The definition of an art movement, as you all probably know, is “a style of art with a particularly specified objective and philosophy that is adopted and followed by a group of artists during a specific period that may span from a few months to years or maybe even decades”. Essentially, it’s what allows art to be immortal - without change or growth with the times, art wouldn’t so perfectly flow into each new decade.
Art movements are common and, of course, necessary but are there any movements that occurred decades ago that still affect art as we know it today?
Yes! And you’ll be surprised to see how some have evolved so largely over time and into our daily life.
Let’s start off with a movement that transformed the world of art entirely, line art. Line art first became popularised after the work of Da Vinci and his infamous line art pieces such as “The Skull Sectioned” (1489) and “Study for the Head of Leda” (1505-7).
'"The Skull Sectioned" - Leonardo Da Vinci 1489
“Study for the Head of Leda” - Leonardo Da Vinci 1505-7
Of course, this isn’t the earliest we’ve seen line art - it's the most prolific form of art, even seen as far back as the palaeolithic period.
However, it was Da Vinci’s anatomical drawings that sparked inspiration for sub-genres of line art, you could say. Optical illusion-based art such as “Fall” by Bridget Riley (1963), minimalistic pieces like “You Suffer, I Suffer” by Benjamin Ewing (2017) and Jackson Pollock’s abstract painting “Convergence” (1952) are all examples of how different types of art have evolved from line art and, quite clearly from Ewing’s piece, are still relevant today - at the very least 510 years later!
"Fall” - Bridget Riley 1963
“You Suffer, I Suffer” - Benjamin Ewing 2017
“Convergence” - Jackson Pollock 1952
This is one of the art movements that shocked me the most solely based on the sheer amount it evolved in an arguably little time - pointillism. Pointillism is an art technique created by two French artists by the name of Georges Seurat and Paul Signac; it consists of creating dots of colour on the canvas as opposed to the standard brush strokes which resulted in a super detailed and beautiful effect, of course, with a lot more extra time and effort.
"The Seine seen from La Grande Jatte" - Georges Seurat 1888
"Le Pin De Bertaud" - Paul Signac 1909
Of course, this technique slowly evolved within the world of art and even fashion, but what surprised me the most about pointillism is that tattooing is a form of it! Rather obvious now that I type that out to you, but it really does shock me that paintings dating back to at least the 17th century could have such a huge effect on our culture today!
Pointillism as an art technique is actually still prevalent today. The breathtaking piece “Hero” by Miguel Endara (2011) is a great example of that fact.
“Hero” - Miguel Endara 2011
Impressionism is a sort of art depicting, usually, landscapes and was critiqued by traditionalists for the paintings’ visual brushstrokes. It came about in the 19th century, a little later compared to others on the list, but was led by artists such as Claude Monet, Pierre Auguste Renoir, and Camille Pissarro. Their art was often exaggerated to capture things like natural light and the season - a great example being the gorgeous painting “Sunset on the River at Lavacourt, Winter Effect” (1882) by Claude Monet.
“Sunset on the River at Lavacourt, Winter Effect” - Claude Monet 1882
Impressionism soon emerged into Post-Impressionism, an art genre made most famous by artists like Vincent van Gogh. Artists creating post-impressionism pieces strayed even further from the tradition, breaking all the rules of colour in their creations. The infamous “The Starry Night” (1889) by van Gogh is a great example of the movement!
“The Starry Night” (1889) by Vincent van Gogh
Probably the most well-known, or at least recognisable, form of art on the list is pop art. An art form that really took the spotlight in the mid to late 50’s, Pop Art often depicts household brands such as Coca-Cola and Campbell’s Soup Cans as well as the iconic faces of the time period - most notably, Marilyn Monroe. The movement began in the UK but soon blew up in New York thanks to artists like Andy Warhol, perhaps one of the most famous names in art history.
Marilyn Diptych - Andy Warhol 1962
But how has this affected us today? Well, I’m glad you asked!
Pop Art, for its fun and colourful nature, has played a huge part in pop culture. The “Best of: Blur” album cover is a great example of how this art movement has funnelled into the art form most popular today, music.
“Best of: Blur” - 2000
Of course, it’s worth noting that pop art as an art form has evolved just as much as any other. In fact, the infamous sculpture “Balloon Dog” by Jeff Koons is a great example. It’s crazy just how influential these initial movements are years, even decades later!
“Balloon Dog” - Jeff Koons 1994-2000
With that, we’ve come to the end of our list of the most influential art movements in history. We hope you’ve enjoyed this blog and learnt something new. I know I did!