A tiny survey of art movements

2022-07-12 @Arts

I view an art movement as indicative of the style, independent of the argument or theme, in spite that each historical period sees inclination for specific themes and movements. Here I survey personal preferences among both the visual and written arts, supplementing with examples. Views subjective and possibly misaligned. Western only.


I imagine a magnifying glass inspection into the mundane reality of the day-to-day. Hyperbole and satire nonexclusive.

With the visual arts, generally associate hazy black-and-white settings of humbleness and misery.


Silent films of Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Fritz Lang.

Sketches of Kathe Kollwitz, Lynd Ward, Balthus, early Fayga Ostrower (to mention a Polish-Brazilian artist). With abstract expressionism (a derivative), Max Beckmann, Wasily Kandinsky, among many.

With literature, the longer works of Kafka, Joyce, some of Eliot’s short poetry, much of later-period Dostoevsky and Dickens.


Sparser (if not minimal) expression, heavier in symbolic imagery.

Silent short-reels of Georges Méliès (late 19th-century France, some of the earliest silent cinema), some Tarkovski and early Sukurov.

Paintings of Nicholas Roerich, Odilon Redon, William Blake.

Poetry of (early) Ezra Pound, much of Eliot, Yeats, Gumilev, Edgar Poe, (the multi-talent) William Blake, and the French symbolists I’ve no experience with.


Expansion of symbolism, exploring the subconscious mind.

Much of Tarkovsky, David Lynch, and Luis Bunuel cinema.

Paintings of Max Ernst, Juan Miro, Remedios Varo, Laura Carrington, Paul Delvaux.

Less experience with applicable literature. But some of Cortazar and parts of Joyce’s Ulysses feel starkly surreal. Among contemporary fiction, much of Murakami. Clarice Lispector, whose works I’ve yet to but skim, seem heavily characteristic.

In poetry, Spenser’s Faerie Queene, though allegorical first and foremost, suggests severe surrealism.


Let’s conflate Magic Realism into the package.

Much literature of Gogol, Dostoevsky, Jorge Amado, Machado de Assis, Verissimo, Dickens, Bulgakov, Marquez, Allende, Cortazar, Salinger and Tolstoy feeds into the movement.

Fine art: Diego Rivera, Edward Hopper, later-period Goya, Vasily Surikov, among the few that immediately surge.

Need I even cite examples of film?


Though themes vary heavily, it’s the 19th century style of bright, romantic, Victorian expression I most derive.

Early-period Dostoevsky, earlier Tolstoy, Pushkin, Edgar Poe, Austen, Shelley (Mary and Percy), Tennyson, Coleridge, Keats, Byron, etc …

Fine art: Delacroix, Fuseli, Gustave Dore, Rossetti, earlier Goya.

Film is largely a 20th century development, but plenty of cinema still conveys the Romantic sentiment. Since it’s not my preferred genre, I don’t feel like example fishing.

Further on

Some movements derive from others. Some share aspects.

Ex: Futurism, Dadaism (the various forms), primitivism (notable animal and nature imagery), regionalism (a locally catered realism), metaphysical.

Some apply strictly to fine art and design: Art Deco, Art Noveau.

Some of the more antique, ie the Baroque or the various Renaissance schools, beyond fine art and literature also parallel in music development.

Some I’m entirely indifferent to.

For brevity I omit further examples.

Questions, comments? Connect.