A Beginner’s Guide to Art History

An abstract art piece

World history has a beginning, but there is no beginning with art: it has always been ever since humankind took over. It’s an integral part of us, just like it’s phenomenally focused in nature.

If you’ve ever read about the renaissance or impressionism, you’re already familiar with some history of art.

Here is a timeline of the historical art movements.

Medieval Art (476-1453 AD)

Also called byzantine art, it’s full of religious iconography done on major architectural places, including Hagia Sofia, or the art of Saint Catherine in Sinai.

Renaissance (1300–1600)

Renaissance art deals with classical figures that interested the artists of this period. The art in the renaissance portrays classical figures and landscapes, e.g., The Last Supper by Leonardo Da Vinci.

Some notable names of this era are Vinci, Raphael, and Michelangelo.

Baroque (1600–1730)

The Baroque period is all about religion; it dealt with expressing God and his grandeur in a mix of classic and realist forms. Some notable art pieces from this era are Judith Beheading Holofernes and The Ecstasy of Saint Teresa.

A modern outlook on cyclops

Neoclassicism (1750–1830)

This was the age of the Industrial Revolution, and neoclassicism lived it. It was about figurative work like The Death of Socrates, 1787 by Jacques David.

Romanticism (1780–1880)

Opposite to neoclassicism, Romanticism art focused on the creativity and imagination of the individual.

This era’s artwork was about revolutions and how people stood up to what they couldn’t accept owning to The French Revolution and the American Revolution.

Impressionism (1860–1890)

Impressionism focused on light and movement, where the artworks explored how natural light behaved and were interested in scenic landscapes and cityscapes. Critics of that time were vocally against this type, but now it’s considered one of the best art movements of history.

Monet’s Impression, Sunrise, and Renoir’s Dance at Bougival are from the impressionism era.

Post-Impressionism (1886–1905)

If post-impressionism reminds you of Van Gogh, then you already know a bit about this era; Paul Cezzane and Van Gogh took the highlights here and studied light, movement, and color, and brought out art as a window to the artist’s mind.

Expressionism (1905–1930)

This movement was about emotion and emphasized bold colors to portray feelings, psyche, and emotion. A notable work is Munch’s Scream.

Cubism (1907–1914)

Cubism had a distinct puzzle-like style to it where artists reshaped and refigured everyday scenes from modern life. Think of Pablo Picasso and his artworks.

Abstract Expressionism (the 1940s)

Popular in the 1940s and 50s, this era is all about abstract art. It’s characterized by brushstrokes or marks, with a touch of spontaneity.

Contemporary art (1946 — present)

Today’s art form comes under contemporary art and focuses on personal and cultural identity. This art form often critiques social norms, and poses thought-provoking questions.

About Four You Gallery

Four You Gallery is an emerging female artist gallery. We conduct the best online exhibitions by emerging female artists to showcase their work on a bigger platform, bringing in more representation and voice. Learn more about contemporary art for sale online by contacting Four You Gallery through our website.

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