Art Genres Defined

  • abstract


    Art that is non-representational or lacking realism; has no particular focus or form.

  • abstract-expressionism

    Abstract Expressionism

    A style of art at its height in the mid-twentieth century characterized by a variety of nontraditional techniques emphasizing spontaneity, and non-representational images.

  • asian


    Artwork reflecting the diversity and culture of the countries of Asia such as China, Japan, India, Korea, etc.

  • baroque


    A style of art popular in Europe from 1600-1750 characterized by an overall richness in composition, strong emotions, and lighting.

  • contemporary


    Art which is created within one's lifetime; artwork created by living artists.

  • cubism


    An abstract style of painting and sculpture, reaching its height from 1907-1914; characterized by fracturing an image into geometric shapes, experimenting with various points of view, and typically using a limited color palette.

  • environmental


    A movement dating from the late 1960s that improves the human relationship with the world or transforms the natural landscape; sometimes addresses social and political issues of natural and urban environments; often an installation, usually outdoors; some works are large enough to enter and move about in.

  • folk


    Often called primitive art, typically produced by people with no formal art education; art often created to preserve traditional culture and characterized by a simple style, in which traditional rules of proportion and perspective are not used; includes functional sculptural objects such as candlesticks, baskets, spoons, toys, as well as wood cuts, scrimshaw, pottery, textiles and clothing, etc.

  • harlem-renaissance

    Harlem Renaissance

    A period from 1915-1940 when African-American writers, artists, philosophers, activists, and musicians, congregating in New York City's Harlem, sought to define African-American culture; most frequently thought of as a 1920s phenomenon; at its height, achievements in art, music, and literature flourished.

  • impressionism


    A style of art inviting the viewer to experience the scene emotionally; emphasis on how light affects the objects or subjects within the painting; characterized by lively, animated brush strokes and blurred details; overall effect is like looking through a veil or squinting.

  • latin-american

    Latin American

    Artwork reflecting the diversity and culture of Latin America including Central America, South America, the islands of the Caribbean, etc.

  • modern-art

    Modern Art

    A genre which spanned several distinct styles of art in the late 19th and 20th centuries including Impressionism, Expressionism, Surrealism, Pop Art, Fauvism, Cubism, etc; typically deviates from traditional techniques and conveys reactions to the rapidly changing world - politically, industrially, culturally, etc.

  • pop


    An art movement that incorporates modern popular culture and mass media; includes images of everyday things from modern life such as supermarket products, swimming pools, famous people, or places; often pokes fun at traditional art.

  • post-impressionism


    A style of art that evolved from Impressionism; celebrating individual expression and/or the use of vivid color.

  • prehistoric


    Art created during the time period prior to written language or documented historical accounts.

  • renaissance


    A period of European history at the close of the Middle Ages and the rise of the modern world; a cultural rebirth from the 14th through the middle of the 17th centuries; a revival of classical art, architecture, literature, and learning that originated in Italy in the 14th century and later spread throughout Europe.

  • social-realism

    Social Realism

    A movement reflected in the artwork of many popular artists during the 1930s characterized by scenes depicting contemporary life of the working class alluding to the social, political, or economic environment of the times.

  • surrealism


    A style of art that was popular in the 1920s which blurred elements of reality and fantasy.

  • us-western

    U.S. Western

    Art which captures the spirit and diverse cultures of the American West.