What is...

In this series we explore the styles, schools and movemenths that have shaped modern and contemporary art. We ask what is Symbolism, Surrealism, Dada, Pop Art...

What is the Avant-Garde?

The 'avant-garde' is often used to describe something new or cutting-edge in art but where did the term come from and what does it mean? Who are the avant-garde and what did they do to become to be known as such?

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What is Impressionism?

Impressionist paintings are among the most loved and celebrated artworks of all time but what is impressionism and who were the great impressionist artists?

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What is Symbolism?

Symbolism was an innovative literary and artistic movement which originated in late nineteenth-century France and quickly spread to the rest of Europe. Symbolist artists looked to the world of dreams and the imagination for inspiration, rather than trying to create direct representations of nature.

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What is Expressionism?

A style that made an impact in the arts in the 1920s, particularly in Germany. Expressionists abandoned realistic, accurate representations in favour of exaggerations and distortions of line and colour that were intended to carry far greater emotional impact.

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What is Dada?

A radical artistic and literary movement that was a reaction against the cultural climate that supported the First World War. The Dadaists took an anti-establishment attitude, questioning art's status and favouring performance and collage over traditional art techniques. Many Dadaists went on to become involved with Surrealism.

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What is Surrealism?

A literary and artistic movement that sought to challenge conventions through the exploration of the subconscious mind, invoking the power of dreams and elements of chance. It is now regarded as one of the most radical movements of the twentieth century.

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What is Cubism?

A style of painting originated by Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso in the first two decades of the twentieth century. Instead of painting a figure or object from a fixed position they represented it from multiple viewpoints.

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What is Pop Art?

An art movement of the 1950s to the 1970s that was primarily based in Britain and the United States. Pop artists are so called because of their use of imagery from popular culture. They also introduced techniques and materials from the commercial world, such as screen-printing, to fine art practice.

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What Is Realism?

Used generally for art that attempts to represent things as they appear. It specifically refers to a mid-nineteenth century movement in France, led by Gustave Courbet, that rejected the sometimes obscure subject matter of academic painting in favour of more accessible scenes of everyday life.

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19 May 2021