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Styles of Art


1. Abstract

Let's begin with the trickiest! If you're a literal person, abstract paintings are often hard to get your head around because they don't depict anything real – not a person, not a place, not a thing. To achieve its effect, artists paint colours, shapes, forms and gestural marks such as a stroke of paint or even a seemingly random splash. According to Tate, the word abstract strictly speaking means 'to separate or withdraw something from something else'. They say 'abstract art is art which is not representational, it could be based on a subject or may have no source at all in the external world'. Our Abstract collection online features popular, powerful prints that challenge you to form your own interpretation.

2. Modern

If you've ever had the fortune to visit MOMA (Museum of Modern Art) in New York, you'll know how captivating modern art can be. You need more than one day to fully appreciate all that is there. Modern art, which covers works from the 1860s to the 1970s, strayed from traditional techniques and styles. As Modern art refers to a period in time rather than a type of art, it's often tricky to define. However, The Art Story states modern art is characterised by 'the artist's intent to portray a subject as it exists in the world, according to his or her unique perspective and is typified by a rejection of accepted or traditional styles and values'. Modern artists shunned the rational world that came before it and instead had a spirit of experimentation. Our own online gallery of Modern art embraces strong colours, line and form – applying a fresh perspective to every aspect of existence.

3. Impressionist

Often considered the first modern movement in painting, Impressionism was actually developed as a formal art practice in Paris in the 1860s prior to spreading throughout Europe and the US. Impressionist art, in our own gallery online, celebrates the use of light and brushwork to convey the very essence of a subject. Essentially, it tells a story without relying on realistic depictions. According to Art Movements, impressionist artists 'incorporated new scientific research into the physics of colour to achieve a more exact representation of colour and tone'. It was more about the artist's perception of the subject matter rather than the subject matter itself. The beauty of storytelling is in the subjective.

4. Pop Art

Pop art, even though it emerged in the mid 1950s, is so fun today that everyone of all age groups love it. It makes for a great addition to a teenager's room, a woman's retreat or a man cave. It really does speak a language that crosses generations. Pop art often uses imagery of popular culture and mass media, such as news, advertising, movie stars and comic books. In its early days, it presented a challenge to the traditions of fine art. Today's pop art draws inspiration from that era, providing fun and colour. In browsing our Pop Art gallery, you'll see this style of art is ideal for any contemporary, retro or minimalist decor.

5. Cubism

One could talk or write about cubism all day, but in the end you'll learn much more about this style of art by actually viewing it, so to garner a full appreciation be sure to check out our Cubism gallery. If, when thinking of cubism, you think Pablo Picasso, you're on the right track as both he and Georges Braque started the movement in the early 1900s. Despite appearing quite abstract in form, it is actually a style of realism. Art History highlights that cubism has 'three main ingredients – geometricity, simultaneity (multiple views) and passage'. Artists tackle the 'fourth dimension' which is why cubism pieces often feature the same subject from a variety of angles – it's a quest for meaning or understanding, pointing out the world is not how it seems. That's why cubism often features so much colour and so much life!

6. Surrealism

What came first, the word or the artistic movement? Either way, today the word 'surreal' is synonymous with "weird" and that's often a great way to describe this art form. In this case, weird is good. Surrealism is a form of expression that 'surpasses realism'. It takes real objects and places them in unreal situations. It's free of consciousness and free of convention. It's like living in a dream. We always have fun keeping our Surrealism gallery well stocked with the works that challenge and surprise our customers. And as I once wrote, surrealist art is better than drugs, each and every time.

7. Graffiti

Generally painted on public walls, graffiti is a consistently developing form of popular art, ranging from slogans and words to detailed and colourful wall paintings. When produced on properties without authorisation, it's often considered vandalism (even by the most prolific artists!). When in a gallery setting or painted on canvas, it's most definitely legal and it's yours to enjoy!


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