25 Different Types of Painting Styles and Techniques Explained

In this article, we shall discuss 25 different painting styles and techniques in the world with a list of famous artists and artworks under each type. Read along to know more!

By Newsmeter Network  Published on  18 Jan 2022 6:49 AM GMT
25 Different Types of Painting Styles and Techniques Explained

Painting is one of the most popular and significant forms of Visual arts. It is a form of expression that enables the artist to depict his ideas and imaginations in a visual format visually. From the early caveman paintings to the modern-day abstract arts, many forms of painting styles have emerged in the world, taking influence from then societies and ideals. Elements like nature, people, religion, and even imaginative thinking have inspired artists worldwide to develop new styles of painting that paved the way for others to follow.

This article discusses the 25 Different Painting Styles in the World with brief information on the technique, origin, and famous artists.

25 Different Types of Painting Styles in the World:

Here are the 25 types of painting styles and techniques that every artist and art connoisseur must know about:

1. Expressionism:


Expressionism is a form of modern art that has its origins in the 20th Century Northern Europe. In this style of painting, the artist depicts a scene solely from his or her emotional perspective rather than recreating a real scene. The notable features are bright colors, bold strokes and characters which show exaggerated emotions. Expressionism was a popular form of art before the WWI and is predominantly seen in countries like Germany, Russia, France and Austria. Some of the popular expressionist painters are Der Blaue Reiter, Die Brücke, Franz Marc, Edward Munch, Karl Zerbe, Rolf Nesch etc. Among these, an art named "The Scream" by Edvard Munch is one of the iconic Expressionist paintings of all times.

2. Modernism:


Modernism is a modern painting style that emerged as a by-product of industrialism in the Western world. This early 20th-century style of painting represents the modern ideals and thought processes of the artists rather than staying confined to the rigid artistic norms. Modernism is often seen as a rejection of the romanticized ideals of art and history as it represents current values and living conditions. Instead of resorting to historical figures, artists look for inspiration from everyday people and scenes. The famous modernist painters are Alphonse Legros, Georges Braque, Raoul Hausmann, Salvador Dali, Pablo Picasso. The "American Gothic" by Grant Wood (1930) is a fine example of modernism painting style.

3. Impressionism:


Impressionism is a 19th Century European painting style that lays emphasis on natural light and its changing dimensions owing to the effects of time. The predominant characteristics of impressionism are small and thin visible brushstrokes with unblended colors. Impressionism started in France with a group of Parisian artists leading the movement through their art. The first source of inspiration for this movement is Claude Monet's painting "Impression" that faced harsh criticism from the traditional art community of Paris. Some of the famous Impressionist painters are Jean-Louis Forain, Arthur Streeton, Vincent Van Gogh, Georges Seurat etc. Claude Monet's "The Artist's Garden" is an example of Impressionist painting style.

4. Abstract Art:


Abstract art is a style of painting that emerged from three different art movements – Romanticism, Impressionism and Expressionism. In this painting style, artists use geometric lines, shapes and vivid colors that allows for a clear analysis and interpretation. Abstract art is a result of the artists' rejection of all the previous forms of art and a motto to create techniques that are not previously recognized in any art movement. This form of art also allows for free exploration and experimentation of mediums and concepts, this liberating the artists of age-old rigidity. Some of the famous abstract painters in the world are Wassily Kandinsky, Piet Mondrian, Joan Miro, Jackson Pollock etc. The painting "Composition X" (1939) by Wassily Kandinsky is an example of Abstract art.

5. Cubism:


Cubism is another painting style that emerged in early 20th Century Europe and turned into a dominant form at that time. This movement was started and led by famous painters like Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, Albert Gleizes etc. The noteworthy features of Cubism painting style are how objects are analyzed, broken down into individual components, and reassembled in an abstract form. This allows for depicting the objects from a different perspective and in a3-dimensional form. Some of the famous artists of this style are Frida Kahlo, Juan Gris, Robert Delaunay etc. "Portrait of Pablo Picasso" is an example of famous Cubism style painting.

6. Surrealism:


Surrealism is an artistic movement that emerged as a response to the destruction and damage of the World War I. In this painting style, the artist has the freedom to break all the shackles of societal norms and depict unreal, imaginary scenes using endless mediums. As a result, you will notice bizarre objects that do not exist in the real world but have emerged from the consciousness of the artist. Some of the famous surrealist painters are Joan Miro, Salvador Deli, Pablo Picasso and Michael Cheval. "Lullaby of Uncle Magritte" by Michael Cheval is an example of a Surrealist painting style.

7. Post-Impressionism:


Post impressionism paintings feature an assortment of styles, techniques and mediums. Infact, there is no single approach to a painting and painters who belong to this category were unified only by the way they explore a subject. This particular painting style was developed in the 1890's with a motto to trigger emotion than depict a real object. Post-impressionist paintings feature a lot of brushstrokes in unnatural colors along with symbolic motifs that have deeper meanings. Vincent van Gogh is one of the most famous Post-Impressionist painters whose works like the "The Starry Night" serves as examples of the style.

8. Chinese Painting Style:


When we move to China in the far east Asia, you can notice different painting styles and techniques different from the Western or European worlds. These styles have come from different painters of different dynasties who ruled the country throughout its history. Of these, the traditional Chinese painting style which resembled calligraphy is called Danqing. The other popular form is the landscape painting which feature the beauty of towering mountains. The popular Chinese style artists are Jing Hao, Lo Cheng, Wei Dong (Contemporary style) etc. The painting of 'Maple and Deer' is an example of a typical Chinese stye painting.

9. Japanese Style Painting:


Japanese paintings feature a variety of styles and techniques, all of which conform to the traditional Japanese artistic norms to some extent. The culture and religious practices in Japan greatly influence the painting styles of the country. Japanese Paintings usually depict realistic scenes of people, animals or natural beauty. Most of the styles draw inspirations from Chinese and Western-style paintings and techniques. Some of the popular Japanese style paintings are Yamato-e, Emakimono etc. "Yorimato in Cave" is an example of the earliest Japanese style paintings.

10. Mughal Style Paintings:


India is home to different painting styles that reflect the local cultures and traditions. One of the significant Indian style paintings is the Mughal art which originated from the Mughals who ruled the country. Most of the styles and techniques used in Mughal paintings were developed between 16th to 19th Century and draw inspirations from Indian and Persian styles. The key features are vivid colors and ornate detailing of subjects which include nature, court scenes, royals and narratives. Famous artists of Mughal style paintings include Ustad Mansur, Daswanth, Abu Al-Hassan etc. Here is an example of Mughal painting style done by the famous Abd al-Samad aka Mirza Ali.

11. Madhubani Style:


Madhubani is a type of Indian painting style which has its origins in the Madhubani district of Bihar. However, it was people of the Mithila region who popularized this form of art. Originally, Madhubani was performed on walls of huts, plastered mud walls etc. and the paintings depict animals, birds, flowers and local customs. There are different types of Madhubani style paintings like Bharni, Katchni, Tantrik, Godna and Kohbar, which vary in the symbols and styles. Many artists like Sita Devi, Ganga Devi, Leela Devi etc. contributed significantly to this form of painting. Here is "Krishna" by Sita Devi which serves as an example of Madhubani folklore painting style.

12. Thanjavur Painting:


Thanjavur painting is a beautiful South Indian painting style that comes from its eponymous town -Thanjavur of Tamilnadu. These paintings feature rich colors and artistic images decorated with shiny gold foils, gemstones and beads. Most of the works feature Hindu Gods and Goddesses and artists visualize their images from the descriptions provided in the ancient religious texts. In contemporary times, many artists have achieved mastery in this painting style and their works are exported worldwide. Here is an example of a Thanjavur painting:

13. Mural Paintings:


Mural painting is a three-dimensional painting style which is usually done on walls or ceilings, instead of canvas or paper. The earliest known mural painting belonged to the stone age, indicating how old this painting style is. Mural paintings involve using different types of materials like plaster of Paris, tiles, ceramics, etc. depending on the art style. Some of the famous mural artists are Leonardo Da Vinci, Diego Rivera etc. who created many remarkable and iconic murals. To name a few are Da Vinci's "Last Supper", Michelangelo's "The Last Judgement" etc.

14. Trompe l'oeil:


Trompe L'oel is a realistic painting style which tricks our eyes into believing that the objects in the art work are real. Infact, the true translation of this French term means "deceive the eye". The paintings usually feature a three-dimensional art in which the subjects look as if they are coming out of the frame. Trompe L'oeil uses optical illusion techniques that distort the rules of our perception. Pere Borrell del Caso, Andrea Pozzo etc. are some of the famous painters who mastered the Trompe L'oel optical illusion painting styles. The most popular among their artworks is "Escaping Criticism" by Pere del Caso.

15. Panel Painting:


Panel painting was one of the most popular painting styles in the Europe until 16th Century. This style uses wood as a support medium either as a single panel or multiple panels. The panels were usually made of different types of wood like oak, cedar, dark walnut, mahogany etc. Many artists preferred mixing different art mediums on the wood to create interested textural effects. The style gradually disappeared after the invention of canvas in the later part of 16th Century. Popular Panel artists are Cennino Cennini, Dieric Bouts etc. and the "Fayum Mummy Portraits" are classic examples of this painting style.

16. Plein-Art Painting:


Plein-air painting is an 18th Century French painting style in which the artists step out into the open air to paint instead of being confined to studios. The French term "Plein-air" translates to "in the open air," which allows the artist to explore different subjects of interest. It also becomes possible to study the objects in natural sunlight and conditions, so the depictions stay natural. Famous artists of this painting style are Edgar Alwin Payne, Alson Skinner Clark, Claude Monet and William Merritt Chase. Here is an example of Plein-air painting by Claude Monet:

17. Grisaille:


Grisaille is a painting style in which the artists use only monochromatic color palettes to create stunning visual artworks. Grey and similar colors are chosen in this painting style to create neutral-toned artworks. The main purpose of Grisaille style is to create sculpture-like paintings and show the artist's skill in handling a masterpiece using single color. The first Grisaille painting was first done in 1304 by an Italian artist called Giotto. A classic example of Grisaille style is the artwork of Pieter Brueghel called "Christ and the Woman taken in Adultery".

18. Warli Painting:


Warli is an Indian tribal style painting that is practiced by the tribal groups of North Sahyadri range in Maharashtra. The paintings are usually done on mud plastered walls and tapestries which depict the lives of the Warli tribes. Warli paintings feature geometric patterns comprising of simple motifs such as triangles, circles, dotted lines, wavy lines etc. A combination of the motifs will form figures of animals, huts, humans etc. Jivya Soma Mashe from Maharashtra is one of the most famous Warli artists who even won a National Award. Here is an example of Warli painting style:

19. Figure Painting:


Figure painting or figurative painting is a painting style which focuses on the realistic human form without any distortions or added creativity of the artist. There is no room for artificiality in this painting style and the artwork accurately depicts the subject in its natural form. 'Nudes' is the most significant painting style in figure painting and the artists depict the subjects in informal situations in their nude forms. Michelangelo, Edgar Degas, Picasso are some of the greatest figurative painters ever. Here is an example of a figurative painting by Michelangelo:

20. Portrait Painting:


Portrait painting is a style of painting in which the artists capture the human forms on a canvas. This type of painting is considered as most complex and difficult as the artist needs to capture the finest details of the subject's facial features and body. Portrait paintings involve a variety of mediums like watercolors, pencils, oil pastels or even charcoal. The earliest known portrait painting dates back to 5000 years ago and famous artists of this style are Leonardo Da Vinci, Raphael etc. The Monalisa is an iconic example of a half-face portrait by Da Vinci.

21. Watercolor Painting:


Watercolor painting is a type of painting technique which uses watercolors as a coloring medium. Highly pigmented and water-soluble colors are used to paint and color the subjects in the artwork. The beauty of this painting style is the transparent effect that comes by layering of watercolors. History suggests that watercolor painting is known to humans about 1.4 million years ago. Some of the famous watercolor painters are Paul Klee, John Singer Sargent and Albrecht Durer.

22. Oil Painting:


Oil painting is perhaps one of the most popular painting techniques in the world. It involves the usage of special oil paints which are made of pigments (colors), binders (oils like linseed) and thinners (like turpentine). Firstly, a ground pigment will be mixed with an oil binder for easy transfer onto a canvas or any other medium in use. Thinners are added to loosen the paint and make it spread evenly. Oil painting technique has been in wide use since the early 16th century for its glossy look and realistic painting effects. Some of the famous oil painters of all times are- Robert Campin, Jan Van Eyck, Leonard Da Vinci (Monalisa), Raphael etc. Here is one such example:

23. Acrylic Painting:



Acrylic painting is a relatively modern painting technique compared to oil and watercolors. The painting involves using acrylic paints known for their bright, glossy pigments and long-lasting results. The major benefit of acrylic paints is their fast-drying times which allow artists to work on their piece quickly without having to wait for the layers to dry up. They also come in different formats like opaque and transparent allowing for different results to show up. Some of the famous acrylic painters are David Hockney, Robert Motherwell, Kenneth Noland etc. Here is one example of an acrylic painting:

24. Pencil Sketching:


Pencil sketching is a type of painting technique that is done using graphite pencils. Graphite is a soft material that leaves jet black color on the canvas or paper. You can easy smudge it and blend it to create the highest level of detailing in an artwork. Pencil sketching got popular in the 16th Century when graphite was inserted into writing styluses for literary and art purposes. Depending on the desired effect and outcome, different types of graphite pencils are available which vary in pigment and intensity. Some of the famous pencil sketch artists in the world are Adonna Khare, Marco Mazzoni, Diego Fazio etc. Here is one such hyper-realistic pencil sketch by Diego Fazio:

25. Digital Painting:



Digital painting is a by-product of the digital era when computers have become ubiquitous. The techniques in the digital painting are very similar to that of a watercolor, acrylic or oil, with the exception that you will use a virtual canvas, brushes and colors. Digital painting allows artists to experiment with different styles and concepts. Many advanced digital painting devices and software are available in the market that can help the artist level up their game. Some of the famous digital artists in the world are Mandy Jurgens, Irina French, Rachel Walpole etc. Here is one such example of a digital painting.

Those are the 25 most popular painting styles and techniques that have certainly come a long way since their origin. We hope you thoroughly enjoyed reading this article as much we did writing about each of these painting varieties. So, what's your favorite painting style and why do you like it better than others?

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