13 Revolutionary Art Movements That Have Shaped Our Visual History

Looking back through Western history, it’s incredible to see how many types of art have made an impact on society. By tracing a timeline through different art movements, we’re able to not only see how modern and contemporary art has developed, but also how art is a reflection of its time.

For instance, did you know that Impressionism was once considered an underground, controversial movement or that Abstract Expressionism signaled a shift in the art world from Paris to New York? Like building blocks, from Realism to Lowbrow, these different types of art are interconnected. As the creative pendulum swings, artistic styles are often reactions against or homages to their predecessors. And by looking back at some of the most important art movements in history, we have a clearer understanding of how famous artists like Van Gogh, Picasso, and Warhol have revolutionized the art world.


Types of Art Renaissance Michelangelo

From the 14th through 17 century, Italy underwent an unprecedented age of enlightenment. Known as the Renaissance—a term derived from the Italian word Rinascimento, or “rebirth”—this period saw increased attention to cultural subjects like art and architecture.

Italian Renaissance artists like Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and Raphael found inspiration in classical art from Ancient Rome and Greece, adopting ancient interests like balance, naturalism, and perspective. In Renaissance-era Italy, this antiquity-inspired approach materialized as humanist portrait painting, anatomically correct sculpture, and harmonious, symmetrical architecture.


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