"Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist." -Pablo Picasso 

Whether you have extensive knowledge of art or are just beginning to appreciate it, there are so many beautiful elements of art for the eyes to gaze upon. Also, it's worth mentioning that primarily due to the distinct art periods throughout history and the artists that found fame and fortune in their era, we have such a variety of art pieces to marvel at.

Since historians, educators, and government officials have viewed art as necessary to citizens, plenty of museums and galleries worldwide have their walls plastered with murals, sculptures, paintings, and drawings. With so many options, depending on our personal preferences, we may like the art pieces of a specific artist more than others. However, though we have favourite painters or sculptors, it's easy to value and respect the unique characteristics of different art periods.

So, without further ado, in today's article, we should focus our attention on four essential art periods: Neoclassical, Romanticism, Realism, and Abstract Expressionism. By going through eras of art, we can better appreciate the talent of the artists that were considered pioneers in their day. Let's get learning!

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Neoclassical

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Art is meant to make us feel something and to inspire us to create. (Source: Unsplash)

The most ancient of the art periods that we will discuss in today's article, Neoclassicism, dates back to the late 18th century and the early days of the 19th century. The Neoclassical era was right after the Rococo period and is based on artistic elements from the country of Greece and the city of Rome.

The father of the Neoclassical movement is Johann Joachim Winckelmann, and for art pieces to be considered "Neoclassical", they must meet the following specifications:

  • Greco-Roman, 
  • Balance of compositions, 
  • Proportions. 

The Neoclassical period has some unique characteristics that make art pieces different in comparison to other eras. Such as? The following list touches on a few aspects of the Neoclassical period:

  • Art pieces must be free of emotion and feeling,
  • Art has to be the symbol of perfection, 
  • Art has distinctive features of humans, 
  • There is a proper balance and perfection within the piece of art. 

While Neoclassical features are mainly observed in paintings or sculptures, Neoclassicism has been seen in pieces of furniture, literature, music, architecture, and fashion.

Nonetheless, without any visuals, it may be challenging to understand what art pieces from the Neoclassical era looked like. So, the following list highlights some of the most famous art pieces from the Neoclassical period that curious art learners can Google later on:

  • The Death of Marat, 
  • Portrait of Madame Recamier, 
  • Napoleon I on His Imperial Throne. 

The previously mentioned art pieces boast all of the details that make Neoclassicism a period of art worth discovering. To get even further into Neoclassicism, we suggest learning more about acclaimed artists such as Jacques-Louis David, Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres, Angelica Kaufmann, and Antonio Canova.

To become even more familiar with Neoclassicism, we highly recommend hiring a personal tutor on Superprof to guide you through the fundamentals of this art period.

Romanticism

Slightly after the Neoclassical era, a new type of art movement is known as Romanticism. The Romanticism period was at its peak from 1800 to 1850 in Europe.

Many artistic mediums such as paintings, sculptures, and literature were affected by the Romanticism movement.

The Romanticism era of art started in countries such as France and England after the French Revolution and is called the "Romanticism" period because, in the 1800s, there was a shift from more classical methods. Romanticism focused a great deal more on imagination, nature, fantasy, and the simplicity of things from modern life.

Just like any other art period, there are specific aspects of Romanticism that make it different. Such as? The following mentions the features of Romanticism:

  • The brushwork of artists in the Romanticism age when less precise and looser than during other periods, 
  • The Romanticism era focused on emotions, feelings, and moods of all persons,
  • Romanticism art pieces were highly varied and included people, landscapes, peaceful beauty, religion, and revolution. 

To better understand how the previously mentioned techniques are used, it's worth taking a peek at famous paintings from the "Romantic" era like The Raft of the Medusa, Liberty Leading the People, and Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog. 

Looking at paintings from some of the most acclaimed artists from the Romanticism era helped amateur artists understand how fascinating the culture was. Famous artists include Francisco Goya, Eugene Delacroix, Caspar David Friedrich, and Theodore Gericault.

Before continuing to the following subheading, it's worth highlighting that private tutors are a fantastic help to students around the UK interested in acquiring more knowledge about the Romanticism era.

Realism

outdoor statues
Sculptures are a form of art, and they can be seen outdoors and indoors. (Source: Unsplash)

Though the Romanticism period boasted some of the most beautiful pieces of art ever created, in the late 1800s, artists began to reject the extravagance of the artistic techniques from Romantic art. Instead, they decided to focus more attention on pieces that highlighted natural and realistic elements.

It's important to state that Realism does not highlight larger than life artistic interpretations but rather simple moments from a person's routine such as work or family. Realism started in the late 1850s, and the subjects of the paintings of sculptures were depicted so naturally that they were viewed as similar to a photograph.

To better understand how Realism strayed from the methods of Romanticism, the following are a few unique characteristics of Realism art:

  • Everyday subjects such as working-class people involved in their daily activities were commonly featured in realism paintings, 
  • Art needs to be as raw and natural as possible, 
  • The importance of detail is a must since Naturalism painters strive to create artistic works that are as close to a photograph as possible,
  • The use of colours such as soft browns, warm reds, and black and ivory hues are utilised by artists to create startling effects. 

Some of the most avant-garde pioneers of Realism art include artists such as Gustave Corbet, Edward Hopper, and Rosa Bonheur, to name a few. Their paintings have been observed by millions of people worldwide and have inspired 21st-century painters to continue using aspects of naturalism in their drawings.

The following are some of the most recognisable art pieces of the Realism period:

  • Whistler's Mother, 
  • Nighthawks,
  • The Stone Breakers. 

While all the previously mentioned paintings are noteworthy, Nighthawks is a classic American art piece that has been seen by millions and depicts the normality of post-WWII life in the United States. The details are subtle, and the painting is genuinely natural.

To better comprehend some of the most specific details of Realism, we remarkably suggest that you consider hiring a professional art tutor on the Superprof site that is willing to conduct lessons either in-person or virtually.

Abstract Expressionism

painters from different eras
Artists from distinct periods throughout history have implemented unique methods to create masterpieces. (Source: Unsplash)

The final art period that we will mention in this article, known as Abstract expressionism, is also the most recent. Established in the mid-1900s in New York City, the concepts and styles of Abstract Expressionism were highly different from previous art periods. But, what is Abstract Expressionism?

In the simplest of terms, Abstract Expressionism can be described as abstract art genres introduced by American painters in the post-WWII United States. Abstract Expressionism was a big deal for the US because it was the first time in history that a significant art period from the Western world started outside of Europe; most artistic movements had their beginning in cities such as Paris or Rome.

Abstract Expressionism had influences from Modernism, Surrealism, Cubism, and Dada. 

As is the case with all art periods, some unique characteristics of the Abstract Expressionism era make it special. Such as? The following are a few particular elements that historians use to differentiate Abstract Expressionism from other periods:

  • Large in scale and ambition,
  • Reflects the spirit of individualism that is prevalent in American society, 
  • It can be categorised into two main categories that are known as action painting and colour field painting,
  • Canvases are usually large.

Abstract Expressionism's most talented and passionate artists have used all four of the previously mentioned elements in their works of art. But, who are the best AE (Abstract Expressionism shortened) artists of all time? Without further delay, some of the most recognisable names from Abstract Expressionism include the following artists:

  • Jackson Pollock, 
  • Mark Rothko,
  • Willem de Kooning, 
  • Lee Krasner, 
  • Jasper Johns, 
  • Franz KIine, 
  • Joan Mitchell. 

Names such as Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner have gained worldwide recognition for their contributions to Abstract Expressionism, and their art pieces can be seen at museums in the United States and Europe.

For art students to get an idea of what paintings they should be looking for in art galleries and museums that are categorised as AE, the following list mentions a few acclaimed works of art:

  • Autumn Rhythm by Jackson Pollock, 
  • Woman I by Willem de Kooning, 
  • The Sorrows of the King by Henri Matisse, 
  • White Flag by Jasper Johns.

The AE art period is worth learning more about with a personal educator since they will gladly highlight its characteristics and how you can create your painting from that movement. Also, check out the Abstract Expressionism tutors available on Superprof!

In conclusion, all of the different art periods mentioned in today's article are very intriguing. They help us better comprehend the paintings, drawings, literature, music, and architecture from that specific time.

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