Art Movements: Which ones were the most influential?

It’s important to have a little knowledge of art history, whether you’re an aspiring or professional artist, many art movements have shaped art as we see it today. They have had a huge impact throughout the years, even if they happened 200 years ago or 50 years ago, the impact is still being felt today – you probably have experienced their influence without even knowing it. 

There are 4 main art movements that, in my opinion, have been extremely influential and has shaped the world as we see it today.

1) Mannerism

This movement introduced a new form of art, a way of self-expression that had not been seen before. Through the vibrant colours and shapes, the idea of realistic art had been distorted. Self-expression was depicted not only in shapes and forms but in the colour palette chosen for each artwork. Fruits and plants were used to distort the human figure and give a more abstract feeling, it focused on the artist’s view of the perfect balance and harmony with nature.

The Mannerism movement has had a huge impact on architecture and interior design, they are characterized by classical elements, illusive stunts (fake doors, empty windows and arches) and sour colour palettes. We still see these buildings and designs mostly in main cities in Italy: for example Rome, Florence, and Mantua.


2) Baroque

The Baroque movement introduced a new way of viewing design and architecture. Proportions with dramatic appearance, grandiose exteriors, beautiful ornaments and intense colours were some of the main trends that have changed design forever.

Many European countries we visit such as Portugal, Spain, France and Italy are filled with fascinating baroque style architecture and designs. Through the intensity, drama, exuberance and greatness, we can distinguish Baroque from many other movements.

The Baroque is not only found in art and architecture but in music, fashion, dance, sculpture, literature and other arts that have influenced the world greatly.


3) Art Nouveau

Art Nouveau was an important movement in both the USA and Europe. One particular attribute of the style is the use of natural, asymmetrical lines rather than strong, uniform shapes. This has been applied across Jewellery, Architecture, interior, illustration and banners.

It has had an immense effect in the fashion industry too, with significant influence in London, Paris and New York, where tight corsets of the Edwardian period became very popular by designers such as Paul Poiret. They worked on creating a new and softer silhouette for women’s bodies. The zipper was an invention derived from Art Noveau that has been used ever since.

EDWARDIAN FASHIONDigital Art by Steven Parker 

4) Renaissance 

The Renaissance influenced new artists who wanted to present a more realistic version of life.  Artists wanted the viewer to feel something while looking at their work, to have an emotional experience from it.

This has had an effect on our life nowadays as it has depicted a more meaningful and transparent form of art. Art that can portray several emotions in just one painting, being able to transmit a feeling and allowing it to be open to interpretations. The emotion is depicted in the painting but it’s up to the observer’s imagination to create a story out of it. 

Portraits and Self-portraits are still used nowadays and they became popular when Leonardo Da Vinci painted the Mona Lisa. Through old artists like Da Vinci, newer artists emerged like Alyssa Monks.

Mona Lisa

Regardless if you like or dislike certain art movements, you should take inspiration and learn from them. They have had a huge impact throughout the decades and shaped art as we see it. Whether it’s in art, architecture, interior design or fashion, we can see these art movements everywhere and will still be referenced for many years to come.

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