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The 21st century has brought a wide range of forms of expression to the art of painting. During the 19th and 20th centuries, artists made significant leaps in their styles. Some factors that influenced these changes were the rise of photography and the invention of a metal paint tube. Here are some of the most utilized painting styles used today and throughout history.


Since the Renaissance, realism has been regarded as one of the most popular forms of art. People consider these to be the “real” works of art because they show the subjects in a more authentic light and dark. Unlike other types of painting, realists do not utilize any special techniques.

Example: The popular “Mona Lisa” by Leonardo da Vinci is the best example of realism in art.


During the 19th century, the development of impressionism was centered around the bold strokes of the brush and unusual angles. This type of art presented its subject uniquely and vibrantly. Most artists who adopted this painting style did not use black as their primary color. Instead, they focused on capturing the light.

Example:Sunflowers” by Vincent Van Gogh is a prime example of impressionist art.


Rejecting the notion of realism, abstract art utilizes various elements such as lines, textures, and colors to show the subject’s essence. During the 1950s, the movement known as the Abstract Expressionist was centered around this type of painting. Although it may look messy, this art style allows people to interpret its shapes and forms as they wish.

Example: A classic example of abstract painting is “Orange, Red, Yellow” by Mark Rothko


Modernist art was first introduced during the late 19th century. It differed from the conservative values of art by adopting a more creative and innovative approach. It sought to explore various elements such as colors, textures, and shapes. Although it was considered radical at the time, this style of expression allowed artists to create their unique works of art.

Example: One of the most famous examples of this art is Pablo Picasso’s “The Old Guitarist.


During the 20th century, the development of surrealism was centered around portraying the subjects more realistically. Instead of focusing on their usual surroundings, this art style takes them into strange and unsettling settings.

Example: A famous example of surrealism is Salvador Dali’s “Dream Caused by the Flight Of a Bee Around a Pomegranate A Second Before Awakening.”