11 Important Art Styles to Understand

11 Important Art Styles to Understand

Art style indicates why an artwork appears as it does. It provides a glimpse inside the artist’s creative process, allowing you to better comprehend the artist’s vision, subject, and feelings represented on the canvas. We detail 11 essential modern art styles and their qualities with examples in this list so you know what to search for and only buy art online that meets your taste and that you can relate to.


Abstract art, also known as concrete art or nonobjective art, is a style in which an element from the real world is represented by the artist utilising shapes, colours, forms, and gestural marks but separated from its truest form. Shapes and gestural markings depict objects, whereas colours express feelings. In other words, this is a non-objective, non-representational kind of art that aims to mimic the essence of real-life things in a simplified or rearranged manner in order to showcase the artists’ perception of reality.


Figurative art is the art of realistic portrayal, and it has been the goal of artists since the beginning of time. Traditionally, figurative artists worked to create works that were inspired by real-world objects and frequently included human figures. It is thought to be what distinguishes abstract art from non-representational art, which does not use recognised themes. Figurative works continue to have a grip in our contemporary realm, as seen by their progression to art-making today. Figurative art, like many others in the contemporary art world, has collaborated with other genres such as abstract, cubist, and even minimalist art while maintaining a strong sense of figuration.


Geometric art is artwork created using geometric forms such as points, lines, angles, and shapes. This art style employs geometric shapes ranging from simple triangles, squares, and circles to sophisticated shapes that need arithmetic to construct. Unlike organic shapes, geometric shapes need precision and may even necessitate the use of instruments such as a straight edge or compass.


Minimalism is a school of abstraction that is devoid of personal expression – or at least keeps personal expression to a minimum. Geometric lines meet a tangent of extreme simplicity, and forms are intentionally devoid of expressive meaning.

What motivates minimalist artists to create “what you see is what you see,” as Frank Stella puts it, is the notion that art, in all its simplicity and splendour, should not allude to anything but itself. Artists that participated in the minimalist art movement did not prioritise personal expression, instead placing the art itself at the foreground of their works. They challenge spectators to realise the truth of the work that is shown to them, as well as their medium and materials.


Nature art is inspired by natural aspects such as landscapes, gardens, animals, and people. Nature art is widely available in a range of mediums, including painting, sketching, and photography, and its appeal has only grown with the growth of digital technology. The depiction of this art style has found favour across the board, from modern and abstract forms to conventional interpretations.

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Pop Art can be defined as the genre that “popped up” in postwar America and Britain during the mid to late 1950s. Artists in this movement aspired to explore re-imaginations of commercial imageries, which were distinctly derived from popular and mass culture. Furthermore, it enabled viewers to approach art with greater ease; simpler, identifiable subjects helped people to consume the artworks in this movement in a less high-brow manner.

Pop Art was at its peak in the 1960s. Artists in this movement initially perceived an imbalance between what they learned and what directly affected them in their day-to-day lives as a means of resistance against “dominant” approaches to art and society. As a result, they went to images they thought were relevant from advertising, music, comic books, product packaging, and so on.


Portraiture is broadly described as a depiction of a person’s likeness, character, beauty, status, or essence. Over the course of 5000 years, this ancient art technique has evolved from paintings, sketches, and sculptures to photography and even video portraits. Portraiture’s most renowned examples include Leonardo Da Vinci’s Monalisa, portraits of Egyptian pharaohs, and pictures of Greek and Roman emperors in the shape of sculptures and coins! Another type of portraiture is self-portraiture, which is a representational, abstract, or symbolic self-portrait by the artist.

Still Life

Still life art is exactly what it sounds like: art that represents inanimate or still items. These objects could be man-made or natural, such as food, flowers, games, or tableware. On the negative side, the thing shown could be a deceased person. These extreme portrayals offer a time-tested depth to this art form, praising material joys of the world or the stark reality of these pleasures’ and human life’s fleeting existence.


Surrealism, a movement that began in the 1920s, tried to tap into the unconscious mind, showing a juxtaposition of irrational imageries. Surrealist imagery is one of Surrealism’s most distinguishing features. However, when attempting to define it, one becomes bewildered. André Breton, a French writer and poet, provided a key quotation from the Surrealist movement. Surrealism, he defined, is “psychic automatism in its purest form, by which one seeks to express – verbally, through the written word, or in any other way – the actual working of thinking.” Breton was implying that artists could neglect rational thought by tapping into their unconscious consciousness. This evolved to ‘automatism’ or ‘automatic writing,’ in which artists and writers abandoned conscious thought in favour of embracing chance via their profession.


Typography is an art form that arranges text in an attempt to convey a message using an existing or new typeface. A typeface is a means of designing letters of alphabet to represent a specific style, sentiment, brand identity, or just to assist readability. Typography evolved alongside the rise of the print industry, and today typography can be found everywhere – on street signs, posters, publications, and the internet. This art style is an essential component of modern art and design.


The term “urban art” refers to artworks that originate in urban areas and are frequently created by artists who live in these urban spaces or cities and portray city life and experiences. While the terms “urban art” and “graffiti art” are used interchangeably, not all urban art is made as street art or graffiti art, but is also developed in studios. This art style focuses on urban lifestyles and spaces while simultaneously addressing the negative sides of urbanisation and its effects such as poverty, displacement, the environment, and so on.

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