Style Guide Types and Traditions
Illumination, Illustration Traditions of pictorially illustrating books and other texts; highly developed in, for example, medieval Christian Europe and Mogul India.
Byzantine Style associated with Greek Christianity from around 500 onward. Typified by mosaic and by gilded sacred images on panel.
RenaissanceIn Italy and northern Europe, invention of perspective and emphasis on pictorial unity and realistic detail; defines painting as it is most familiar to Westerners (1400-1600).
Baroque For the kings and nobles of Europe, large and dramatic paintings, often of historical and mythological subjects. In Holland, the Golden Age of Vermeer and Rembrandt (1600-1700).
Landscape A venerable tradition in Chinese painting, which explored the beauty of nature and humans’ modest place in harmony with nature. In European painting, prominent only after 1600 or so.
Romanticism Pictures of sublime landscapes and exotic or Gothic subjects. Reached its height from 1830-1860.
Impressionism Sketchy paintings of urban and suburban life in brilliant colors. Though wildly popular now, impressionism was first condemned as amateurish.
Modernism Challenged painting as a picture. The many “-isms” of modernism moved toward pure abstraction or pure expression.
Contemporary Anything goes in the world of contemporary art. Look at the art and listen to the artist as if you had no idea what art was “supposed to be.”