Types of Art

Published on: Mar 29 2011 by Shenron

The term art is not new as it has been with the humans for many centuries in one or another form, i.e. from ancient cave scrawling or scribbles and picture to the refined and diverse art of the present day. Art doesn’t exist in any one genre as there are several different genres of art exist where an artist apply different techniques and use different tools to create an artwork. Pastels, oil paints, pen, ink, acrylic paints, pencils, collage and several other tools or mediums are utilized by artists to create an artistic work. These mediums can be applied with the help of brushes, sponges, or even with hands. Artwork may portray or represent still life, floral, landscape, interior, portraiture, figure, abstract and experimental, animal or wildlife art. These are all constitute the different type of genres which can be made using different tools or mediums and can belong to different category of art. However, it is possible that a single artwork may carry the features of more than one art category. Below are given some of the different types of art.

Abstract Art

Abstract art is an art in which the artwork is based on general ideas rather than having any physical existence. In other words, we can say that an abstract art is based on an internal form instead of having any pictorial representation of things. The idea behind abstract art is to bring forth one’s feelings and sensations instead of portraying a real image. Abstract art is a genre of art which emphasize on the use of colors, shapes, or lines than mere pictorial representation. Abstract art was developed in response to classicism and impressionism. This nonobjective and nonrepresentational art was introduced in between 19th and 20th century. Pablo Picasso, Piet Mondrian, Wassily Kandinsky and Jackson Pollock are considered as some of the major names in promoting abstract art.


Impressionism is a genre of art that became popular in the late 19th century in a response to the needs of the French Academie des Beaux-Arts, commonly called The Academie. In impressionism a picture or image is portrayed by thick strokes of unmixed paints (Impasto) to give the impression of reflected light. The thick layer of paints used by the artists is prominent enough which are placed alongside each other and represents some sort of stylized imagery. The main idea behind this genre of art is centered on a fact that how the real light reflect the art content in different time of the day and seasons. To achieve this, majority of the impressionists used to paint outdoors in order to obtain the natural effects of light. Monet, Sisley, Renoir and Pissaro are some renowned impressionists.


Expressionism is a genre of art which deals with the subjective feelings of an artist. This genre of art flourished in the 20th century in a response to the impressionism. The main purpose of expressionism is to depict emotions by means of art. Unlike abstract genre of art in which the emphasis is put on the ideas or feelings other than reality, expressionism depicts real or existing ideas or images but in consent with the artist’s emotive nature. You may find the section of the colors and composition of the work hasty but they portray the artist’s feelings. Some of the popular expressionists are Egon Schiele, Edvard Munch and Marc Chagall.


Romanticism is a genre of art which was originated in Europe somewhere in the 18th century against the Age of Enlightenment. Romanticism was an artistic and intellectual movement which is describes by an elevated interest in nature, importance given to the individual’s expression of thoughts and feelings, and to reject the norms of classicism. Romanticism is a genre of art which is picturesque and characterize an emotional outlook. Colors and feelings are the two major factors that heightened the artistic contents. Thomas Cole, Henry Fuseli and William Blake are some of the renowned romanticist painters.


It is a genre of art which was developed by George Seurat and his followers in late 19th century in the France. This genre of art based on a technique of painting with tiny dots of pure colors that are arranged in certain patterns which give a distinguished image. Mostly, this sort of art genre centers around the portraiture, however, this technique may used to portray landscapes and abstract artwork as well. Some of the popular pointillist painters are George-Pierre Seurat, Vincent van Gogh and Chuck Close.

Folk Art

Folk art is a genre of art whose origin is yet not clear and it depicts the traditional values or norms of a society or culture. Some of the popular folk art comes from China, Africa, Latin America and North America. Art is equally popular in almost all the cultures. The mediums and materials utilized in folk art include fabric, paper, metal and clay. Folk art can be seen in the form of carved shapes, masks, puppetry, signs and textiles. Naïve, primitive and tribal art are often covered in folk art.

Art Nouveau

Art Nouveau is a term which is derived from French language which literally means ‘new art’. This genre of art developed in France from where it extended to different European countries such as Belgium, Germany, Italy, etc. It also reached United Kingdom and United States somewhere between late 19th and early 20th century. Art nouveau is an art that focused on curvilinear facets of line which are applied to draw a flowing, especially liquid appearance. Art nouveau developed as a reaction to the Victorian art.


Cubism is a genre of art that developed in France in early 20th century with an inspiration taken from the then non-industrialized cultures like African, Native American and Micronesian. Cubism is an art which focus on the use of geometrical shapes to depict an object or image in artwork. Some of the famous cubist painters whose work got some appreciation are Pablo Picasso, Juan Gris and Georges Braque.


Realism is a genre of art which is based on practical matters or real things rather than imaginary or visionary representations. Realism developed as a reaction to the romanticism in the 19th century. All the representations are based on facts which are not influenced by the emotional aspects of an artist. An artist presents the things prior to any emotions and feelings. Some of the famous painters include John Singer Sargent, Thomas Eakins, Gustave Courbet and James Abbot McNeill Whistler.

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