Art Styles - Genres - Descriptions and Examples

Below you will find a description of each type of art style from Abstract to Vorticism.

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Abstract - art that looks as if it contains little or no recognizable or realistic forms from the physical world. Focus is on formal elements such as colors, lines, or shapes. Artists often "abstract" objects by changing, simplifying, or exaggerating what they see.

Abstract Expressionism - art that rejects true visual representation. It has few recognizable images with great emphasis on line, color, shape, texture, value; putting the expression of the feelings or emotions of the artist above all else.

Abstract Impressionism is a type of abstract painting (not to be confused with Abstract Expressionism, a similar but different movement) where small brushstrokes build and structure large paintings.  Small brushstrokes exhibit control of large areas, expressing the artist's emotion and focus on inner energy, and sometimes contemplation, creating expressive, lyrical and thoughtful qualities in the paintings.

Academic art is a style of painting and sculpture produced under the influence of European academies or universities.  Specifically, academic art is the art and artists influenced by the standards of the French Académie des Beaux-Arts, which practiced under the movements of Neoclassicism and Romanticism, and the art that followed these two movements in the attempt to synthesize both of their styles, and which is best reflected by the paintings of William-Adolphe Bouguereau, Suzor-Coté, Thomas Couture, and Hans Makart.

American Scene Painting refers to a naturalist style of painting and other works of art of the 1920s through the 1950s in the United States.  Much of American scene painting conveys a sense of nationalism and romanticism in depictions of everyday American life. During the 1930s, these artists documented and depicted American cities, small towns, and rural landscapes; some did so as a way to return to a simpler time away from industrialization whereas others sought to make a political statement and lent their art to revolutionary and radical causes. Representative artists include Thomas Hart Benton, John Rogers Cox, Grant Wood, and John Steuart Curry.

Art Deco is an eclectic artistic and design style that blossomed in Paris in the 1920s and flourished internationally throughout the 1930s, into the World War II era.  Art Deco's bold, linear symmetry was a distinct departure from the soft pastels and flowing asymmetrical organic forms of its predecessor Art Nouveau; it embraced influences from many different styles and movements of the early 20th century, including Neoclassical, Constructivism, Cubism, Modernism and Futurism and drew inspiration from Egyptian and Aztec forms.  Art Deco made use of many distinctive styles, but one of the most significant of its features was its dependence upon a range of ornaments and motifs.

Art Nouveau
(Anglicized to /ˈɑrt nuːˈvoʊ/) is an international movement and style of art, architecture and applied art—especially the decorative arts—that peaked in popularity at the turn of the 20th century (1890–1905). The name "Art Nouveau" is French for "new art". It is also known as Jugendstil, German for "youth style", named after the magazine Jugend, which promoted it, and in Italy, Stile Liberty from the department store in London, Liberty & Co., which popularized the style. A reaction to academic art of the 19th century, it is characterized by organic, especially floral and other plant-inspired motifs, as well as highly stylized, flowing curvilinear forms. Art Nouveau is an approach to design according to which artists should work on everything from architecture to furniture, making art part of everyday life.

Baroque (pronounced bə-rohk in American English or /bəˈrɒk/ in British English) is an artistic style prevalent from the late 16th century to the early 18th century in Europe.  A defining statement of what Baroque signifies in painting is provided by the series of paintings executed by Peter Paul Rubens for Marie de Medici at the Luxembourg Palace in Paris (now at the Louvre), in which a Catholic painter satisfied a Catholic patron: Baroque-era conceptions of monarchy, iconography, handling of paint, and compositions as well as the depiction of space and movement.

Cloisonnism is a style of post-Impressionist painting with bold and flat forms separated by dark contours. The term was coined by critic Edouard Dujardin on occasion of the Salon des Independents, in March 1888. Artists Émile Bernard, Louis Anquetin, Paul Gauguin, Paul Sérusier, and others started painting in this style in the late 19th century. The name evokes the technique of cloisonné, where wires (cloisons or "compartments") are soldered to the body of the piece, filled with powdered glass, and then fired. Many of the same painters also described their works as Synthetism a closely related movement.

Color Field painting is a style of abstract painting that emerged in New York City during the 1940s and 1950s. It was inspired by European modernism and closely related to Abstract Expressionism, while many of its notable early proponents were among the pioneering Abstract Expressionists. Color Field is characterized primarily by large fields of flat, solid color spread across or stained into the canvas; creating areas of unbroken surface and a flat picture plane. The movement places less emphasis on gesture, brushstrokes and action in favor of an overall consistency of form and process.

Computer art is any art in which computers play a role in production or display of the artwork.  An artist may combine traditional painting with algorithm art and other digital techniques.

Conceptual art is art in which the concepts or ideas involved in the work take precedence over traditional aesthetic and material concerns. Many of the works, sometimes called installations, of the artist Sol LeWitt may be constructed by anyone simply by following a set of written instructions. This method was fundamental to LeWitt's definition of Conceptual art, one of the first to appear in print:  "In conceptual art the idea or concept is the most important aspect of the work. When an artist uses a conceptual form of art, it means that all of the planning and decisions are made beforehand and the execution is a perfunctory affair. The idea becomes a machine that makes the art."

Constructivism was an artistic and architectural movement that originated in Russia from 1919 onward which rejected the idea of autonomous art in favor of art as a practice directed towards social purposes.  As much as involving itself in designs for industry, the Constructivists worked on public festivals and street designs for the post-October revolution Bolshevik government.  The Constructivists were early pioneers of the techniques of photomontage.

Cubism was a 20th century avant-garde art movement, pioneered by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque, that revolutionized European painting and sculpture, and inspired related movements in music, literature and architecture. The first branch of cubism, known as Analytic Cubism, was both radical and influential as a short but highly significant art movement between 1907 and 1911 in France. In its second phase, Synthetic Cubism, the movement spread and remained vital until around 1919, when the Surrealist movement gained popularity.

Dada (English pronunciation: /ˈdɑːdɑː/) or Dadaism is a cultural movement that began in Zurich, Switzerland, during World War I and peaked from 1916 to 1922.  The movement primarily involved visual arts, literature—poetry, art manifestoes, art theory—theatre, and graphic design, and concentrated its anti-war politics through a rejection of the prevailing standards in art through anti-art cultural works. Its purpose was to ridicule what its participants considered to be the meaninglessness of the modern world. In addition to being anti-war, dada was also anti-bourgeois and anarchist in nature.

De Stijl (Dutch pronunciation: [də ˈstɛɪl], English: /də ˈstaɪl/), Dutch for "The Style", also known as neoplasticism, was a Dutch artistic movement founded in 1917. In a narrower sense, the term De Stijl is used to refer to a body of work from 1917 to 1931 founded in the Netherlands.  De Stijl is also the name of a journal that was published by the Dutch painter, designer, writer, and critic Theo van Doesburg (1883–1931), propagating the group's theories. Next to van Doesburg, the group's principal members were the painters Piet Mondrian (1872–1944), Vilmos Huszár (1884–1960), and Bart van der Leck (1876–1958), and the architects Gerrit Rietveld (1888–1964), Robert van 't Hoff (1887–1979), and J.J.P. Oud (1890–1963). The artistic philosophy that formed a basis for the group's work is known as neoplasticism — the new plastic art (or Nieuwe Beelding in Dutch).

Digital art is a general term for a range of artistic works and practices that use digital technology as an essential part of the creative and/or presentation process. Since the 1970s, various names have been used to describe the process including computer art and multimedia art, and digital art is itself placed under the larger umbrella term new media art.  Digital photography and digital printing is now an acceptable medium of creation and presentation by major museums and galleries.

Divisionism (also called: Chromoluminarism) was the characteristic style in Neo-Impressionist painting defined by the separation of colors into individual dots or patches which interacted optically.  By requiring the viewer to combine the colors optically instead of physically mixing pigments, divisionists believed they were achieving the maximum luminosity scientifically possible

Environmental art is used in two different contexts: it can be used generally to refer to art dealing with ecological issues and/or the natural, such as the formal, the political, the historical, or the social context.  It is possible to trace the growth of environmental art as a "movement", beginning in the late 1960s or the 1970s.  When artists painted onsite they developed a deep connection with the surrounding environment and its weather and brought these close observations into their canvases.

Expressionism was a cultural movement, initially in poetry and painting, originating in Germany at the start of the 20th century. Its typical trait is to present the world in an utterly subjective perspective, radically distorting it for emotional effect, to evoke moods or ideas. Expressionist artists sought to express the meaning of "being alive" and emotional experience rather than physical reality.

Fauvism is the style of les Fauves (French for "the wild beasts"), a short-lived and loose group of early twentieth-century Modern artists whose works emphasized painterly qualities and strong color over the representational or realistic values retained by Impressionism. While Fauvism as a style began around 1900 and continued beyond 1910, the movement as such lasted only a few years, 1904–1908, and had three exhibitions. The leaders of the movement were Henri Matisse and André Derain.  The paintings of the Fauves were characterized by seemingly wild brush work and strident colors, while their subject matter had a high degree of simplification and abstraction.

Figurative art, sometimes written as figurativism, describes artwork—particularly paintings and sculptures—which are clearly derived from real object sources.  The term "figurative art" is often taken to mean art which represents the human figure, or even an animal figure.

Folk art encompasses art produced from an indigenous culture or by peasants or other laboring trades people. In contrast to fine art, folk art is primarily utilitarian and decorative rather than purely aesthetic.  Folk art expresses cultural identity by conveying shared community values and aesthetics. It encompasses a range of utilitarian and decorative media, including cloth, wood, paper, clay, metal and more.

Futurism was an artistic and social movement that originated in Italy in the early 20th century. It was largely an Italian phenomenon, though there were parallel movements in Russia, England and elsewhere. The Futurists practiced in every medium of art, including painting, sculpture, ceramics, graphic design, industrial design, interior design, theatre, film, fashion, textiles, literature, music, architecture and even gastronomy.  The Futurist painters were slow to develop a distinctive style and subject matter. In 1910 and 1911 they used the techniques of Divisionism, breaking light and color down into a field of stippled dots and stripes.

Graffiti art is the name for images or lettering scratched, scrawled, painted or marked in any manner on property. Graffiti is any type of public markings that may appear in the forms of simple written words to elaborate wall paintings. Graffiti has existed since ancient times, with examples dating back to Ancient Greece and the Roman Empire.

Genre works, also called genre scenes or genre views, are pictorial representations in any of various media that represent scenes or events from everyday life, such as markets, domestic settings, interiors, parties, inn scenes, and street scenes. Such representations may be realistic, imagined, or romanticized by the artist. Some variations of the term genre works specify the medium or type of visual work, as in genre painting, genre prints, genre photographs.

Geometric abstraction is a form of abstract art based on the use of geometric forms sometimes, though not always, placed in non-illusionistic space and combined into non-objective (non-representational) compositions. Throughout 20th century art historical discourse, critics and artists working within the reductive or pure strains of abstraction have often suggested that geometric abstraction represents the height of a non-objective art practice, which necessarily stresses or calls attention to the root plasticity and two-dimensionality of painting as an artistic medium. Thus, it has been suggested that geometric abstraction might function as a solution to problems concerning the need for modernist painting to reject the illusionistic practices of the past while addressing the inherently two dimensional nature of the picture plane as well as the canvas functioning as its support. Wassily Kandinsky, one of the forerunners of pure non-objective painting, was among the first modern artists to explore this geometric approach in his abstract work.

Hard-edge painting is painting in which abrupt transitions are found between color areas. Color areas are often of one unvarying color. The Hard-edge painting style is related to Geometric abstraction, Op Art, Post-painterly Abstraction, and Color Field painting.  The term was coined by writer, curator and Los Angeles Times art critic Jules Langsner, along with Peter Selz, in 1959, to describe the work of painters from California, who, in their reaction to the more painterly or gestural forms of Abstract expressionism, adopted a knowingly impersonal paint application and delineated areas of color with particular sharpness and clarity.

Impressionism was a 19th-century art movement that began as a loose association of Paris-based artists whose independent exhibitions brought them to prominence in the 1870s and 1880s. The name of the movement is derived from the title of a Claude Monet work, Impression, Sunrise (Impression, soleil levant), which provoked the critic Louis Leroy to coin the term in a satiric review published in Le Charivari.  Characteristics of Impressionist paintings include relatively small, thin, yet visible brush strokes, open composition, emphasis on the accurate depiction of light in its changing qualities (often accentuating the effects of the passage of time), ordinary subject matter, the inclusion of movement as a crucial element of human perception and experience, and unusual visual angles.

Indigenous Australian art (also known as Australian Aboriginal art) is art made by the Indigenous peoples of Australia. Australian Indigenous cultures are rich and diverse, as is the artwork they produce which can involve a wide range of media including painting on leaves, wood carving, rock carving, sculpture, ceremonial clothing and sand painting.

Installation art describes an artistic genre of site-specific, three-dimensional works designed to transform a viewer's perception of a space. Generally, the term is applied to interior spaces, whereas exterior interventions are often called Land art; however the boundaries between these terms overlap.  Installation art can be either temporary or permanent. Installation artworks have been constructed in exhibition spaces such as museums and galleries, as well as public- and private spaces. The genre incorporates a very broad range of everyday and natural materials.

Intervention Art is art which enters a situation and attempts to change the existing conditions there.  Intervention art may attempt to change economic or political situations, or may attempt to make people aware of a condition that they previously had no knowledge of.  Since these goals mean that intervention art necessarily addresses and engages with the public, some artists call their work "public interventions". For example, Alfredo Jaar is one of the most famous artists who uses the strategies of intervention in his work.

Kinetic art is art that contains moving parts or depends on motion for its effect. The moving parts are generally powered by wind, a motor or the observer. Kinetic art encompasses a wide variety of overlapping techniques and styles.

Land art, Earthworks (coined by Robert Smithson), or Earth art is an art movement which emerged in the United States in the late 1960s and early 1970s, in which landscape and the work of art are inextricably linked. It is also an art form that is created in nature, using natural materials such as soil, rock (bed rock, boulders, stones), organic media (logs, branches, leaves), and water with introduced materials such as concrete, metal, asphalt, mineral pigments. Sculptures are not placed in the landscape, rather, the landscape is the means of their creation. Often earth moving equipment is involved. The works frequently exist in the open, located well away from civilization, left to change and erode under natural conditions. Many of the first works, created in the deserts of Nevada, New Mexico, Utah or Arizona were ephemeral in nature and now only exist as video recordings or photographic documents.

Latin American art is the combined artistic expressions of South America, Central America, the Caribbean, and Mexico, as well as Latin American living in other regions.  The art has roots in many different indigenous cultures that inhabited the Americas before the European colonization in the 16th century.

Lyrical Abstraction is either of two related but distinctly separate trends in Post-war Modernist painting, and a third definition is the usage as a descriptive term. It is a descriptive term characterizing a type of abstract painting related to Abstract Expressionism; in use since the 1940s. Many well known abstract expressionist painters like Arshile Gorky seen in context have been characterized as doing a type of painting described as lyrical abstraction.  The second common use refers to the tendency attributed to paintings in Europe during the post-1945 period and as a way of describing several artists (mostly in France) whose works related to characteristics of American abstract expressionism.  Finally in the late 1960s many painters re-introduced painterly options into their works and the Whitney Museum and several other museums and institutions at the time formally named and identified the movement and uncompromising return to painterly abstraction as lyrical abstraction.

Mannerism is a period of European art that emerged from the later years of the Italian High Renaissance around 1520.  It lasted until about 1580 in Italy, when a more Baroque style began to replace it, but Northern Mannerism continued into the early 17th century throughout much of Europe. Stylistically, Mannerism encompasses a variety of approaches influenced by, and reacting to, the harmonious ideals and restrained naturalism associated with artists such as Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, and early Michelangelo.

Marine art or maritime art is any form of figurative art (that is, painting, drawing, printmaking and sculpture) that portrays or draws its main inspiration from the sea. Maritime painting is a genre that depicts ships and the sea—a genre particularly strong from the 17th to 19th centuries.  In practice the term often covers art showing shipping on rivers and estuaries, beach scenes and all art showing boats.

Maximalism is a term used in the arts, including literature, visual art, music, and multimedia. It is used to explain a movement or trend by encompassing all factors under a multi-purpose umbrella term like expressionism.

Minimalism describes movements in various forms of art and design, especially visual art and music, where the work is stripped down to its most fundamental features. As a specific movement in the arts it is identified with developments in post-World War II Western Art, most strongly with American visual arts in the late 1960s and early 1970s.  The term "minimalist" is often applied to designate anything which is spare or stripped to its essentials.

Neo-Classicism is the name given to quite distinct movements in the decorative and visual arts, literature, theatre, music, and architecture that draw upon Western classical art and culture (usually that of Ancient Greece or Ancient Rome). These movements were dominant in northern Europe during the mid-18th to the end of the 19th century.  These are the "classics." Ideally—and neo-classicism is essentially an art of an ideal—an artist, well schooled and comfortably familiar with the canon, does not repeat it in lifeless reproductions, but synthesizes the tradition anew in each work.

Neo-Expressionism is a style of modern painting and sculpture that emerged in the late 1970s and dominated the art market until the mid-1980s. Related to American Lyrical Abstraction, New Image Painting and precedents in Pop painting, it developed as a reaction against the conceptual and minimalistic art of the 1970s. Neo-expressionists returned to portraying recognizable objects, such as the human body (although sometimes in an abstract manner), in a rough and violently emotional way using vivid colors and banal color harmonies.

Neo-Impressionism was coined by French art critic Félix Fénéon in 1886 to describe an art movement founded by Georges Seurat.
Followers of neo-impressionism, in particular, were drawn to modern urban scenes as well as landscapes and seashores. Science-based interpretation of lines and colors influenced neo-impressionists’ characterization of their own contemporary art.

Old Master (or "old master") is a term for a European painter of skill who worked before about 1800, or a painting by such an artist.  In theory an Old Master should be an artist who was fully trained, was a Master of his local artists' guild, and worked independently, but in practice paintings considered to be produced by pupils or workshops will be included in the scope of the term.

Op art, also known as optical art, is a style of visual art that makes use of optical illusions.  Optical art is a method of painting concerning the interaction between illusion and picture plane, between understanding and seeing. Op art works are abstract, with many of the better known pieces made in only black and white. When the viewer looks at them, the impression is given of movement, hidden images, flashing and vibration, patterns, or alternatively, of swelling or warping.

Orphism or Orphic Cubism (1910-13), the term coined by the French poet Guillaume Apollinaire, was a little known art movement during the time of Cubism that focused on pure abstraction and bright colors influenced by Fauvism and the dye chemist Eugène Chevreul.  The Orphists were rooted in Cubism but moved toward a pure lyrical abstraction, seeing painting as the bringing together of a sensation of bright colors.  Orphism aimed to gradually dispense with recognizable subject matter and to rely on form and color alone to communicate meaning.

Photorealism is the genre of painting based on using the camera and photographs to gather information and then from this information, creating a painting that appears to be very realistic like a photograph. The term is primarily applied to paintings from the United States art movement that began in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Pointillism is a technique of painting in which small, distinct dots of pure color are applied in patterns to form an image. Georges Seurat developed the technique in 1886, branching from Impressionism. The term Pointillism was first coined by art critics in the late 1880s to ridicule the works of these artists, and is now used without its earlier mocking connotation.

Pop art is an art movement that emerged in the mid 1950s in Britain and in the late 1950s in the United States. Pop art challenged tradition by asserting that an artist's use of the mass-produced visual commodities of popular culture is contiguous with the perspective of fine art. Pop removes the material from its context and isolates the object, or combines it with other objects, for contemplation. The concept of pop art refers not as much to the art itself as to the attitudes that led to it.  Pop art often takes as its imagery that which is currently in use in advertising.  Product labeling and logos figure prominently in the imagery chosen by pop artists, like in the Campbell's Soup Cans labels, by Andy Warhol.

Post-Impressionism is the term coined by the British artist and art critic Roger Fry in 1910 to describe the development of French art since Manet. Fry used the term when he organized the 1910 exhibition Manet and Post-Impressionism. Post-Impressionists extended Impressionism while rejecting its limitations: they continued using vivid colors, thick application of paint, distinctive brush strokes, and real-life subject matter, but they were more inclined to emphasize geometric forms, to distort form for expressive effect, and to use unnatural or arbitrary color.

Postminimalism is an art term coined by Robert Pincus-Witten in 1971 used in various artistic fields for work which is influenced by, or attempts to develop and go beyond, the aesthetic of minimalism.  The term refers less to a particular movement than an artistic tendency. Postminimalist artworks are usually everyday objects, use simple materials, and sometimes take on a "pure", formalist aesthetic.

Post-painterly abstraction is a term created by art critic Clement Greenberg as the title for an exhibit he curated for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 1964.  Greenberg had perceived that there was a new movement in painting that derived from the abstract expressionism of the 1940s and 1950s but "favored openness or clarity" as opposed to the dense painterly surfaces of that painting style.

Pre-Columbian Art is the art of Mexico, Central, the Caribbean, and South America in the time prior to the arrival of European colonizers in the 15th century.  Pre-Columbian art thrived over a wide timescale from 1800 BCE to 1500 CE. Despite the great range and variety of artwork, certain characteristics were repeated throughout the region, namely a preference for angular, linear patterns, and three-dimensional ceramics.

Primitive or Tribal art is an umbrella term used to describe artifacts and objects created by the indigenous peoples of (controversially named) primitive cultures. Also known as Ethnographic art, or Arts Primitive Tribal art has three primary categories, African, New World or Americas and Oceania.

Productivism was an art movement founded by a group of Constructivist artists in post-Revolutionary Russia who believed that art should have a practical, socially useful role as a facet of industrial production. The group formed to contradict Naum Gabo's assertion that Constructivism should be devoted to exploration of abstract space and rhythm.

Quattrocento - The cultural and artistic events of 15th century Italy are collectively referred to as the Quattrocento (from the Italian for the number 400, or from "millequattrocento," 1400). Quattrocento encompasses the artistic styles of the late Middle Ages (most notably International Gothic) and the early Renaissance.

Realism in the visual arts is a style that depicts the actuality of what the eyes can see.  Realism in the illusionistic sense appears in art as early as 2400 BC in the city of Lothal in what is now India, and examples can be found throughout the history of art—Ancient Egyptian art had rigid and artificial conventions for the depiction of the human figure, but minor figures and animals are often very well-observed, and lifelike. In the broadest sense, realism in a work of art exists wherever something has been well observed and accurately depicted, even if the work as a whole does not strictly conform to the conditions of realism.

Renaissance art is the painting, sculpture and decorative arts of that period of European history known as the Renaissance, emerging as a distinct style in Italy in about 1400.  Renaissance art, perceived as a "rebirth" of ancient traditions, took as its foundation the art of Classical antiquity.  Renaissance art marks the transition of Europe from the medieval period to the Early modern age.

Rococo also referred to as "Late Baroque" is an 18th century style which developed as Baroque artists gave up their symmetry and became increasingly ornate, florid, and playful. Rococo rooms were designed as total works of art with elegant and ornate furniture, small sculptures, ornamental mirrors, and tapestry complementing architecture, reliefs, and wall paintings.

Romanticism (or the Romantic Era) was a complex artistic, literary and intellectual movement that originated in the second half of the 18th century in Europe, and gained strength in reaction to the Industrial Revolution.  In a revived clash between color and design, the expressiveness and mood of color, as in works of J.M.W. Turner, Francisco Goya, Théodore Géricault and Eugène Delacroix, emphasized in the new prominence of the brushstroke and impasto the artist's free handling of paint.

Street art is any art developed in public spaces — that is, "in the streets" — though the term usually refers to unsanctioned art, as opposed to government sponsored initiatives. The term can include traditional graffiti artwork, stencil graffiti, sticker art, wheatpasting and street poster art, video projection, art intervention, guerrilla art, flash mobbing and street installations. Typically, the term street art or the more specific post-graffiti is used to distinguish contemporary public-space artwork from territorial graffiti, vandalism, and corporate art.

Stuckism is an international art movement that was founded in 1999 by Billy Childish and Charles Thomson to promote figurative painting in opposition to conceptual art. The first group of thirteen British artists has since expanded, as of March 2011, to 214 groups in 48 countries.  The Stuckists have staged shows and gained media attention for outspoken comments and demonstrations, particularly outside Tate Britain against the Turner Prize, sometimes dressed in clown costumes.  Although painting is the dominant artistic form of Stuckism, artists using other media such as photography, sculpture, film and collage have also joined, and share the Stuckist opposition to conceptualism and ego-art.

Superflat is a postmodern art movement, founded by the artist Takashi Murakami.  Superflat is used by Murakami to refer to various flattened forms in Japanese graphic art, animation, pop culture and fine arts, as well as the "shallow emptiness of Japanese consumer culture." A self-proclaimed art movement, it was a successful piece of niche marketing, a branded art phenomenon designed for Western audiences.

Superstroke is a term used for a post modern art movement with its origins in South Africa. Superstroke is one of the influential art movements regarding African modernism and abstraction. The word "Superstroke" implies the super expressive brush stroke. The Superstroke art movement was initially founded as a reaction to the impact that the Superflat art movement.  Paintings in Superstroke are also identifiable by the frequent use of mathematical signs such as plus, minus, and equal signs.  Art in Superstroke, varies from realism to abstract, monochrome and full color. Different media such as collage, charcoal and plaster of paris are used.

Suprematism was an art movement focused on fundamental geometric forms (in particular the square and circle) which formed in Russia in 1915-1916.

Surrealism is a cultural movement that began in the early 1920s, and is best known for the visual artworks and writings of the group members.  Surrealist works feature the element of surprise, unexpected juxtapositions and non sequitur; however, many Surrealist artists and writers regard their work as an expression of the philosophical movement first and foremost, with the works being an artifact.  Dalí and Magritte created the most widely recognized images of the movement.  Surrealism as a visual movement had found a method: to expose psychological truth by stripping ordinary objects of their normal significance, in order to create a compelling image that was beyond ordinary formal organization, in order to evoke empathy from the viewer.

Symbolism was a late nineteenth-century style of French, Russian and Belgian origin in poetry and other arts.  The symbolist painters used mythological and dream imagery. The symbols used by symbolism are not the familiar emblems of mainstream iconography but intensely personal, private, obscure and ambiguous references. More a philosophy than an actual style of art, symbolism of painting influenced the contemporary Art Nouveau style and Les Nabis.

Synchromism was an art movement founded in 1912 by American artists Stanton MacDonald-Wright and Morgan Russell.  Synchromism is based on the idea that color and sound are similar phenomena, and that the colors in a painting can be orchestrated in the same harmonious way that a composer arranges notes in a symphony.

Synthetism is a term used by post-Impressionist artists like Paul Gauguin, Émile Bernard and Louis Anquetin to distinguish their work from Impressionism. Earlier, Synthetism has been connected to the term Cloisonnism, and later to Symbolism.  Synthetist artists aimed to synthesize three features:  the outward appearance of natural forms; the artist’s feelings about their subject; and the purity of the aesthetic considerations of line, color and form.

Tachisme (alternative spelling: Tachism, derived from the French word tache–stain) is a French style of abstract painting popular in the 1940s and 1950s. It is often considered to be the European equivalent to abstract expressionism. It was part of a larger postwar movement known as Art Informel (or Informel), which abandoned geometric abstraction in favour of a more intuitive form of expression, similar to action painting. Another name for Tachism is Abstraction lyrique (related to American Lyrical Abstraction).

Tonalism was art movement that existed in California from circa 1890 to 1920. Tonalist are usually intimate works, painted with a limited palette. Tonalist paintings are softly expressive, suggestive rather than detailed, often depicting the landscape at twilight or evening, when there is an absence of contrast. Tonalist paintings could also be figurative, but in them, the figure was usually out of doors or in an interior in a low-key setting with little detail.

Trash art or junk art. These works are primarily comprised from components that have been discarded. Often they come quite literally from the trash.

Urban art (from Latin urbanus, itself from urbs (“city”)) is a style of art that relates to cities and city life often done by artists who live in or have a passion for city life.

Vorticism was a short-lived British art movement of the early 20th century.  Though the style grew out of Cubism, it is more closely related to Futurism in its embrace of dynamism, the machine age and all things modern (cf. Cubo-Futurism). However, Vorticism diverged from Futurism in the way it tried to capture movement in an image. In a Vorticist painting modern life is shown as an array of bold lines and harsh colors drawing the viewer's eye into the centre of the canvas.

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