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The Top 5 Different Styles of Painting

The style that a painter adopts for their work is arguably the biggest factor that sets them apart from other artists, allowing them to create work that is unique to them.

There have been dozens of different styles of painting developed over the last few hundred years, but only a handful of them have survived to this day, and are currently the main styles of painting that new artists will try and emulate when they first break into the scene.


Impressionism can trace its roots back to Europe in the 1880s, where famed artists like Claude Monet wanted to find ways of capturing light through illusion and gestures. Similarly, Vincent Van Gogh was also a fan of impressionism, and it’s easy to spot their work from a distance thanks to the bright colours and broader strokes.

Objects within the painting are able to retain their general appearance, including what makes them unique, and while critics at the time didn’t care for the works of Monet or Van Gogh, they’re now both considered geniuses.


Around the turn of the 20th century, artists started turning away from realism, seeking something new and different. Abstraction was the fruit of that labour, and it came about in subjects that were interpreted by the artist, rather than sheer emulation.

Many artists, like Pablo Picasso, reduced the details down to shapes, patterns, and colours, allowing for a general idea of what’s happening in the piece while still being open to interpretation by the viewer.


While similar to Abstraction, the Abstract style came a little later in the 1950s, and revolves around totally shunning realism in favour of creating something truly subjective. The colours, materials, and textures of the work are what matter rather than an object being painted.

Jackson Pollock, whose work could only be bought by the really wealthy or winners of real money slots NZ jackpots, led the Abstract movement, and much of his work is based off of the natural fractals that can be found throughout nature. In fact, studies have found that Pollock’s work, when hung in an office, has a calming effect on everyone that works within the office; the same effect that we experience when we spend time in nature.


Realism is about creating a painting that is as close to the subject as possible rather than the piece being stylised or abstract, and it’s a style that many view as real art. This was the style of art that dominated much of the Renaissance, and was especially favoured by Leonardo Da Vinci.

Some of his most famous works, such as the Mona Lisa, are based on realism, where he simply recreated the woman on canvas as closely as possible.


First appearing during the Industrial Revolution in Europe, many of the artists at the time were able to leave the studio and begin painting the people and world around them.

This style focuses mainly on the painting itself, including the pigments and the brushwork, where artists would spend most of their time smoothing out the textures that had been left by the paint on the canvas.