Expressionist
In the manner of Expressionism, a movement that emerged in Northern Europe at the turn of the 20th century in reaction against academism and the values of contemporary society. It extended to a wide range of arts including painting, architecture, literature, theatre, film, music and dance. In painting it is characterized by a subjective perspective that distorts reality in order to create emotional impact. As World War I approached, Expressionist artists tended to represent harrowing visions.

Fauvist
In the manner of the Fauves (French for “wild beasts”), a group of revolutionary painters active in the early 20th century. The name refers to the radical liberties they took with colour and form, such as the use of pure, flat colour laid on in large planes. These artists espoused an art based on instinct and used colour for its own expressive value, rather than in conventional relation to objects. The pioneer and most famous champion of Fauvism was Henri Matisse.

Formalism
In art theory, the concept that form determines content. By extension, formalist or formalist abstract painting is art that emphasizes compositional elements, such as colour, line, shape and texture, and excludes all expressive or narrative content.

Genre
A type or category of painting. In the 17th century, the French Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture established a hierarchy of genres, ranking paintings according to their uplifting content and difficulty of execution. History painting was deemed the noblest genre, followed by portraiture, genre scene (everyday life), landscape and still life. Challenges to this hierarchy began emerging in the 19th century.

Minimalism
This art movement, which appeared in the early 1960s, favoured shapes that were not strictly geometric but were always simple. The style was depersonalized, and extreme restraint was of primary importance. The aim of the school was to minimalize interventions.

Naive art
This term emerged around 1900 to designate a marginal style of figurative art. Variously described as undisciplined, awkward, childlike, candid, simple and spontaneous, the naive approach often blends fantasy with realism. The mostly self-taught artists use bright, pure, solid colours. Several modern movements, including Surrealism, borrowed from the naive aesthetic in rejecting academic conventions.

Photorealism
A style of painting that is often based on a photograph, creating the illusion of reality with meticulous attention to detail and barely discernible brushwork. The photorealism movement flourished in the United States in the 1960s and 70s. Also called sharp-focus realism or hyperrealism.

Regionalism
A style of painting that realistically depicts the characteristics of a region or place based on the artist’s direct experience.

Surrealism
A literary and artistic movement that emerged after World War I. Its central tenets were the rejection of logical constructs and the elevation of the irrational, the absurd, dreams, desires and revolt.

Symbolism
Symbolism, the use of symbols to represent ideas or qualities, initially developed as a literary movement in the late 19th century. In painting, it represents a synthesis of form and feeling, of reality and the artist’s subjectivity or imagination.

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