Art History Co is dedicated to the famous and mostly not-so-famous artists and artwork across the various periods of Art History. Click on the link below or select other links on the right-hand side of the page.
What is Art History?
Art history is the study and appreciation of artworks from specific periods of time. What is so exciting about art history is that it is so diverse and varied.
This is because every era produced a new style of art and sometimes even more. In order to appreciate art, it is necessary to understand its historical context. There are many different artistic styles from different periods. They are often very different and reflect the preoccupations of a time and its beliefs. Below is a list of the main artistic phases and periods from the Late Middle Ages to the Twentieth Century.
Art History Timeline
Italian Renaissance (1330-1550)
An era that was greatly influenced by the Classical era and humanism. The period’s paintings are characterized by a high degree of proficiency, color, and above all realism. Perspective was used to create depth and an illusion of space. Many of the era’s subjects were religious but there was a preoccupation with the human form also.
Northern Renaissance (1430-1580)
This was influenced by the Italian Renaissance and is associated with Northern Europe. The style was broadly similar to the Italian Renaissance, especially in its realism and subject matter. Perspective was used to create landscapes much more than in Italy. The Northern Renaissance subjects were much more Christian in subject matter than Italian painting. This movement laid the foundation for national painting styles in many Northern European nations.
Key Artists: Jan van Eyck, Albrecht Dürer, Hans Holbein the Younger, Hieronymus Bosch, Lucas Cranach the Elder
Key Paintings: Ince Hall Madonna, Self-portrait at 28, The Beggars, Portrait of Charles de Solier, Hunting Near Hartenfels Castle
Dutch Golden Age (1575 – 1675)
This was the flourishing of art when the Dutch Republic was a powerful state. It was influenced by the Northern Renaissance and the Baroque. The style was realistic and paid great attention to detail. This period was famous for its realistic images of everyday life and also for still-life paintings. The paintings are much more focused on ordinary life and people than monarchs and saints, which was a first in art history.
Key Artists: Frans Hals, Johannes Vermeer, Rembrandt, Judith Leyster, Jan Steen
Key Paintings: Malle Babbe, Girl with a Broom, The Raising of the Cross, Lady Standing at a Virginal, The Abduction of Europa
Baroque (1600 to 1750)
The Baroque was influenced by Counter-Reformation Catholic thought. Painters from this era rejected the influence of the Renaissance. They favored intense colors and dramatic contrasts between shadow and light. This artistic style emphasized drama and movement and the paintings often tell a story. The Baroque focused on the emotions in its subjects, especially in portraits a departure from the Renaissance.
Key Artists: Diego Velazquez, Caravaggio, Claude Lorrain, Artemisia Gentileschi, Nicolas Poussin
Key Paintings: Young Sick Bacchus, The Flute Player, A Dance to the Music of Time, Self Portrait as a Lute Player, The Arcadian Shepherds
This is often considered to be a late Baroque style. It was also different, and it was less interested in religion. The style is very decorative and distinguished by its use of bright colors. It is often seen as rejecting classicism. Rococo painting is concerned with nature and the joy of life. It depicts idealized scenes that are graceful and often verge on the fantastical.
Key Artists: Jean-Antoine Watteau, Thomas Gainsborough, Francisco Goya, Jean Honoré Fragonard, Giovanni Battista Tiepolo
Key Paintings: Juno and Luna, The See-Saw, The Parasol, Mrs. Mary Robinson, Pierrot
This was an artistic movement that rejected the influence of the French Revolution and sought a return to Classical art. It was highly realistic and often used historical subjects. The style at its best married idealism with drama. The paintings are often severe and always highly realistic.
Key Artists: Antoine-Jean Gros, Jacques-Louis David, Benjamin West, William Blake Richmond, Gainsborough Dupont
Key Paintings: Mars Being Disarmed by Venus, Henry Fiennes Pelham Clinton, The Battle of Nazareth, Hera in the House of Hephaistos, Benjamin Franklin Drawing Electricity from the Sky
This art was inspired by the French Revolution and was concerned with the individual. Many artists presented their own subjective experiences and often depicted highly emotional scenes in vivid colors. Romantic painters rejected the studio and typically painted outdoors and elevated landscape painting. They often painted dramatic subjects and often painted subjects from folklore and customs and were fascinated by the supernatural.
Key Artists: Francisco Goya, Jean-Léon Gérôme, J.M.W. Turner, Caspar David Friedrich, Eduard Magnus
Key Paintings: Return of the Palikaren, The Nude Maja, Calais Pier, Shade and Darkness The Evening of the Deluge, The Slave Ship
Academic Art (1800-1900)
This was a style of painting that was influenced by the standards of the French Académie des Beaux-Arts. It was idealistic in style and sought to combine the color of the Romantics with the lines of Classicism. This movement was very conservative and often focused on historical and mythical subjects.
Key Artists: Jean-Léon Gérôme, Pierre Auguste Cot, Hans Makart, John Reinhard Weguelin, Paul-Jacques-Aimé Baudry
Key Paintings: Equality Before Death, The Five Senses, Lesbia, The Pearl and the Wave, Ophelia (Pause for Thought), Daphnis and Chloe
Realism was an art movement that rejected Romanticism and its overwrought and highly emotional style. It sought to be naturalistic and to return to themes drawn from everyday life. Many of the subjects were taken from everyday life and the struggles of the common man and woman. It was primarily a French movement and was connected to the rise of Socialist politics in Europe.
Key Artists: Jean-Léon Gérôme, Winslow Homer, William-Adolphe Bouguereau, Frederic Remington, James Tissot, Lawrence Alma-Tadema
Key Paintings: Nymphs and Satyr, Gloucester Harbor, The Irritating Gentleman, The Desperate Man, An Eloquent Silence
This was a ‘brotherhood’ of English painters who rejected the Academic style. They were inspired by Raphael. This group was committed to a naturalistic portrayal of serious subjects and wanted to produce heartfelt art. They had a range of subject matters such as portraits, history, and even painted social issues. The Pre-Raphaelites often painted in vivid colors, with great detail, and often used symbolism to express their ideas.
Key Artists: John Everett Millais, John William Waterhouse, William Holman Hunt, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Frederick Sandys
Key Paintings: Amaryllis, May Morning on Magdalen, Lady Godiva, Love’s Shadow, Portrait of Sophie Gray
A mainly French movement style characterized by a concern with capturing a visual impression. Its paintings are characterized by the interplay of light and color. This movement sought to capture an emotion or feeling rather than an accurate representation. The Impressionists were masters of color and painted nature and also urban scenes.
This movement was a reaction against the Impressionists and especially their naturalism and concern with light. They were more considered with the artist’s subjective impression and the emotion in a scene. Post-Impressionists were considered with symbolism and abstract qualities which they used for effect.
This was a Franco-Russian movement. It was concerned with visual imagery that conveyed deep meaning. Many of their symbols were personal and they often used dream-like scenes. Mythical subjects were often painted, and often macabre and morbid themes were treated by Symbolist painters. Many Symbolist paintings are often visionary and mystical.
Key Artists: Gustav Klimt, Edvard Munch, Maurice Denis, Gustave Moreau, Alphonse Mucha
Key Paintings: Judith and the Head of Holofernes, Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I, Byzantine Head Blonde, Despair, Jealousy
An avant-garde French movement that emphasized color over form. The Fauvists aspire to paint in pure color. Their work was characterized by broad strokes of the brush and there was a high level of abstraction in their depictions. Fauvism was perhaps the first art movement that was interested in non-Western art. This movement only last less than a decade but influenced many twentieth-century masters.
This was a movement that developed in Northern Europe. It is concerned with the viewpoint and emotional state of the painter and the images often exaggerated or distorted were designed to evoke an emotional reaction. The Expressionists were deeply influenced by Germanic, and Nordic art, and their subjects and paintings are often somber. Expressionist artists were often more interested in provoking a reaction than creating something beautiful and pleasing.
Art History Styles