July 27, 2021 4 min read

Art is diverse and ever-changing, and when it comes to fine art, we have a wide variety of styles—each with distinguishing features that set them apart. Each art style carries a unique sensation influenced by its era, movement, or school.

Unless you are conversant with art history, it can be confusing which art styles to choose to decorate your space. However, learning about popular art styles will open us to new possibilities and broaden our taste in art. 

To help make the voyage into art history less confusing, below are the most popular art styles, their unique features, and their significance. 

Modern Art

Generally, modern art refers to those art pieces that were developed from the 1860s through to the 1970s. The birth of this art style can be traced to the dawn of the western industrial revolution in the mid-19th century. With the urbanization of cities, a new way of living evolved. These gave painters new visual landscapes and new ideas to depict apart from the traditional ideals.

Clearly defining modern art’s style may be a bit hard as it's easily identifiable as a period rather than style. However, The Art Story defines modern art as the artist’s intent to portray a subject as it exists in the world, according to his or her unique perspective, and is typified by a rejection of accepted or traditional styles and values.

Abstract Art

As the name suggests, abstract art is a style of art that is intentionally non-representational, meaning it does not represent anything in reality. This art style is quite popular due to its intriguing nature, which evokes different interpretations from different people. Abstract art does not attempt to depict an accurate representation of anything - it just uses shapes, colors, forms, or gestural marks.

Abstract art encourages open-mindedness because open to diverse interpretations with every look. This makes it is an excellent option for centerpieces, as they introduce color and emotion to your space.


Impressionism is an art style and movement that started first in Paris in the 1860s before spreading to Western Europe and the US. This type of art style is easily recognizable, as it is characterized by the use of small, thin yet bold brushwork with emphasis on capturing the changing qualities of light. 

Impressionist art is all about capturing the subject matter from the perspective of the artist rather than the subject matter itself—basically, the painter’s impression. Impressionist art pieces are considerably famous, and they include works from Edgar Degas, Claude Monet, etc.

Pop Art

This is a relatively new form of art style that emerged in the 1950s by North American artists. Pop art is closely associated with pop culture and mass media forms of advertisements like posters, news, comics, music, and movies.

This art style is characterized by the use of bold colors and detailed realistic depictions. With pop art, what you see is what you get; it makes no effort for hidden meanings. And it remains one of the most recognizable forms of modern art styles.


If you are familiar with Pablo Picasso, then you most probably have had an encounter with cubism. It was pioneered by both Picasso and George Braque as early as the 1900s. At a glance, cubism might seem like a form of abstract art; however, it is a style of realism, as the subject matter is deconstructed into the fourth-like dimension using geometricity, simultaneity (multiple angles), and passage. These form the three elements of cubism art style.


Surrealism as an art style is meant to depict the subject matter in an unreal manner. This art style can easily be termed weird because the distortion of the subject matter can be likened to a dream. Hence, the name surrealism because it surpasses reality. 

Surrealism began in France by French poet Andre Breton and gained prominence in the early twentieth century. If you find psychedelic art pieces interesting, surrealist art is where to look.


Photorealism is an art movement that began in the late 20th century. This art form focuses on replicating an image from a picture while not distorting the whole picture. Even to the minute details of the picture, everything should be unchanged. This art form developed by Richard Estes and Chuck Close requires a great deal of expertise. The idea was to create paintings that looked like photographs.

Contemporary Art

An art form that applies modern-day digital techniques to spice up a dull art form into a spectacular piece of art. A consensus is yet to be reached on when contemporary art actually began, but it is believed that contemporary art is the style reigning in the present age. The art includes painting done within six months to those of 10 years ago.

Fantasy Art

The fantasy art genre depicts characters, ideas and creatures from fantasy literature, especially those with a mythological or supernatural theme. This art form is greatly loved by both adults and kids who love to escape into the mystical lands the art provides.

Graffiti Art

Formerly considered an illegal form of expression, graffiti art has found its way to being a legal art form. Having a history of being an art medium used to protest political oppression and negative happenings in society, graffiti art has now become an expressive form of art more accessible to a wider audience.

When deciding which art to decorate your space with, these are the popular opportunities available. Knowledge of these various styles gives you the liberty to know and expand your preferences in art.


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