So Many …isms, So Little Time, Part 1

This will be the first part of a series of blogs about the various “isms” of western art. I am going to explore the various styles of art and feature some great affordable art along the way. But first a little background information on history, periods, and movements. There will be no test, just general information for those who were not forced to sit through Art History 101, or for people like myself who took it too many years ago.

A Little Art History

The history of  western art is generally divided into categories, going from earliest to most recent they are:

  • Prehistoric. This is art from before written records.
  • Ancient. When civilizations developed a form of written language. Ancient arts were founded in Africa, Asia, Central America (Mexico), and Europe.
  • Medieval. Catholic or religious artwork dominated. Secular art was also produced during the middle ages, unfortunately very little of it has been preserved.
  • Renaissance. The creation of perspective and a wider trend towards realism developed.
  • Modern. Works produced during the period roughly from the 1860’s to the 1970’s
  • Contemporary. Works produced from roughly the end of World War II to the present.

A short reference to the various categories of art can be found here.

Periods of Art

Within each category of art there are periods or eras and movements. A few of the important periods are:

  • Prehistoric: Upper Paleolithic, Bronze Age, and Olmec
  • Ancient: Egyptian, Mesopotamian, and Grecian.
  • Medieval period: Byzantine, Romanesque, and Gothic.
  • Renaissance period: Italian Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo, and Neoclassicism
  • Modern period: Impressionism, Post Impressionism, Art Nouveau, and Expressionism.
  • Contemporary period: Post Modern, Pop Art, Abstract, and Photo-realism.

The list goes on and on. Below are some modern artists whose art reflects historical periods. Most of the featured pieces are available for purchase.

Prehistoric Arts

  • Mayan Face Stone Mask by Mayan Mountain. The artisan creates these Mayan faces by using a ice pick and small chisel and native Honduran stone.
  • Kostienki Goddess by Katharina from Gislebertus. This hand made sculpture is based on a ivory figurine found at a paleolithic site in Kostienki, Russia.
  • Prehistoric Horse by Path Light. This piece was inspired by the cave paintings in the south of France.

Ancient Arts

  • Egyptian Winged Scarab by Tiger House Arts. A beautiful print of the sun god, Ra with the body of a scarab
    and outstretched falcon wings pushing the sun across the sky.
  • Scythian Wolf by Catherine Crowe. This wolf is based on a scythian bone trial piece from the 2nd century and has the typical backward turning joints of the early Scythian artist.
  • Greek-Style Red and Black Vase by James Fuller. A large, robust vase hand painted in the classical Greek style, with satyrs and humans cavorting side by side.

Medieval Arts

  • Illuminated Heart by Collen Olson. This intricate heart was done with gouache and acrylic paint on Bristol Board.
  • Jesus Christ by F. Markopoulos. His paintings are made with the traditional method using egg tempera and pure gold leaf.
  • Madonna and Child by Lea Campbell.

Renaissance Arts

  • The Tabletop by Oliver Gray. This piece was inspired by the dutch masters old still life paintings without the butcher shop influence.
  • Girl with a Pearl Earring by Gretchen Matta. This painting was inspired by Vermeer. I enjoy studying techniques used by the Old Masters, so I created ‘My Famous Paintings’ series to recreate portions of famous paintings.
  • Guinevere by Joan Marie. She represents… Blissful Peace and Confidence.

Modern Arts

Contemporary Arts

  • Antique Store II by Roderick E. Stevens. This painting took over 70 hours to paint.
  • Landscape in Primary Colors by Brooke Howie. This original acrylic painting, inspired by the European countrysides.
  • Squeaky Clean by Thomas Fedro. As a painter I am interested in making the work of the soul more visible and real, enriching our everyday lives.


2 Responses to “So Many …isms, So Little Time, Part 1”

  1. Kelly,
    Thank you so much for featuring my painting on your blog! I’m very honored.


  2. It has been a true inspiration to be in the company of other Renaissance inspired artists. Leonardo DaVinci is my “Art God”. The depth of feeling he was able to capture in his sensitive faces have moved me for years.

    My career as an artist began after seeing the Sistine Ceiling and Leonardo’s “Adoration of the Magi”.

    Art History is so exciting.

    Thank you so much for this wonderful summary and for including me in the most enlightened period of art which has so deeply moved me in my life.

    You are special indeed to put this article together. Thank you so much!
    Joan Marie

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