Paint Your Numbers

Everything You Need to Know About the Types of Art

Maybe you’ve taken an art history class, or maybe you are obsessed with going to art museums. Or maybe you have stacks upon stacks of cool art books filled with interesting pictures. No matter how art fits into your life, it is a very interesting topic that takes people years to master. There are so many different types of art, ranging from beautiful portraits during the Renaissance period to the unique colors and character images of Picasso. 

There is no right way to study art. The most important thing is that you learn, read, and study about as many artists and types of art as you can. There is a vast amount of information that can be found on the internet or in books. One of the best ways to learn about art is to go to museums and galleries to look at different artists’ exhibitions and start to notice the differences in each type of art. 

Art is all around us, so knowing important artists and movements is very useful information. Plus, knowing information and facts about art is great for talking points in conversations and can even help to open up doors for different career paths. 

You can connect your interest in art with almost any career path you choose, such as writing, directing, photography, architecture, and so much more. If you want to learn more about art, a great place to start is with the different movements throughout history. Read on to learn everything you need to know about the types of art.  


Classicism is a type of art from hundreds of years ago. Think of the beautiful images of Jesus Christ, angels, famous Roman battles, etc. Those paintings are oftentimes done in the style of classicism. It developed in the classical period, which started in the 17th century. It often references ancient Greek and Roman styles and imagery. Especially starting during the Renaissance period, classicism was the predominant art form in Western art. 

It is typical of paintings that depict things from throughout history, such as battles, gods, heroes, and religious idols. Some terms associated with classicism are restraint, harmony, and craftsmanship. Famous artists of this art form were Nicolas Poussin, Anthony Abdel Karim, and Annibale Caracci. 


Perhaps some of the most notable artists to utilize this art type were Georges Seurat and Vincent Van Gogh. In fact, Seurat was the inventor of this art type. This art movement can be pinpointed to the year 1886, making it a relatively newer art form. Pointillism is also referred to as divisionism and chromo-luminarism. 

This art type is characterized by the application of either small dots or brushstrokes that create a full and colorful image from afar. If you look closely, however, you will see the hundreds (and sometimes thousands) of dots. Pointillism created the foundation and technique for neo-impressionism, which lasted from the 1880s until the early 20th century.   


In 1907, a new and interesting art form hit the scene. This movement, cubism, was started by Pablo Picasso, who invented it along with Georges Braque. The overall idea of cubism is to bring different views of a specific subject together in the same picture. The subjects are usually always objects or figures. The use of scenery is uncommon. By using different views of the same subject, the result is a fragmented and abstract image. 

Cubism is known for being one of the most influential art forms to develop in the 20th century. The name cubism refers to the fact that most pieces include geometric outlines and cubes. It was so influential because it opened the door for the depiction of visual reality in art, and led the way for other forms of abstract art that followed suit. 

In most instances, cubism helps to show different viewpoints and three dimensions of the subject. There are actually two different forms of cubism, which are analytical cubism (1908-1912) and synthetic cubism (1912-1914). 


Modernism is not only an art type from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, but it is a philosophical movement as well. It developed as a result of transformations in Western society during these time periods. Keep in mind, the start of modernism occurred at the beginning of the industrial revolution, which was one of the largest turning points for society in all of history. This time period heavily influenced modernism. 

This art type is what caused development in experimentation in all areas of the arts, but especially with painting. This means new techniques, materials, and subject matters were applied to painting. Art subjects often reflected the desire to have hope for modern societies while also depicting the realities of life during this time period. Some famous artists from this time period include Grant Wood, Henri Matisse, and Anita Malfatti. 


Artists who led the post-impressionism movement include Vincent Van Gogh, George Cezanne, and Paul Gauguin. This movement took place between 1886 and 1905, and it was largely a French movement. These artists were pioneers of a new approach to painting, which, interestingly enough, did not include a single aesthetic approach. Rather, it included a wide assortment of styles, techniques, and subject matters. 

The best way to describe the movement is that artists decided to take a subjective approach to their painting, with the main goal being to evoke emotion in the viewer instead of depicting realism. Some identifying features of this movement include motifs of symbolism, unnatural colors, and intentional brush strokes.  


Surrealism developed in Europe as a result of the aftermath of World War I. More so than other art types, surrealism was an actual movement rather than just an art style, meaning it played a role in all areas of life, not just art. Defining surrealist art is harder to do than with other types of art. Artists desired to explore the subconscious mind, which is why paintings depict dream-like and downright bizarre imagery. 

Some of the most famous artists from this movement were Salvador Dali, Joan Miro, and Michael Cheval.  They painted everything from mythical landscapes, alternative depictions of animals and people, and ideas of alternate realities. These artists wanted to free peoples’ unconscious minds and show them other worlds. 

The biggest goal of artists of this movement was to place an emphasis on creative freedom and expression. The specific techniques varied from artist to artist, making it one of the more unique artistic movements. Surrealism extends beyond just painting and can be seen in sculptures, drawing, sketching, and photography. 


There are so many types of art that extend way beyond this list. The list we discussed in this article is merely a starting point to help you learn about some of the most popular types of art. Each movement corresponds with a different time period throughout history. When you study art, you are simultaneously learning about history and what was happening in the world at the time of the movement. 

If you are feeling inspired by all this information on art and want to tap into your creative side, we have just the thing for that. Bring out your inner Picasso with our Paint By Number custom canvas prints. They are a great way to try your hand at painting, while also guaranteeing your canvas will turn out looking like a professional masterpiece. 

It’s easy and super fun to do. First, pick out any of your favorite photos and upload them to our website. Then, we will send you a canvas with the image outlined on it. The image will be marked off into small sections that will contain a number. The paints we provide will also have a corresponding number. Simply match up the number on the paint to the number on the canvas and start painting. When you are done, you’ll have an amazing, life-like picture!