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Art is a reflection of time.

Art is a form of mirror to our society.


The changing artistic landscapes have been both imaginatively and realistically depicted by different artists over a period through their own set of lens. These works of artists are truly fascinating bodies of art work. Many have acquired the tag of masterpieces to their work of art as priceless pieces over the time. There was this beautiful game of passing creative batons. Each art movement has given the next impetus to create a new art movement. These art works are in a way subtly interconnected. Every art form reaches a stage, it becomes a tipping point to move on and stages a new platform that get widely explored and creatively engaged.

This art movement was moving in the backdrop of the history’s most enlightened movement of cultural transformation, the Renaissance. Many great artists during that period had derived their inspirations from the ancient Greece and Rome which had a huge influence on these great artists during this different series of distinctive art movements.

The defining names were given to the movement latter based on collective sharing of common ideas, styles, approach and methods. The movement represented a typical style in art with a particular emphasis of a philosophy or a specific goal in perspective. And there were those core founders of movement and strong proponent of that style of art who predominantly drove the movement. They made their artwork profusely depict the style they were so passionately attached.

This period from early 19th century to the early 20th century developed a greater variety of style compared to any other periods in the human history.


Romanticism is about the nature and nurturing our nature…


1800-1950: Romanticism

It presented the world in a much more idealized way of living life. It was also known as Romantic era and focused on emotions, feelings and fervor. It imaginatively depicted exotic scenes from the stories of mythology to tales of legends. The brushwork of romantic era became looser and less precise. The subject varied from landscapes in nature to revolutions in our societies. Nature was important. Emotions and feelings had an edge over rational and logical thoughts. It led the emphasis on gratification of emotion and glorification of nature.

The Third of May 1808 – Francisco Goya

Liberty Leading the People – Eugene Delacroix

The Hay Wain – John Constable


Realism is what we see in things…      


1850 – Realism

The subject was dealt naturally without the standards and stipulation of artistic conventions. The focus was on real life, dealing with the everyday situations and handling problem faced by common people. It provided the visual voice to the suppressed feelings of the under privileged members of our society. It was devoid of the conceptual, exotic or any such super natural composition. It was about bringing the everyday life on the canvas and capturing the real life as it was happening. There was no coating on the canvas or crafting was not beyond what was seen. It showed the reality, nothing but the exactness…

It all began after the 1848 French Revolution. Realism revolted against the exotic subject matter and the exaggerated emotionalism of the Romantic Movement. The art movement was led by Gustave Courbet in France. It was the first modern movement in art that rejected the traditional forms of art and literature.

Olympia – Edouard Manet

A Burials at Ornans – Gustave Courbet


Impressionism is how we see the things…


1870-1880: Impressionism                

It is a technique characterized by small, thin but visible brush strokes. There is a strong emphasize on the effect of light in the way it was used in painting. A quickly applied brush strokes give the illusion of movement and spontaneity. This composition captured the emotion of light and the movement.  This movement took shape after the advent of photography which took the artists from the burden of presenting the realism instead their focus shifted to the impression that they perceived got better presented. This art form was largely dominated by distortion, exaggeration and spontaneity.  They painted modern life and contemporary landscapes instead of the historical and mythological narratives. They painted in open air and used a palette of pure colors. They captured the fleeting moments and the color as it appeared in that very moment. Portrait art was another popular genre of impressionist artist.

Impressionism is arguably considered the most famous French art movement. The movement gained the name when French critic Louis Leroy reviewing one exhibition stated that this group painting is nothing but impressions.  Impressionist rejected the state control academics and salons in favor of independent exhibitions. Claude Monet was considered as the father of this movement.

Impression, Sunrise – Claude Monet

Water Lilies – Claude Monet

Luncheon of the Boating Party – Auguste Renoir



Post-Impressionism was on abstract qualities & symbolic content…


1882-1915: Post-Impressionism

All these artists began with the impressionist style of painting and at one point decided to abandon and create a new style. This movement started from the moment there was a reaction to naturalist depiction of light and color. The role changing colors to the composition of pure colors. The focus was on the form and the way it was well thought-out. The emphasis was on figurative content, prescribed order and organized composition. It was predominately a French art movement. The term “post-impressionism” was coined by English art critic Roger Fry.

The Starry Night – Vincent van Gogh

The Basket of Apples – Paul Cezanne

Vision after the Sermon – Paul Gauguin

The Sleeping Gypsy – Henri Rousseau


Pointillism is about the dots that make an image…


1884–1900: Pointillism                        

It is from French word “point” meaning “dot”. It is a technique of painting where distinct dots of colors or strokes are applied in patterns to form an image. Georges Seurat was considered the founder of this technique. Paul Signac was primarily attracted by the scientific method behind the technique of Pointillism. It is more as a way of painting and less to do with the subject matter of painting. Every part of the picture is done with dots. It is usually done in oil paints. There is a technical difference in the application of color. Instead of mixing color pigments on a palette, and then applying the mixture onto the painting, the small dots of pure unmixed colors are directly applied onto the canvas and it allows the viewers to mix the color optically.

A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte – Georges Seurat

Women at the Well – Paul Signac


Fauvism is about breaking the conventions of art work…


1905-1908: Fauvism

This art movement driven towards radical use of colors that was different from the usual representational manifestations. It was the first major avant-garde movements in Europe’s 20th century art.  In an exhibition French critic Louis Vauxcelles described the artists as “Les Fauves” meaning “wild beasts”. These artists extensively used non-naturalist and exuberant colors quite vividly straight from the paint tubes to create a sense of explosion on the canvas.  It was radical use of unnatural colors that segregated color from its usual realistic and representational role giving different and new emotional meaning to colors.

Blue Nude – Henri Matisse

Woman with a Hat – Henri Matisse

Man with a Guitar – George Braque

Charing Cross Bridge – Andre Derain


Cubism is about the composition through cubes and shapes…


1907 – 1914: Cubism

It was truly a revolutionized style of modern art. The name derived from the fact that artworks looked like they are made of cubes. It was an artistic response to the fast changing society that was moving at an unprecedented rapidity. This is characterized by emphasizing on formal structure and the reduction of natural forms to their geometrical equivalents. The name derived from the items used on the art work that was made of cubes and other geometrical shapes. It was interlocking of different shapes and geometric planes. It inspired movement in other fields of literature and architecture. The impact of this movement was wide-ranging and far-reaching. It rejected the single view-point. It was the first abstract art style. .

This movement began in Paris, a joint effort by Pablo Picasso and George Braque.

Guernica – Pablo Picasso

Les Demoiselles d’Avignon – Pablo Picasso

Man with a Guitar – George Braque


Expressionism is about the way we express our emotions…


1905-1920: Expressionism

The movement intended to convey emotion and meaning rather than reality. Each artist had their typical way of expressing their feelings and subjects were deliberately distorted to order to evoke emotions. It presented the world from a subjective perspective. It primarily emphasized the significance of subjective perception over objective reality. The colors were vivid and vibrant. The presentation was not driven by objective proposition but was primarily driven from a subjective perspective.

The Scream – Edvard Munch

Composition VII – Wassily Kandisky

No.5, 1948 – Jackson Pollock


Dadaism is about the fight against the system and establishment…


1915 – Dadaism                                                        

It was an art movement formed at Café Voltaire in Zurich after the First World War in protesting reaction to the stupidity of the war. It was to stop the war. It was an artistic rebellion emerged out of the disgust of the social, economic, political and cultural values of that time. It was a movement powered with the idea of anti-nationalism. The art was about demonstrations, declarations and confrontations. Though not very clear but Dada got its name when German artists Richard and Bala came upon the word “hobbyhorse” in a French German dictionary. It could well be coming from the frequent use of word da! da! meaning yes! yes!.. “For us, art is not an end in itself but an opportunity for the true perception and criticism of the times we live in,” was how Hugo Ball expressed it.

Forest and Dove – Max Ernst

The Treachery of Images – Rene Magritte


Surrealism is about the power of imagination and intuition…


1920 – Surrealism        

It started with the fall of Dadaism in Paris. This art form allowed seeing the art in its purest form as it stems from imagination rather than reality. It helped artists to express their thoughts and emotions in a much better way. This movement focused on the ideas of disarray and unconscious desires to derive inspiration deep within us from our realm of mind. It was a movement of converging the conscious and sub-conscious realm of experience and engagement of the world of vision and dream. It was a movement of liberation and freedom from the raison d’être and conventions. Salvador Dali is considered to be the father of Surrealist form of Art.

The Persistence of Memory – Salvador Dali

Fountain – Marcel Duchamp



From the late 19th century to mid 20th century art along with literature, science and philosophy was defined by a sense of progress and technological advancements primarily influenced by the Industrial Revolution. Thereafter the western world had experienced a major shift after the Second World War with millions of death to demolition of old political ideologies to deployment of destructive nuclear weapons. The modernist outlooks that was prevalent and dominated pre-world wars suddenly became irrelevant and obsolete.


Paris and Europe was no longer the center of art.

The focus shifted to America and New York.


There was this flourishing popular culture of which the artists were an integral part and it led to the momentum of post-modernism movement of Pop Art“popular” became the subject and medium for many artists.


It was a way of thinking and an attitude towards life…


Nihar R Pradhan

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Nihar R PradhanStoriesArt,Art Movement,Artists,Cubism,Dadaism,Expressionism,Fauvism,Impressionism,modern art,Pointillism,Realism,Romanticism,Surrealism,Western ArtArt is a reflection of time. Art is a form of mirror to our society.   The changing artistic landscapes have been both imaginatively and realistically depicted by different artists over a period through their own set of lens. These works of artists are truly fascinating bodies of art work. Many have acquired...Break the barrier and Make a difference...