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The -Isms of Art: Exploring the Different Styles Used in Famous and Reproduction Art

There are many different movements that have contributed to the art world; Classicism, Romanticism, Impressionism, Modernism, and Postmodernism are just a few. These styles of art have impacted western society and influenced artists in their own work. These major art movements and the artists they are associated with have changed the way we look at art by introducing new artistic concepts and ways to express one’s self through art. 


Classicism refers to the art created or inspired by, antiquity. Classicism dates back to ancient Greece and Rome when the emphasis on art and sculptures were based upon classic form, proportion, and simplicity. Classicism was all about being objective and not subjective. When referring to Classicism, Neo-Classicism is often used interchangeably. Neo-Classicism began in the late 1700’s to the early 1800’s; Nicolas Poussin was a predominantly big figure during this time period. Artists today still adhere to the same training and form of that in the classic era. In today’s society, art is dependent upon the classical styles of the past. 


Romanticism refers to a time from the late eighteen century to the mid-nineteenth century when artists expressed their points of view through their imagination in a more idyllic way, rather than an in a realistic form. Art created in this style ranges in subject matter and may include mythical scenes and historical events. Many romantic artists used nature and were fascinated by the mystical, mysterious and satanic. Emotions and artistic freedom ruled this time period. Romantic artists, such as Eugene Delacroix and J.M.W. Turner helped to define romanticism. Eugene Delacroix was considered the artist that led the Romantic Movement. 


Impressionism refers to an art form that is commonly associated with 19th century France. Impressionist paintings have a free and unfinished look to them. Claude Monet was a very influential figure during the Impressionistic era. He is said to be the founder of Impressionism and, was best known for his Water Lillie’s painting. The Impressionist artists, including Alfred Sisley, and Pierre-Auguste Renoir are most recognized for creating landscapes using vibrant colors and vague brush strokes. Another famous artist that was considered more of a post-impressionist was none other than Vincent Van Gogh. The Impressionistic movement was widely successful and still used today. 


Modernism is an artistic style that emerged in the mid-19th century. Famous modern artists specific to this style including, Edouard Manet and Henry Matisse, were more likely to be inspired by their own visions verse using conventional art. Pablo Picasso was another influential artist during the Modern art movement. The interpretation of Modern art has greatly influenced the artists of today. 


Postmodern art emerged in the late 1960’s when dominating traditional styles no longer fit with the post-war form and technique. Artists during this time period created their own style and meaning using a combination of elements from the past and applied them to modern techniques. Andy Warhol is a famous postmodern artist who believed in breaking down barriers and is best known for his “pop art” approach. Postmodernism has had a significant effect on Western society and how people, artists included, approach and interpret art. 

All of these art movements have inspired and contributed to the way artists create their masterpieces. Some of the leading movements in art history have helped form the way we look at art and beauty today. These art movements, styles, and artists are just a few among the hundreds that have impacted our society. 

About the Author:
Clare Tames is a self-employed freelance graphic designer, formidable cook, an avid reader. She has written on contemporary and classical art in various print publications and is just now beginning a writing career online. She works out of her home office in California, where her two children attend high school.