Information on Art
Different Styles of Art
Abstract Art
Abstract artists use colour and shape to express emotions and feelings. They do not portray or show humans, animals or landscapes in their figurative form or as they appear in the real world. In abstract paintings, one does not see anything specific like objects. It possibly sums up as non-objective painting.

Famous abstract artists include John Pollock, Sonia Delaunay etc.

Cubism is the precursor of abstract art. Cubists use geometric shapes to show what they are trying to paint. The whole point behind cubism is to ensure that the paintings do not look real. Early cubists experimented with grays, browns, yellows and greens. Cubism heralded the arrival of an artistic and philosophical development in art.

Famous cubists include Pablo Picasso, Marc Chagall and Braque.

Expressionists express their feelings through the images in their paintings. They were not really concerned with creating a painting which looked exactly like the object they were painting, but were more concerned with having their paintings express a feeling.

Wassily Kandinsky, Ludwig Kirchner and others were famous expressionists.

Impressionist paintings are pieces of art painted in such a way like someone just took a quick glance at the subject of the painting. Impressionist artists largely painted outdoor scenes like landscapes. They painted with bold colours and with little detail. The images in these paintings were made to look like they were shimmering.

Claude Monet, Pierre Renoir and Mary Cassatt were famous impressionist painters.

Pop Art
Pop Art is short for Popular Art. Artists usually remove the material from the context and alienate the object, or mix it with other objects, and leave it to the viewer to contemplate upon. Pop Art emerged in the 1950s as a movement opposed to abstract expressionism. It was inspired by comic strips, advertising and popular entertainment.

Roy Lichtenstein. David Hockney and Claes Oldenberg are famous Pop Art artists.

Realism is a style of art where artists depict things exactly as they appear in real life. This style of painting evolved as a widespread rejection of Romantic subjectivism and imagination. The greatest Realist era was in the middle of the 19th century.

Famous Realist painters include Leonardo Da Vinci, Gustave Courbet, Thomas Eakins and others.

Surrealism, as the name suggests, are paintings based on dreams and the surreal. Surrealists painted on familiar objects and made them look strange or mysterious in their paintings. Their intentions were to change the way people thought or felt about familiar thing with their odd paintings; a quest to stir and provoke people to think differently.

Salvador Dali and Henri Rousseau are renowned surrealists.

Oil Painting
Oil Painting has been around for centuries and the earliest oil painting styles are attributed to the early Egyptians and Greeks. Monks also used oil painting to create illumination in religious manuscripts.

Oil painting became highly prolific in 15th century Europe and even gave birth to a painting style called Renaissance. Most paintings during the Renaissance period were dedicated to churches to be hung on church walls, roofs etc.

The widespread use and rise of oil painted is largely attributed to a Flemish painter, Jan van Eyck. He discovered new ways for producing oil paints and his methods are used even today.

One of Jan van Eyck’s best known painting “Giovanni Arnolfini and his wife” in oil painting style made a huge impact in the art world. The colours that other painters used during that period were pale as compared to Eyck’s paintings.

Thereafter there were other developments by Antonello da Messina and Leonardo da Vinci. While Messina added lead oxide to help the colours dry more quickly, Vinci developed a method of preventing colours from turning too dark during preparation.

Italian artists made improvements to the oils used for their paintings but did not share with other painters. Therefore, Renaissance oil painting style was mostly dominated by Italians.

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