Pre-Historic (before writing) (15,000 BC) Cave paintings of animals, loosely done, great vitality and movement. Small, portable sculpture.


Ancient Near East ((3500 to 500 BC) Small Statues, Ziggurats, carved reliefs. Some violent, some calm and humble. Narrative.


Egyptian (3500 to 500 BC) Great monuments (Pyramid tombs) painted tombs, huge statues and small delicate works. Stiff body conventions (twisted torso). Very ordered and strict, lots of symbolism.


Greek (5th century BC) Beauty, Harmony, Order. The Idealized view of man. Temples to the gods, cities, theatres, etc. The true beginning of "Western Culture." Art for Art's sake.


Roman ( 2nd century BC to 4th century AD) Similar to Greek but more realistic, shows people as they really look. Very narrative. Innovators in architecture.


Christian (West) (Begins: 3rd century AD) Themes from the Bible. Few nudes. Teaching art. Move away from realism toward symbolic form.


Byzantine (East) (6th to 15th century) Retains Greek harmony. Themes from Bible. Mosaics. Not very realistic.


Islamic (Begins: 7th century) Decorative art, much based on calligraphy, word of God. Few figures. Fabulous architecture.


Medieval (Romanesque) (12th century) Early medieval--heavy architecture, stiff and often twisted figures, nervous, excited style.


Medieval (Gothic) (13th-14th century) The great cathedrals (Notre Dame) French style, which spreads all over Europe. Move toward realism in both figures and decoration.


Italian Renaissance (14-16th century) Return to the ideals of Greek and Roman period. (Re-birth of Greco-Roman style). Man as a noble, perfect creature combined with Biblical themes. Mostly religious art.


Northern Renaissance (14th-16th century) Dutch, Flemish, and German Renaissance. Move towards greater realism and more emotion.


Baroque (17th century) Takes realism from Renaissance and adds more movement, drama, energy, light, passion.


Rococo (18th century) Highly ornamental, busy, light-hearted, rich.


Romanticism (19th century) Highly emotive, sometimes horrific or sublime imagery. Images from the mind or psyche - often a literary connection.


Neo-Classicism (19th century) Severely linear style - precise line. Cool, calm, classical.


Realism (19th century) New subject matter: current events and the modern world. Landscapes, still lifes, genre scenes.


Impressionism (19th century) Capturing the effects of light on surfaces, especially in landscape motifs. Brushwork more loose, painterly effects giving a sensation or "impression" of the image.


Post-Impressionism (19th century) Sometimes referred to as Neo-Impressionism. Two wings: One interested more in form and structure, the other interested more in emotion and symbolism. 1. Cezanne, Seurat. 2. Gaugain, van Gogh.


Art Nouveau (19th century) Decorative, floral, delicate designs - sensual rhythms and arabesque line.


Expressionism (1905)

Fauvism French form of Expressionism, intense color. Flattened space, little or no linear perspective. Leader: Matisse.


German Expressionism - fauve-like color, more acerbic in mood, angst-filled emotions. Die Brucke and Der Blaue Reiter groups. Kirchner, Nolde, Kandinsky, Marc, Beckmann, Kollwitz


Cubism (1907) Faceted, broken forms, showing many sides at once. Some African and Oceanic influences. Leader: Picasso.


International Architectural Style (1920s 1970s) Clean, sleek, architecture with no decoration.


Dada (1916) Anti-art, anti-rationalism. An art focused on ideas and statements. Leaders: Tristan Tzara and Marcel Duchamp.


Surrealism (1924) Focus on the subconscious and the world of dreams and visions. Utilized elements of chance and the accidental. Influenced by modern psychology: Freud and Jung. Leaders: Andre Breton, Dali, Miro.


Abstract Expressionism (1940s-50s)

Action Painting Very personal, expressive imagery and brushwork. Usually completely abstract (no recognizable forms). A very process-oriented art. Also influenced by modern psychology - More Jung though than Freud.

Gorky, de Kooning, Pollock.


Color-Field Painting Saturated color applied either flatly or using a staining technique. Rothko, Frankenthaler.


Pop Art (1960s) Using commercial art elements as fine art. Warhol, Johns, Oldenburg.


Op Art (1960s) An abstract art focusing on optical effects.


Minimalism (really started with the Totally abstract...very few forms. Sometimes associated with Gestalt Psychology.

Russian Avant Garde around 1910, but

this stylistic term takes hold in the 1960s.)

Totally abstract...very few forms. Sometimes associated with Gestalt Psychology.


Performance Art (1970s present) Art through actions. Beuys, Anderson.


Earthworks (1970s present) Large projects often involving large spatial areas of an actual landscape and many people. Christo, Smithson, Holt.


Conceptual Art (1970s present) Idea-oriented art. Kosuth.


Perceptual Art (1970s present) Art that changes the way you "see" a space or form. Irwin, Turrell.


Post-Modernism (1970s present) Eclectic use of past styles.