Hey there, fellow art enthusiasts! Welcome to this beginner’s guide on exploring the beauty of Western art. If you’re someone who is new to the world of art, or just looking for a refresher on Western art, you’ve come to the right place! 🎨

Art is one of the greatest representations of human creativity, and the Western world is home to some of the most iconic pieces of art in history. Art helps us express our emotions, ideas and beliefs. From the early Renaissance to modern art, Western art is a vast category, so let’s dive right in and explore the different styles, movements and artists that comprise Western art.

The Early Renaissance

The early Renaissance is known for artists such as Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Raphael. This period is considered the rebirth of art, as artists started moving away from medieval art. They focused on humanism, where the artist’s visions and interpretations were prioritized over religious beliefs. Early renaissance art is characterized by realism, symmetry, and proportion. 🌅

A portrait of Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci


The Baroque period was marked by extravagant details, dramatic lighting, and elaborate decorations with intricate designs. Spanish artist Diego Velazquez and Italian artist Caravaggio are among the most well-known baroque artists. Baroque art also focused on religious motifs and was used by the Catholic Church to show their power and influence to the masses. 💒

An intense painting of Judith Beheading Holofernes by Caravaggio


Rococo art emerged in the early 18th century and is known for its light and airy nature, exquisite ornate decorations, and pastel colors. Jean-Antoine Watteau is among the most famous rococo artists. Rococo art is often criticized for its lack of depth and values and for being excessively shallow. However, it is still celebrated for its whimsical and playful nature. 🎀

A vibrant painting of L'Indifferent by Jean-Antoine Watteau


The neoclassical period emerged in the late 18th century, and it was revived from the rebirth of classical art in ancient Greece and Rome. Neoclassical art is characterized by its simplicity, proportion, and use of straight lines. Jacques-Louis David and Antonio Canova are amongst the most recognized artists of the neoclassical period. Neoclassical art was often used in political propaganda and was an expression of patriotism over social hierarchy. 🏛️

The painting of The Death of Marat by Jacques-Louis David


The Romantic art period emerged as a reaction to the Enlightenment era in the late 18th century. The period is characterized by its emphasis on emotions, imagination, and intuition over logic and reason. Romantic art is characterized by its emotive, dramatic, and mystical expressions. Francisco Goya and William Turner are among the most well-known romantic artists. Romanticism had a significant impact on literature, music, and other arts. 🌹

An evocative painting of Saturn Devouring his Son by Francisco Goya


Impressionism art emerged in the late 19th century, and it is characterized by its focus on the light and shadow effects in nature. Impressionist artists such as Claude Monet, Auguste Renoir, and Edgar Degas would use small, thin brushstrokes, and bright, vibrant colors. They often painted en plein air and attempted to capture fleeting moments in time. Impressionism revolutionized art, and it opened the doors for the emergence of modern art. 🌇

A painting of Water Lilies by Claude Monet

Modern Art

Modern art emerged in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and is characterized by its revolutionary techniques, expressions, and themes. Modern art is often abstract and can be challenging to understand. Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, and Wassily Kandinsky are among the most well-known modern artists. Modern art was often seen as a way of breaking the rules and conventions of traditional art. It challenged the concept of what art is altogether. 🎭

An intriguing painting of Persistence of Memory by Salvador Dali

This concludes our journey through the various styles, movements, and artists of Western art. Exploring these various art forms can help us develop an appreciation for artistic expression and human creativity. 🙌

A beautiful gallery with all the different forms of Western art.

Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed this beginner’s guide to exploring Western art. Until next time, let’s continue exploring the beauty of art together. 🎨