Outline of Movements in Art

Outline of Movements in Art


Movements in Art

Renaissance (14th – 17thcentury)

Renaissance is a period in Europe dating form 14th to 17thcentury and is historically considered as the bridge between modernhistory and middle ages (Panofsky,1960).

Renaissance is associated with a cultural movement that began inItaly during the late medieval period and later spread to the rest ofEurope with humanism as its intellectual basis. Renaissance is alsoattributed to the rediscovery of the Greek philosophy whichstipulated that ‘man is the measure of all things’ and thisformed the new thinking that shaped art, literature and architecture(Panofsky,1960). As acultural movement, renaissance led to new classical techniques ofportraying reality through paintings. One distinguishable aspect ofrenaissance is the development of a realistic perspective that was inturn exhibited through arts such as classical painting.

Artwork significant to the movement

  • Giotto di Bondone the Crucifix, 1290 was completed at the Dominicans, Saint Maria Novella.

  • Michelangelo (also known as Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni) The Doni Tondo 1504-06 St. Florence Italy.

Baroque (17th and 18thcentury)

Baroque is a period of artistic style that used exaggerated motionand clear pictures to create drama, exuberance, tension and grandeurin painting, architecture and sculptor works. Baroque was largelyinfluenced by the Roman Catholic Church doctrine of reform thatdemanded that all paintings give detailed information to the‘illiterate.’ Baroque is a Latin word that means something is‘elaborate’ and detailed. As such, baroque was an idea to presentreligious mannerism through paintings to counter the rising threat ofProtestantism (Kitson, 1966).

Baroque artist painters significant to the time

  • Federico Barocci 1592-96 The Annunciation Vatican (Rome)

  • Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio 1601-1606 Death of the Virgin

Romanticism (18th century)

Romanticism is an artistic, intellectual and literary movement thatoriginated from Europe towards the close of 18th centuryand is largely as a result of industrial revolution influence.Romanticism signified the social, political and aristocratic norms ofthe enlightenment age and emphasized on aesthetic appearance thatshowed intense emotions of horror, terror and apprehension (Ferber,2010).

Artistic works relevant to the Romanticism period

Caspar David Friedrich 1818 Wanderer above the Sea of Fog.Germany

  • The Wanderer above the Sea of Fog is a romantic masterpiece that exudes the terrifying mastery of landscape through painting.

Eugene Delacroix 1827 Death of Sardanapalus.Louvre France

  • This painting uses rich, vivid and warm colors


Impressionisms are a 19th century artistic movement thatoriginated from Paris artists who made independent exhibitions in thelate 19th century. Impressionisms emphasis on accurate,small, thin and open painting compositions that gives unusual visualexperience and perception of objects (Moskowitz and Sérullaz, 1962).

Artistic works relevant to the impressionist age

  • Claude Monet Poppies 1873 Paris

  • Camille Doncieux The Woman in the Green Dress1866 Kunsthalle Bremen


Modernism started as a philosophical movement influenced by culturalchanges and trends due to wide scale social transformation in thelate 19th and early 20th centuries. Modernismssignify new and abstract art that is notably characterized byself-consciousness (Art,1994). To this end, modernism is an artistic style ofrepresenting aesthetic introspection. Modernism is also defined asmode of thinking based on the perspective of ‘making new things.’

Artistic works associated with Modernism

  • Hans Hofmann The Gate 1959-1960 Solomon R. Guggenheim

Hans Hofmann was a German American who excelled in abstractexpressionist painting.

  • Pablo Picasso 1937 Guernica Madrid, Spain.


ArtBerman (1994).Preface to Modernism, University of Illinois Press.

Ferber, Michael. (2010). Romanticism: A Very Short Introduction.Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press.

Kitson,Michael. (1966). TheAge of Baroque. Landmarks of theWorld`s Art. London: Hamlyn New York: McGraw-Hill.

Moskowitz, Ira Sérullaz, Maurice (1962). French Impressionists:A Selection of Drawings of the French 19th Century. Boston andToronto: Little, Brown and Company.

Panofsky,Erwin. (1960).Renaissance and Renascences inWestern Art, New York: Harper andRow.