Painting Styles in Western Art
Abstract Art Non-representational work, or displaying a highly organised representation 20th century
Abstract Expressionism American movement; non-representational, inspired by colour and texture of paint 1940s-1950s
Action Painting Non-representational; paint is thrown or splashed onto the canvas later 20th century
Art Nouveau Principally a style of applied arts;characterised by sinuous natural forms late 19th century
Baroque Extravagant and highly decorative work associated with religious and classical subjects c.1600-1720
Constructivism Originated in Russia; use of materials such as steel, plastic, glass 20th century
Cubism Subject displayed simultaneously from different viewpoints 1908-1920s
Dada Anti-rationalist and deliberately shocking, a nihilistic movement that arose after World War I 1916-1922
Dutch School Seascapes, landscapes, portraits and interiors and still life celebrating peace and prosperity 17th century
Expressionism The representation of emotion rather than form, often distorted and exaggerated early 20th century
Fauvism Non-representational; flat composition with distorted shapes and strong colours Early 20th century
Gothic Christian art characterised by religious subjects, stylised figures in flowing garments 12th-16th century
High Renaissance Religious and classical subjects, fine figure painting; Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael 1490-1520
Impressionism Create a vital and immediate impression of a scene without unnecessary detail from 1860s
International Gothic Highly detailed and brilliantly coloured, characterised by gracefully elongated figures c.1375-1425
Mannerism Religious and classical subjects, often dramatic; use of trompe l'oeil and classical allusion 16th century
Mediaeval Usually religious; fresco and stained glass; art more commonly expressed in sculpture and carving c.6th-14th century
Neoclassicism Classical themes and subjects; admiration for antique art and away from the Baroque and Rococo late 18th-early 19th century
Neo-Expressionism Representational or non-representational, usually large in scale and dramatic in style late 20th century
Neo-Plasticism Abstract painting featuring flat areas of pure colour and strong vertical and horizontal lines 20th century
Pop Art Inspired by common and ephemeral objects, film, comic-book art and advertising 1950s
Post-Impressionism Emphasis on brushwork and colour to convey the emotional meaning of the subject late 19th century
Post-Modernism Blends disparate styles and alludes to other cultural media (see Pop Art) late 20th century
Pre-Raphaelite Historical, literary and religious subjects; emphasis on colour, detail and symbolism mid 19th century
Primitivism Influenced by indigenous art from Africa, the Americas and Australia, an attempt to rediscover vitality 20th century
Realism Generally, representational as opposed to abstract art; also "gritty" as opposed to idealised art  
Renaissance This flowering of European art alludes to the works of the ancient Greek and Roman artists 14th-16th century
Rococo Highly decorative, highly ornamented, lighter in mood than Baroque and usually secular in subject 18th century
Romanticism Representation of emotion in melodramatic scenes from history and literature, wild landscapes etc. late 18th-mid 19th century
Surrealism Anti-rationalist, utilises incongruous effects to depict abstract ideas, dreams and the inner self 1924-c.1940
Symbolism Colour and line used to evoke dreamscapes and emotional scenes, inspired by literature late 19th century
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