enable expansive, expansive representations complex scenarios. The painting techniques are becoming more and more sophisticated. Faces are no longer painted flat, but very nuanced, so that you have the impression that you have the person portrayed in front of you. Oil paints are replacing the previously preferred tempera paints. The Renaissance is also the starting point for the great, especially Flemish / Dutch landscape painting.

 

 

Mannerism: A Brief Epoch of Kitsch as Kitsch can

(1520 – 1600)

The heading chosen here is of course meant to be provocative. Not everything that was created around 1550 - with precursors as early as 1515 - is 'kitsch'. It just seems artificial to us today, and there are good reasons for that. With the newly discovered freedom of the human being goes hand in hand with the endeavor that every artist has his own way of expression, his own "manner" must develop.

However, this quickly leads to exaggerations, from which even Michelangelo is not entirely free, which is why some of his works are actually no longer ascribed to the Renaissance, but to Mannerism. In images of mannerism the Representation of feelings Intentionally exaggerated, gestures are exaggerated, everything, including the clothes of the depicted people, is exaggerated to the point of no-going. The slight S-curve of the Renaissance turns into an over-turning of the body that borders on the almost unnatural. It is not without a certain irony that precisely this style is becoming the first pan-European style that draws artists from all over Europe to Italy, where he started out.

 

 

The baroque: glorification of power - an optical illusion

(1590 – 1760)

The manner becomes a method. Princes and prince-bishops, kings and popes are finding ever more pleasure in not seeing divine power represented, but their own power. The sceneries become more and more splendid, up to and including rationally impossible arrangements. The 'Trompe l’oeil ‘The illusion of the eyes finds its way into painting.

New academies are always being founded. Gold and (in sculpture) marble become the predominant materials. Bodies are depicted in full plastic form in the paintings, similar to the sculpture of the Renaissance in Michelangelo's David. opposites as the of light and shadow are emphasized beyond the natural. Above all, the baroque is the age that unabashedly flaunts its power in all pomp in both churches and castles. Nothing can be large and valuable enough to show the fame and fortune of its owner.

 

 

The Rococo: A comedy of light, air and colors

(1725 – 1780)

In the Rococo, the name of which is derived from the French word for shellwork (rocaille) and which was created there accordingly, everything that was somehow fixed in solid forms in the Baroque dissolves into air, light and lust. All forms are playful. The colors become lighter through to impasto, almost transparent tones. Religious issues take a backseat, although artists like Tiepolo left masterpieces of fresco painting in numerous churches.

The famous Shepherd's idyll, completely unrealistic, becomes 'the' theme of the times. As if there were no economic, social or other constraints, everything in the Rococo is carefree serenity.

 

 

Classicism: Forward - back to the future!

(approx. 1770 - 1840)

Self-portrait of Angelica Kauffman [Public domain]

In classicism, which began to spread internationally around 1770, starting in France, artists of all genres, in addition to painting and above all architecture, fell back on earlier themes, techniques and forms. You can easily recognize them in many of the works created at that time Models of the Greek and Roman Classics again.

The colors become more flat again, and even portraits are recognizable with outlines, similar to the Romanesque. Colors take a back seat in their meaning. The strict form sets the tone. Louiz-Seize, Biedermeier and Empire are partial styles of Classicism, which is often used to instill patriotic feelings in people, especially in France and Germany.

 

 

The romance: After the severity, a surge of feeling

(1790 – 1850)

The wanderer over the Nebel sea Caspar David Friedrich [Public domain]

Early on, around 1795, the strict classicism was accompanied by emotional romantic endeavors, as if the cool classic had to be countered with human warmth. The artists did not develop a holistic, comprehensible and therefore precisely definable style. The Germans tend to be heavy with thoughts, while English and above all French painters are specifically interested in the effects of light and shadow. One of the most important of them is Eugène Ferdinand Victor Delacroix.

In the pictures of romance you will find little real reference to reality and therefore nature. Instead, sentiment and a sense of the eerily beautiful play a role. Much of the work of this time explores the subconscious and gives the Depiction of feeling and danger wide space. During this time, the first hiking and other clubs that want to discover nature emerge, albeit not as it is, but in the way you want it to be. Everything is transfigured and exaggerated. The Romantics were therefore often mocked and criticized.

 

 

The realism: It doesn't have to be beautiful, but the way it is

(1850 – 1925)

This movement promptly finds a countermovement. Their representatives call themselves realists. That is why the style that developed from the turn of the 19th century is called realism. In order to stop the overflowing romantics, nature, people, animals and everything that can be represented should be shown as it actually is, according to realism. Gustave Courbet speaks of the "obligation of art to truth".

The realists see not only the beautiful and the good, but also the bad and the ugly, and they also show that unadorned. The play of light and shadow is also cultivated in realism.Nevertheless, the pictures of this time are rarely particularly homely or personable - just realistic. Critics have complained that even erotic scenes in the paintings of realism mostly lack precisely that: eroticism. No wonder that this era is also heavily criticized at times. Schiller calls realism "mean". Goethe speaks of the fact that art must be ideal, but not realistic.

 

 

Impressionism: the old world ends, a new one begins

(1850 – 1895)

The flower terraces in the Wannsee Garden to the southwest Max Liebermann [Public domain]

The impressionism, which began in the second half of the 19th century, is often attested that it finally ends with the classical and a completely new world, modernity, ushers in. One of the things that fundamentally change in painting: Now is the time to paint in the great outdoors, while so far only sketches were made outside and the actual paintings were created exclusively in the studio. Outside, “en-plein-air”, the artists have completely different options than before, themselves rapidly changing light reflections to capture and hold in the picture. "Impression - Sunrise" by Claude Monet is considered to be the very first impressionist work ever.

The name Impressionism was a dirty word at firstbecause the critics found that these painters did not paint, but smeared. In fact, the brushstroke is sometimes furiously wild and can no longer be compared with the painting of bygone art eras. Shapes and lines take a back seat. The pure Color takes the lead. Completely new colors are put together from individual color points (especially in the impressionistic variety of pointillism). Painted objects can often only be recognized from a somewhat greater distance than what they represent. The artists don't want to teach anymore either, they want to paint for the sake of pure painting (l’art-pour-l’art). The large salons, often with international exhibitions, are gaining in importance.

 

 

The symbolism: bitter enjoyment of sin, death and passion

(1890 – 1920)

The most important works of symbolism were created between 1880 and 1910. This style (which we would rather speak of than an era) also began in France. Compared to the factual perception, the Representation of thoughts and feelings a broad space, but different than in Expressionism or Impressionism, for which it is considered a link. At the same time, it anticipates Art Nouveau with its mostly clear forms. Illness, sin, death and passion are, with a certain decadence, favorite themes of symbolism.

 

 

Art Nouveau: a kiss travels the world

(1890 – 1910)

Gustav Klimt's “The Kiss” is not necessarily the most important artistic work of Art Nouveau, usually called Art Nouveau outside of Germany, but it is certainly one of the most famous worldwide. Large area Flower elements and soft, curved lines characterize this style, which is known in many countries as the secession style. Symmetry plays an increasingly less important role. Momentum and playfulness, just too a certain youthfulness, are not only finding their way into painting. Art Nouveau tries to bring nature into the cities. Apart from the purely decorative, which is often held against him, the Art Nouveau definitely has a political content to be taken seriously.

 

 

Expressionism: painting as social criticism

(1890 – 1914)

The yellow cow Franz Marc [Public domain]

Expressionism from the end of the 19th century took targeted Position against naturalism. The painters of this movement care very little about showing the outside of things. You care about that Expression of one's own feelings. You find a certain aggressiveness in these pictures, something wild and archaic.

The expressionism emanating from Germany is matched by the French Fauvism opposite, which, like that, is expressly intended as a contrast to Impressionism. Around the time of the First World War, works of often disturbing intensity were created. A clear criticism of rule and society is rampant in painting. It finally becomes highly political.

 

 

Cubism: We are putting the world back together!

(1906 – 1914)

Juan Gris [CC0]

From 1906 painters from France switched to dismantling. Without having anything like a concrete program, artists like Pablo Picasso literally take the world as it presents itself to them and put it back together differently at their own discretion. A thing or a person will no longer be in a unified view shown, but broken down into individual parts, initially sometimes referred to by viewers as cubes (French "cube" = cube), which are intended to show the object from different sides at the same time. regulateof whatever kind the Cubists no longer recognize. No program, but powerful influence: The cubism significantly influences all subsequent art styles of the 20th and 21st century.

 

 

Futurism: Classical and anti-corporeal

(1909 – 1945)

Futurism is the first art movement that is "founded" by an individual with a specific program. The Italian Filippo Tommaso Marinetti writes a “futuristic manifesto” in which he rejects Christian morality and rejects any social references. However, Marinetti is not a painter himself. Painting nevertheless became the most important art branch of Futurism. The futurists oppose the models of the classical period, and they prove to be downright hostile to the body.

They reject nude painting as depressing and disgusting. Everything that has been handed down is suspect. Do you remember the saying of a German idiot: "Is that art, or can it go away?" This is pretty close to futuristic thinking. The futurists are also accused of being too close to fascism.

 

 

Dadaism: nonsense as the real meaning of things

(1912 – 1920)

There are several theories about the origin of the name "Dada". One of them is that the writer Hugo Ball poked around in a German-French dictionary out of joke and is said to have come across the word "dada". "Dada" means "hobby horse" in French children's language. Dada puts on Provocation and illogic and sees itself, among other things, as an anti-war movement, as early as the First World War.

Existing Values ​​and rules are being questioned and overcome by nonsense. Everyday objects suddenly become works of art. Dadaism is characterized, among other things, by the fact that it combines different types of art, including poetry and dance, in one work of art. With his “nonsensical” character, he breaks many taboos, at the same time brings about numerous technical innovations and still has a significant influence on subsequent art movements. Since Dada, painting has been more than an image of reality. Dada is early action art.

 

 

Surrealism: Everything that is real is really unreal

(1920 – 1930)

It would be unusual if you were not familiar with Salvador Dalí's painting "The Soft Watches". Dalí is one of the most important of the surrealists, maybe the most significant. At first this type of art was despised by the public; Today their products are anchored in the minds of even the most conservative observer. The Surrealists only concern themselves with reality insofar as they fuse it with their own dream world.

The clocks that they were supposed to display can also melt away as the time passes. In contrast to the satirical type of Dadaism, Surrealism is psychoanalytical and processes the fantastic and the unconscious. Surrealism is turning against the encrusted thought structures of the bourgeois bourgeoisie.

 

 

The New Objectivity: focus on pure functionality

(1925 – 1965)

Already after the First World War there was a turn to the visible things, while the Surrealists began to counteract precisely them. Similar to the Expressionists, the representatives of the New Objectivity are increasingly taking up socially critical topics. The chaotic war events have one Longing for order and tradition result, which is expressed in the New Objectivity. New Objectivity images often appear unemotional, sober and very technical.

Many technical innovations from the light bulb to the radio are now topics in pictures. Like all modern art movements, this one is not homogeneous, but rather splits up into several different "wings".

 

 

Abstract Expressionism: Art is emigrating

(1948 – 1962)

For the first time, an art movement is not emerging in Europe, but in North America, especially in the USA. Moving there from around 1940 Action painting and color field painting attracts attention, with which the representational seems to have finally been overcome. Paint is poured onto the surface with buckets, which does not always have to be canvas. People “paint” with their fingers instead of a brush or spatula.

The application of paint can become so thick that the finished “image” appears more like a relief or half-relief. The movement, of which Jackson Pollock and Marc Tobey are likely to be the most important representatives, is spreading from America to Europe, while it has always been the other way around. In times of the Cold War, conservative politicians branded it as “un-American”. She cannot be stopped.

 

 

Pop-Art: Everything is art - art is everything

(1955 – 1969)

For the artists of pop art who again in the USA arises and at the same time in England, is final - Marcel Duchamp sends his regards - everything Art: Advertising signs, comics, trivial things of everyday consumption up to the tin can are suddenly objects of artistic consideration. Clear contours and uniform color areas dominate. Mail merges and photorealism find their way into painting and graphics. David Hockney is still considered one of the most important representatives of English Pop Art, although he only painted a few pictures of this art direction and soon turned to other forms of expression.

 

 

Modern art movements in the epoch overview

 

Neo-Expressionism / Neue Wilde / Neue Heftige

(from 1980 - 1889)

From the 1980s a movement of painters emerged who created life-affirming, representational and large-format pictures. The main motifs were the big city or big city life. The movement or art direction got its name based on the Fauves of Fauvism. The hotspot for the new Wilde was Berlin, but around 1989 the artists dispersed, some continued to paint this style in New York.