Art Movements Which Shaped Our World

  • 16 November 2016
  • Sarah Holden

Art movements are styles of artwork which had a common goal. Each art movement had its followers and a set time period when it took place. But art movements itself is a 20th century term, created to help catalogue the many different art styles we see today.

Art has evolved throughout history, moving from a way of recording events to displaying for pleasure. As styles have changed, modern art historians wanted to organise the growing versatility into something more manageable. That’s why each art style was given a name retrospectively and this name most often came from the comments in a critical review of the style.

Popular Art Movements

With such a wide range of art styles, it is understandable to have never heard of most before. But there are some which are incredibly well-known thanks to famous artists who practised within that style. They include:


Established during the late 19th century in France, artists from this era focused on using innovative painting and colour techniques. Artists included Claude Monet, Vincent Van Gogh and Edgar Degas.

Post Impressionism

Not a formal style or movement, Post Impressionism was the result of artists in the late 19th century who wanted to rebel against the constraints of Impressionism. Artists included Paul Gauguin, Vincent Van Gogh and Paul Cezanne.


In the early 20th century, Pablo Picasso and Georges Braques created the first modern art which no longer followed the rules set during the Renaissance period. An abstract type of art which focused on introducing relativity into artworks.


Another 20th century creation, Surrealism is focused on creating art from the artist’s imagination and dreams, like a heightened reality. Artists include Max Earnest and Rene Magritte.

Pop Art

Established during the 1950’s and 60’s, Pop Art is modelled on mass-media, being youthful and kind of crazy. Artists included Richard Hamilton and Jasper Johns.


Full of emotional and spiritual themed artwork, Expressionism began in Northern Europe in the early 20th century. Artists included Edvard Munch and Karl Schmidt-Rottluff.


More of a protest movement than an art one, which focused on provocation and confrontation to get their message across. This happened because artists were disgusted with what was happening around them, especially during times of war. Artists included Man Ray, Hannah Hoch and Raoul Hausmann.

Artists here at The Little Gallery do take inspiration from these popular art movements in their work. Come into our gallery or take a look at our online gallery!


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