Types of art

Types of art

 Modern technology has extended our choice in the art world but traditional methods are set to hold firm. When considering types of art that best suit you and your home the choices are vast and insanely variable. Here at Gratton art we attempt to bring out a selection of the variation that’s out there.

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For the traditionalist the first thoughts of art inevitably turn to ‘the painting’.This can be done on any surface. It helps if the chosen surface is long lasting and durable. We can begin with cave-paintings which were probably the first genre to be launched into the world of art and they didn’t even know they were doing it.

Ever since cave-painting started paintings have been, by their nature, original art pieces. It isn’t just paintings. There are original drawings and photographs. These tend to be expensive and very often become collectable. Original artwork of any kind is beyond the reach of most but that doesn’t mean missing out on displaying art in the home.

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This is how most people acquire art for in the home. These are much more accessible to all. There is an extensive range on show in the Gratton art virtual gallery. Prints don’t have to be framed in the traditional way they can be displayed as box-art or wrap-around. Some pieces can be displayed in a very convincing set of three, four or five pieces that go together to show one larger image.

The accessibility of prints has made it possible for anyone to bring a featureless wall of a living space to life and introduce character to your home.


The subject of sculpture is endless. This is the three dimensional world of art. Sculptures can be formed from any material that can be physically handled by man. It never ceases to amaze me how some pieces are generated. Some pieces are clearly a challenge when considering the materials deployed and the load forces involved.

Types of sculpture

A successful sculpture will stop you where you are and make you just look. You will find yourself trying to read what it’s saying to the world. There will be questions in your mind. What was the journey that brought the artist to this? What is the message?

The fact is, you may never know what the artist had in mind while delivering this detailed and, apparently, random creation. Allow yourself to be challenged by it, for a while. Let it pull you towards it and let your own imagination blend with this ‘the artist’s’ creation, it’s not a crime.

If you can’t solve it or make any connection with it and all it’s done is to just fill a brief moment in your life, it doesn’t matter. You may never know what the artist is saying or how it ever came to be here but you will be so pleased that it is.

What else would you like to know?

Is photography a visual art?          Photorealism light and shadow

Photorealism      Abstract art

Fauvism art        Impressionism

What are the different styles of art?

Let’s look at different styles of art with examples.

Realism art

To achieve realism in art is to depict an event, a moment in time that is true to the subject in entirety. Nothing is artificial or left to the imagination however beautiful or grotesque. This must not leave the viewer challenged or puzzled. This shall be a visual chronicling, captured and laid down for all time.

Realism artworks

Workers labouring in fields displaying natural expressions that are faithful to the people depicted and the times in which they live. A convention of leaders absorbing a turning point in history or perhaps to commemorate a famous battle. The best realism art will draw you into the scene. It will radiate an atmosphere of either romance, urgency and, maybe, even fear.

Realism art that works at all will be absorbed by the viewer as a static but almost living moment. There will be the desire to reach in to touch and become a part of this special moment that the artist has taken so much care to communicate.


When you look closely at any oil painting you will see the brush strokes. Each stroke representing a passionate interaction with the image by the artist who has created it. This is painterly. It gives the piece a depth of character and the occasional feeling of a ‘care-free’ approach on the part of the artist but at the same time achieving control with the aim of perfection.

Painterly effect

Often an artist can be identified by the finished brush stroke style. It’s almost as though the artist is sculpting the paint on the canvas rather than painting.


This is a style of painting that is conducted out in the open air. It involves the spontaneous capturing of a scene as the artist sees it in the moment. There are no preparatory sketches. The scene has to be transitioned to canvas quickly to pull together the effects of sunlight and shadow before the passing day erodes the subject material.

Impressionism artworks

The method requires rapid brush strokes. This gives the piece a broken, ‘unfinished’ appearance. This type of art is like the beginning of a journey where there is a beginning but, because it has to be done quickly, it can’t be finished by the artist. So the journey is completed through the eye of the beholder who forgives and embraces the scene, deciphering the final interpretation intended by the artist.

It’s claimed that this style was developed by Claude Monet, the Parisian artist, in the 1860s. It is, however, contended that the British artist John Constable was using the procedure earlier than this between 1813 to 1817.

John Constable is arguably the most famous openair scene painter ever known.

Fauvism art

Fauvism is a style which was generated in the early 1900s. It involves the bold use of bold bright colours often conflicting with each other on the canvas. Simple flat shapes with little or no gradient, colours are often placed together that are opposites on the ‘colour wheel’. Placing these opposing colours together made them stand out. Pieces that have been generated using this approach have a simplistic overtone that make sense to the eye as a subject but lead into the world of abstract. The subject is there, it can be absorbed as a communication but it challenges enough to hold the gaze.

What is fauvism?

Les fauves, meaning ‘the wild beasts’ was the name used to describe those who adopted the style by the art critic Louis Vauxcelles at one of the earliest exhibitions of this type of art.

It was seen as a progressive extension of the impressionist Van Gogh’s era. It was a short-lived period which saw many move into, what we know as abstract art. By 1910 most artists who adopted the style had moved away from it. One of these being George Braque who brought us cubism together with Pablo Picasso.

Abstract art

This style emerged towards the end of the 19th century. Artists that followed the rules that accurately depicted real-world subjects felt the need to experiment and explore. Some achieved a mix of the two as part of their own transitioning process.

Abstract art backgrounds

Departing from the clinical approach of presenting a specific scene that provided details for the most pedantic observer to judge and possibly criticise, this was a new freedom. It quickly became accepted in polite society. Named artists’ styles became recognisable and sought after.

A new generation had emerged that appreciated, what had become, a deviation from convention. This was to test and stretch conventional thinking. Some traditionalist resisted and found themselves being dragged kicking and screaming into the world of a new dimension that was here to stay.

For the artists who wanted to explore, their revolution had arrived. They were unshackled. Instead of having to look outwards and religiously depicting or representing what they see in front of them with varying but acceptable degrees of accuracy, they could now look inwards and express from personal thoughts. Abstract art doesn’t insist on rules of engagement. How much more liberating can anything be?  


This type of art is achieved from taking a photo and using it as a direct reference for a painting. Starting in New York in the late 1960s, pieces of art started to emerge where a photo was the main inspiration. This often transcends into collage effects where a final subject is generated from a selection of photos leading to a semi abstract conclusion.

Artists experimented with photorealism long before the 1960s. The camera was available in the early 1800s and pieces were generated from photos from then onwards. Some were able to achieve detailed representations from images projected onto a canvas. This was done mostly undercover as, at that time, the practice was seen as ‘cheating’.

Many male artists use this method to good effect as they used it to depict, with considerable accuracy, items of importance in their lives. This would include personal indulgences in machines like motorbikes and various other road vehicles.

Photorealists have an obvious dependency on the photo image, many make no effort to hide the fact that they do. Rather than blend into the scene an element of distant interpretation or focal disruption, they seek to include as much detail as possible. The finished piece can be an almost exactly faithful reproduction of the original photo.

But it does work. Because this is a reproduction of an original it’s always going to have, in its texture, the character traits that only the artist can deploy. It will never be so exact to be labelled as artificial. This will always be a legitimate study of a ‘snapshot’ that is destined to be translated into an artist’s genuine interpretation.

Photorealism light and shadow

By projecting a photographic image onto canvas, colour and light are brought together as a single entity. The reflection of light on shiny surfaces like glass or metal are much more prominent. The opportunity to carry this through to canvas makes for a much more identifiable finished production. There is, within this method, scope to introduce variations which will serve to stamp the artists own style.

Is photography a visual art?

This really depends on which side you are on. To the traditional art critic a photograph can’t possibly be a work of art. It’s just a casual snapshot of a real-world scene that has no distinguishable style that can be attributed to the camera operator.

The modern seasoned photographer will disagree. Capturing a scene that generates an atmosphere of energy, passion or tension takes a good eye and a particular feel for the process.

This is an argument that has been going on since the earliest pioneering days of photography which started in the Victorian age. The traditionalists have, one way or another, given way to photography being accepted as a form of art. When you look around and see how often photographs appear in famous art galleries across the globe, few object. Indeed many feel that photography is taking its rightful place, making a valued contribution.

This is further endorsed when noting that many photography works are sold at top auction houses. Some sell for millions of dollars especially if the work is by a well known photographer. With this level of interest it’s become difficult for anyone to take the view that a photograph isn’t art but there are still some who object to this type of work being, as they see it, elevated.

The sweep of an artist’s brush provides a texture and character that is painstakingly revealed over time. Only when the artist is happy that the subject has been adequately covered, will it be presented to the world.

Some argue that there is almost a cheapness, a cop-out. Using a machine to do the work almost as though it were an industrial process providing ‘art’ on a conveyor belt.

But a photograph needn’t be judged as just a flat view of a moment in time, taken by someone who placed him or herself in the right place at the right time or manicured a scene to bring out the optimum use of light and shadow. If you look and look again the art is there.

The Gratton art virtual gallery

The Gratton art virtual gallery is an immersive experience where you can view artworks in a gallery setting. This is beyond scrolling a page and just looking at images of art.

Visit the virtual gallery

To take a look at the virtual gallery go to Grattonart.com, click or press on the orange spot to gain entry. When you arrive in the gallery, simply drag or swipe left, right, up or down to look around. To move to a new position click or press the orange spots on the floor.

There is an ever-increasing number of Halls to visit within the gallery. To move to another Hall take notice of the direction instructions on the walls at the gallery exit areas. Click or press on the relevant orange spot for the hall that you want to visit next. You can visit the Grattonart virtual gallery again and again.

If you can’t see it then, maybe, you aren’t looking.”

Images source:




pixabay.com/bronze sculpture