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Index by Period

Middle Ages (400 - 1400)
Broadly defined, the Middle Ages refers to the thousand years between the end of the dominance of the Roman Empire and the revival of classical ideals that began with the Renaissance in fifteenth-century Italy.

Renaissance (1400 - 1600)
Period in Europe from the late fourteenth through the sixteenth centuries, characterised by a renewed interest in human-centred classical art, literature, and learning. See also humanism.

Baroque (1600 - 1750)
A dominant style of art in Europe in the seventeenth century characterised by its theatrical, or dramatic, use of light and colour, by its ornate forms, and by its disregard for classical principles of composition.

Rococo (1700 - 1750)
This late Baroque (c. 1715-1775) style used in interior decoration and painting characterised by curvilinear forms, pastel colours, and light, often frivolous subject matter. This style of art was popular in the first three-quarters of the 18th century, particularly in France, but made an impact in southern Germany as well.

Neoclassicism (1750 - 1880)
A revival of classical Greek and Roman forms in art, music, and literature, particularly during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in Europe and America. It was part of a reaction to the excesses of Baroque and Rococo art.

The Rise of Genres (1700 - 1799)
Not to be confused with 'genres' (the categories in general).
When used in art, the term 'genre painting' most often describes a fairly small realistic painting that has as its subject everyday events, people, or their surroundings. These paintings are not religious, historical, abstract or mythological, nor are they portraits.

19th Century (1800 - 1899)
The 19th century, a time of great change and upheaval led to the Romantic movement as well as nostalgia-inspired revivals of classical ideals and forms. In juxtaposition to these two, Realism looked for more solid footing and a honest appraisal of art for its own sake.

Modern Art (1880 - 1945)
Theory and practice in late nineteenth- and twentieth-century art, which holds that each new generation must build on past styles in new ways or break with the past in order to make the next major historical contribution. Characterised by idealism; seen as "high art," as differentiated from popular art. In painting, most clearly seen in the work of the Post-Impressionists, beginning in 1885; in architecture, most evident in the work of Bauhaus and International Style architects, beginning about 1920.

Post-Modern Art (1945 -)
An attitude or trend of the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, in which artists and architects accept all that modernism rejects. In architecture, the movement away from or beyond what had become boring adaptations of the International Style, in favour of an imaginative, eclectic approach. In the other visual arts, Post-Modern is characterised by an acceptance of all periods and styles, including modernism, and a willingness to combine elements of all styles and periods. Although modernism makes distinctions between high art and popular taste, Post-Modernism makes no such value judgements.