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Most Important Art Movements That Revolutionized the World of Art

10 Most Important Art Movements That Revolutionized the World of Art

All great art movements have the same thing in common––they have contributed to the evolution and foundation of modern-day art. The purpose of this article isn’t to pick the single most important movement, but to present you a brief overview of all the movements that changed the visual art world as we know it today.

So, let’s take a look at some of the most relevant, notable and popular art movements of all time.

Rennaisance: one of the most important art movement

The Renaissance

The Rennaisance art movement was a big turning point in the history of art. It started as a cultural movement in Italy during the 14th century, spreading to Western Europe, where it gave rise to the artistic styles of the Italian Renaissance. The term refers to the rebirth of classical texts and art forms, which then had a great influence on the style and content of art. This period was characterized by an interest in humanism, forcing artists to not only pay attention to nature, but also to their fellow man.

This era is considered one of the most innovative time periods for artists and gave birth to many famous artists such as Leonardo Da Vinci or Michelangelo Buonarroti. The most important element that this movement brought about was perspective, which is a method of creating an illusion of depth in paintings and other forms of art. The most popular part during this period was between 1400-1600 A.D., when there was a lot of focus on realism and humanism; many artists preferred painting naturalistically with light colors and textures. The beginning of this period saw an emphasis on more religious subject matter while towards its end, it began to focus more on realism and the beauty of earth’s landscape.

Realism: one of the most important art movement


Realism is the movement in the visual arts that captures the visible world in a realistic way. The aim is to show everyday scenes and events, but in a way that appears photographic and matter-of-fact. It is also known as “naturalism”. Realist painters use relatively few artistic techniques to produce their effects. These artists strive for verisimilitude.

Realism as an art movement began in France in the 1850s, after the 1848 revolution, which caused a social upheaval that resulted in the short-lived Second French Republic. The realist paintings of Gustave Courbet depict people and landscapes as they appear in nature.

The French government commissioned several artists to work on paintings depicting important events from the recent past; these paintings depicted heroes of the revolution and scenes from daily life. Other realists include Jean-François Millet, Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Honoré Daumier, and Jules Breton. Realist works are relatively detailed but they contain traces of impressionism.

An artist create images of all classes of society, including those at work or at play and those created by people whose job was to record or capture what they saw; these included photographers and photojournalists.

Impressionism: one of the most important art movement


Impressionism is the name given to a group of artistic movements that started in France in the mid-19th century. The movement was officially formed in 1863 when Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, Pierre Auguste Renoir and Alfred Sisley exhibited their works together for the first time at the Paris Salon. They were later joined by Camille Pissarro, Paul Cezanne, Berthe Morisot and Mary Cassatt.

The Impressionists challenged accepted norms of art by rejecting outdated techniques such as allegory and idealism. Instead they made painting more realistic. They painted landscapes and scenes of everyday life using bright colors and short brush strokes. The Impressionist movement revolutionized the world of art by taking it away from its academic roots and ushering in the modern era of art. It also paved the way for Post-Impressionism which evolved into Cubism, Fauvism and Abstract Expressionism.

Cubism: one of the most important art movement


Cubism is the name given to an avant-garde movement in art that revolutionized the painting world. It was launched by Pablo Picasso (Spanish) and Georges Braque (French) in 1908 in Paris. Cubism is a style of painting that broke away from the traditional techniques of painting objects on a two dimensional plane by giving the artist freedom to depict them from any angle he or she chooses.

Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque started working together as soon as they met which led to many collaborations. They used this technique where multiple views of an object were presented simultaneously, thus providing the viewer with a greater understanding of the subject depicted.

The term “Cubism” was coined by a critic named Louis Vauxcelles who referred to it as “bizarre cubiques”. He had also called it “cubic” and “Bizarre”, and later “analytical.” Picasso and Braque worked together for about four years, each exploring new ways of representing three dimensional objects on a two dimensional plane. The Cubist style was exhibited at the Salon des Independants in Paris during the spring of 1911.

Abstract Art

Abstract art is the kind of art that doesn’t represent anything realistic. It has no reference to anything in the real world. It was first introduced in the 19th century. Since then it has been appreciated by many and has evolved into a great movement that has influenced other art forms as well. Toward the end of the 19th century, when impressionism was declining, a new movement began to gain popularity and this was abstract art. These artists were concerned with creating compositions which were purely aesthetic and based on formal elements such as color, form, texture, space and line.

The artists had no direct intention of portraying an object or figure which is visible in nature or from a common life experience. During this period there was a revolt against realism in fine art and many artists started to experiment with different styles including Fauvism, Cubism, Dadaism and Surrealism. Here are some abstract artists who revolutionized the world of art:


Surrealism is always a surprise, a shock, and often in bad taste. It’s supposed to be. Surrealism has no set subject matter and no set technique. The artists who have practiced this art have used painting, photography, sculpture, poetry and many other mediums to express their creativity. These artists strive to bring forth the unconscious mind and allow it to take over the creative process.

So if you are an artist who wants to try something new that can help you break away from your normal artistic boundaries then this is the right style for you. This art style was first created in France during the war as an escape from reality for its practitioners. Surrealism is considered to be the opposite of realism which depicts objects as they actually are in the world. The subjects of surrealist art are things that are impossible or odd such as clocks with eyes or winged humans.

Many people confuse surrealist art with Dadaism painting and sculpture because of the strange subject matter which reflects human depravity and irrationality. Surrealist paintings usually contain imagery that is strongly symbolic by nature but also incorporates elements of fantasy or dream logic. The dreamlike quality is what makes these pieces so interesting for viewers and critics alike because it forces them to think about their own.

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Conceptual Art

In the art world, conceptual art represents a great revolution, in which artists take over the traditional roles of critics and audience. Several different styles fall under its umbrella, including performance art, body art, installation art and object art. Conceptual artists do not create works to be viewed; instead, they create situations meant to inspire thoughts in viewers.

The idea behind conceptual art is that it is never finished. Artists encourage viewers to complete the work themselves by interpreting it. Conceptual art is not so much about a finished product as it is about a process of discovery for both the artist and the viewer. Conceptual artists frequently use unconventional materials in their work. Some put together books using only images from other books or magazines; others make sculptures out of found objects.

Many conceptual artists are interested in art history as well as current events. Some even try to influence political or social issues through their work. Conceptualism began in the 1960s and flourished into the 1970s. It was spearheaded by individual artists such as Yves Klein, Bruce Nauman and Robert Barry. Conceptualism was meant to be an anti-art movement with no boundaries and no rules. Most conceptualists did not display their work in galleries because they were opposed to commercialization of art.

Pop Art

Pop art emerged as an art movement in Britain and the United States during the mid- to late 1950s. It was inspired by popular commercial and consumer culture, and often used imagery taken directly from advertisement or mass media.

Pop art presented a new way of looking at familiar objects; it was a conscious effort to challenge the viewer’s assumptions about what they were seeing. Pop art presented everyday objects from a critical perspective, which invited viewers to reconsider their own perception of reality. Pop art marked the first time that avant-garde ideas about visual culture were directed toward a mass audience. The world of popular entertainment, which had previously been ignored by artists and critics alike, became the focus of artistic attention. Pop artists turned to subjects like comic books, movies, television and advertisements as inspiration for their work.

The term “pop art” first appeared in the title of a major exhibition at the Tate Gallery in London in 1958. The exhibition’s organizers described its goal as “to define and assess” this new style of art: “Pop” means popular, and is used here to describe those aspects of mass culture that have recently become sources of inspiration for contemporary artists.


The term minimalism is derived from the word minimal in reference to an art form or design. The first use of the term in this context was by American sculptor, Adolph Gottlieb, whose abstractions were described as “non-objective” and “minimal” in contrast to the more representational styles of the 1930s. Minimalism as a movement can be said to have started with three exhibitions:

The first modern American exhibition of abstract expressionist painting was held at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City in 1951 . This exhibition heralded Jackson Pollock and his contemporaries as the new leaders in modern American art. The movement is often referred to as New York Abstract Expressionism and is also referred to as the New York School for its emphasis on spontaneity, improvisation, and freedom of expression.

Minimal Art is a style that emerged in New York City in the 1960s. Its main practitioners are Donald Judd , Dan Flavin , Frank Stella , Anne Truitt , and Sol LeWitt . Their work was inspired by artists such as Pablo Picasso , Marcel Duchamp , Ad Reinhardt , Joseph Albers , and Josef Albers .


Expressionism is a modern, liberal form of arts that is often linked to the works of Vincent Van Gogh and Edvard Munch, two great artists who have influenced art history and the world of art. Expressionism is a movement that focuses on inner feelings and emotions of the artist. It was developed in Germany during World War I and soon after it spread to other countries like Sweden, Switzerland and France.

The term “Expressionism” was first used by the German art critic Roger Fry in 1910 when he described the work of Edvard Munch, a Norwegian painter who is known as one of the founders of this movement. However, this movement was actually initiated by Wassily Kandinsky, a Russian artist who believed that it is possible to express feelings and emotions through art.

This type of art gave way to Abstract Expressionism in America during the 1940s and 1950s which developed from German Expressionism. Over the years several other sub-styles emerged from Expressionism such as Abstract expressionism, Action painting, Lyrical Abstraction etc. Artists associated with this movement include Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Emil Nolde, Franz Marc and Edvard Munch.

Conclusion: Art movements are essential steps in the evolution of art. For every new movement, artists re-evaluate the status quo and question how the world is perceived by others. Each new movement makes a statement about the previous one. The artist strives to experiment with different styles and techniques to find a new medium of expression that best defines who he/she is in that particular period of artistic evolution. Simply stated, each artist identifies his/her unique voice in an increasingly competitive landscape.

Keywords: 10 most important art movements that revolutionized the world of art, past art movements, historical art movements, the top 10 most important art movements in history, the top 10 most important artistic revolutions, historical artistic movements, famous art movements

Meta description: Art Movements change the world we live in and can be seen so often that we may not notice them. We have found what are perceived to be the 10 most important art movements that have changed history.


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