There were, and are, many schools, movements, groups and styles in art, to make up the wide selection of artwork that we have available for you here. Here is a very brief introduction to them.
This vital period of rebirth of Italy and Europe marked the transition between Medieval and early modern Europe.
This was a phenomenal a period of great cultural change and achievement that began in Italy around the end of the 13th century until the 16th century in Florence and Tuscany, and expanded elsewhere in the continent.
Painters such as Masaccio, Piero della Francesca, Paolo Ucello, Boticelli and Titian, to name only a few, contributed to this remarkable bloom of European culture.
This art style continued until well into the 16th century when the Renaissance took hold. While more secular art was also made, Gothic religious paintings, of Giotto di Bondone in the 14th century for example, embodied a belief that the events of the Old Testament pre-figured those of the New.
A group of Post-Impressionist artists, such as Pierre Bonnard and Edouard Vuillard, called themselves Les Nabis (pronounced "nah-bee") and happily set the artistic pace in France the 1890s. They were especially inspired by the design of Japanese prints and art nouveau.
This was a period of European art that followed the later years of the Italian High Renaissance around 1520 and lasting until about 1580 in Italy, when a Baroque style replaced it. The style was a reaction against the restrained naturalism of Leonardo da Vinci and Raphael.
The work of Michelangelo embodies this intellectual sophistication and more artificial qualities. As do the works of El Greco and Giuseppe Arcimboldo, among others.
Western society in the late 19th and early 20th centuries underwent the dramatic and far-reaching changes known as the modernist movement in arts and culture that accompanied rapid technological and industrial growth.
The strand of thinking asserted that it was necessary to push aside previous norms entirely in light of contemporary techniques. The work of sculptor Henry Moore and painter Fernand Leger, for example, reflected the modernist vision.
This movement in Western decorative and visual arts around the end of the 18th century, as seen in the work of Jacques-Louis David and Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres, drew inspiration from the "classical" art and culture of Ancient Greece or Ancient Rome.
The Italian Renaissance had little influence outside Italy before 1450, but from late 15th century the humanist ideals had spread around Europe, to Germany, France, England and The Netherlands, inspiring the work of Albrecht Durer, Hans Holbein and Pieter Bruegel, for example.
This kind of art lets you test your eyesight with optical illusions, as seen in the fascinating and beautiful work of Victor Vasarely, for example.
The interaction between illusion and picture plane challenges your understanding and seeing. The work has movement, hidden images, flashing, vibration, patterns and even swelling and warping.
Academic art in the 19th century and painters such as Jean Léon Gérôme and Frederick Arthur Bridgman loved to portray exotic aspects of Middleastern and East Asian cultures, and made orientalist paintings about ideal eastern places and peoples of the European imagination.
Seeing spots before your eyes? Pointillism painting uses small distinct dots of pure colors to make patterns to form an image.
Georges Seurat and Paul Signac developed the technique in 1886, taking the recording of light further along from impressionist painters.
From mid 1950s in Britain and the United States, pop artists, such as Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein, challenged fine art by using imagery from popular culture, such as advertising, news, comic books and mundane cultural objects, to make striking art.
French artists after Manet from 1910, such as Paul Cezanne and Odilon Redon, were called Post-Impressionists, who rejected limitations of impressionism.
But they still used vivid colors, thick application of paint, distinctive brush strokes, and real-life subject matter, but emphasized more geometric form and distorted it for expressive effect.
For the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, a group of seven http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/England English poets, critics, and painters, such as John Everett Millais, art needed to be reformed by rejecting what it considered to be the mechanistic approach adopted by the Mannerist artists who came after Raphael.
They believed that the classical poses and elegant compositions of Raphael in particular had been a corrupting influence on the academic teaching of art and sought to go back to the time before the great master Raphael himself, hence pre-Raphael.
The metaphysical world in the paintings of Giorgio de Chirico and the weird visions of Hieronymus Bosch were considered Pre-surrealist. Artists who produced surrealist-like paintings before 1924, when surrealism became an official doctrine, were grouped in this category.
Also known as Cubist Realism, this American artistic movement emerged after World War and was at its height between the world wars.
Influenced strongly by Cubism and Futurism, painters such as Charles Demuth and Charles Sheeler, recorded the industrialization and modernization of the American landscape, depicting it as sharply defined geometrical forms.
The approach of realist painters, such as Ilya Repin and Gustav Courbet, is to simply depict what the eye can see in the beauty of landscape or people. American realist painters in the 20th century, such as Edward Hopper, continued the tradition that leads later to the Photorealistic paintings that looked at reality even more closely than a photograph.
This cultural movement spanned roughly from the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. From the Italian word rinascere (to be reborn), it was a time for exactly that for the continent.
Giovanni Bellini, Donatello, and Tiziano Vecelli (Titian), and a long string of other masters, helped tremendously with this rebirth.
This style developed in the early part of the 18th century in Paris, reacting against the grandeur, symmetry and strict regulations of the Baroque, especially as seen in the Palace of Versailles.
The beautiful work of painters, such as Jean Simeon Chardin, Jean-Antoine Watteau and Canaletto, perfected this intriguing style.
A European cultural movement from about 1800 to 1840 reacted to the perceived barrier that Industrial Revolution has placed between man and nature.
Painters, such as William Turner in England, again sought strong emotion as a source of aesthetic experience, emphasizing apprehension, terror and awe and also glorified the sublime in untamed nature.
André Breton, a leader of Surrealism, a cultural movement that began in Paris in the early 1920s, following on from Dadaism, saw the period as nothing short of artistic revolution.
Surrealist works by painters such as René Magritte and Paul Delvaux, had the elements of surprise, and unexpected juxtapositions
The dream-like, hallucinatory, metaphysical, supernatural and trompe l'oeil aspects of the work all helped to create the surrealist unconscious art, being sought to be displayed by its practitioners.
Symbolism. Art Nouveau
Symbolists claimed that art should represent absolute truths that could only be described indirectly. Artists, such as Gustav Klimt in the Art Nouveau style in the 1880s in Vienna, reacted against naturalism and realism, and instead favored spirituality, imagination and dreams.
American artists in the 1880s, such as George Inness and James McNeill Whistler, painted landscapes with an overall tone of colored atmosphere or mist. Their paintings were filled with dark, neutral hues such as gray, brown or blue, and the "tonal" atmosphere dominated everything.