Art Dictionary

Art, Artists & more

Our constantly expanding art dictionary provides answers to questions such as "What is Pop Art or Dada?", "Which works of art made the artists from the group Die Brücke famous?", or "Where does the term 'readymade' come from?". In addition, the dictionary contains interesting background information on many different styles of art and eras, artists, and significant events in art history.

Styles of Art, Eras, & Significant EventsAll »Close Overview »

What the Collector’s Heart Desires

Some museum directors envy private collectors: unfettered by institutional demands, they have free hand to choose art to suit their own personal tastes—even the works of younger, yet-to-be-established artists, and they often have larger budgets when public financing is hard to obtain.

The Neue Wilde

Suddenly, figurative painting, which had been left for dead, remerged: in the early 1980s a new generation of artists eagerly spoke up, rebelling against Minimalism and Conceptual Art and establishing a kind of art characterized by expressivity and emotion.

The International Architecture Exhibition in Venice

Every two years architecture fans from all over the world go on a pilgrimage to the architecture biennial in Venice; the most important international exhibition of architecture and urban planning offers an extensive overview of current movements and visions of the future.

The Art of Performance

Artists & Art Dictionary: In the 1960s and 1970s Performance Art was the hot genre: it promised nothing less than an encounter with life at its most exposed.

Berlin Biennale

New works produced expressly by contemporary artists from all around the world, as well as renowned curators: the Berlin Biennale, founded in 1998, has secured a place in the ranks of international biennials.

From Word to Image: The Poet as Visual Artist

Many poets and thinkers, of all eras and persuasions, wielded the paintbrush or pencil as passionately as they did the pen. With varying degrees of confidence and hesitancy, these doubly gifted artists occupied two creative realms that provided reciprocal sources of inspiration.

The Art Market

Confusing and uncertain: the art market is foreign to many, even lovers of art, yet at the same time it holds great fascination. It is a network made up of countless participants—artists, gallerists, auction houses, fairs, museums, art critics, and collectors...

Minimal Art

Elementary shapes, series, industrial materials and methods of production are hallmarks of Minimal Art, which developed in the 1960s as an alternative to Abstract Expressionism and Pop Art

New Objectivity

Through their paintings they reacted to the traumatic experiences of World War I and a world out of joint: the artists of New Objectivity movement.

1914 - Artists at War

Some sought borderline experiences for the sake of their art, and followed the call to battle; others fled from it: World War I left its marks on many artists; the shock of the global tremors led them to poignant new themes and radical, new concepts of art.


One name in particular is associated with Abstract Expressionism: Jackson Pollock. With his daring techniques, such as action painting, this American painter continues to influence the art scene to this very day.

Ars Electronica

Ars Electronica, hovering at the border between art and technology, is an internationally distinguished media arts festival—a platform whose focus, since its founding in 1979, has been on the future as it develops in the present.

Art Basel

Art Basel has been called the “Art Market Olympics” and “Queen of the Art Fairs,” and all around the world, it is known as the best, most important fair for classic modern to present day art.

Baroque Art

No other epoch in the history of European art is as fraught with contradictions as the Baroque period. Nevertheless, this style of art—often denigrated as »bombastic«—is once again receiving increased attention.


The Bauhaus was founded in Weimar, Germany, in 1919. Despite the brevity of its existence, it is still the most important school ever for art, design, and architecture.


Biedermeier (Germany, early nineteenth century) is on its way to no longer being considered a stuffy product conforming to middle-class taste; instead, it is being rediscovered as a highly cultivated art movement.

Body Art

In the late 1960s began a form of art, reaching its zenith in the 1970s: Body Art.


On June 7, 1905, four young students from Dresden founded the artists´ group Die Brücke (The Bridge). Their goal was to discover new forms of visual expression, using bold strokes and ecstatic colors; this was the birth of German Expressionism.

Color Photography

If color photography had been invented first, would anyone have missed black-and-white?


This art movement, which was especially strong in early twentieth-century France, formed the beginning of abstract and non-objected-related art: Cubism.


In their rebellion against bourgeois standards of art, they preferred incomprehensible and frequently shocking artistic methods: they were known as the Dadaists.


The documenta (Kassel, Germany) is regarded as the world´s most important exhibition of contemporary art today. Ever since the first show in 1955, the documenta has made considerable contributions to the history of art.


Expressionism is a way of articulating the soul: during this period, paintings of the real world were often distorted, abstract, and rendered in powerful colors.


An exhibition in Paris in 1874 gave birth to what was probably, at the time, the most exciting and newest style in nineteenth-century art: Impressionism.


Reflection of human sensibilities or soulful rendering of nature: these were common aspects of landscape painting during the 18th and 19th centuries. However, this genre of object-related painting did not always occupy such a highly respected position.

Light Art

Light Art, which began in the 1960s, is mainly concerned with exploring artificial light; it is a relatively young, but increasingly independent genre of art.

New Leipzig School

»The figurative, the accent on drawing, an ideal world view defined by a rich history, and everything handled with a new freedom: these are my Leipzig roots.« (Neo Rauch)

Nudes in Art

The nude is one of the oldest, most fascinating motifs in art. After all, as a motif, the unclothed body presents an almost infinite number of opportunities to depict the way that people see themselves, their ideals, fears, and dreams.


For a long time its status in the art world was controversial; it has only been recently that photography has begun to be accepted as a full-fledged form of art.


“. . . Village Voice critic Howard Smith asked me, ‘What are you going to call this group?’ I said, ‘I don't know, what am I going to call them? They're using the photograph, they're being very open about it. It's photographic realism. I don't know, Photorealism.” (Louis K. Meisel)


The Art of the Polaroid: “The aesthetic purpose of the new camera is to make available a new medium of expression to those who have an artistic interest in the world around them.” (Edwin Land)

Pop Art

Whether it´s Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, or Robert Rauschenberg, no other conceptual movement in modern twentieth-century art history has been such a crucial influence on our ideas of aesthetics, design, and the American way of life as Pop Art.


The portrait of the human figure has long been one of the oldest motifs in the history of painting. Yet it was not until the late classical / early modern era that artists realized that the head was the most distinctly characteristic part of the body.


Considered a reactionary movement opposed to modernism, which is increasingly thought of as sterile and totalitarian, Postmodernism is an intellectual, cultural movement, whose beginnings are rooted in the latter half of the twentieth century.


Plaything for the Dadaist and Surrealists, the icon of Pop Art, Nouveau Réalisme, and conceptual art, this is a small group of works comprised of ordinary objects that have been elevated to the status of art.

Renaissance Painting

Commencing in Italy, the Renaissance developed a fresh vision of the world, and with it, a new kind of art, whose influence on later generations was overwhelming.


Romanticism can be understood as a basic intellectual attitude whose focus is on the imagination and the individual´s experience of nature as a mode of artistic expression.

Scandinavian Art around 1900

It was not until the 19th century that the northern European countries developed an independent art scene of their own. Edvard Munch is Scandinavia’s best-known artist. Many of his contemporaries are now in the process of being rediscovered.

Still Lifes

For centuries artists and viewers alike have been fascinated by careful arrangements of »still« objects, such as flowers, exotic fruits, wild game, plates, carafes, or musical instruments.

Street Photography

“The photographer is an armed version of the solitary walker reconnoitering, stalking, cruising the urban inferno, the voyeuristic stroller who discovers the city as a landscape of voluptuous extremes.” (Susan Sonntag)


René Magritte and Salvador Dalí are probably the most famous of the Surrealist painters; in this movement the subconscious, the paradoxical, and the dreamlike played significant roles.

Venice Biennale

Venice has held a biennial every two years since 1895. Today it is one of the world´s most important exhibitions of international contemporary art.

Video Art

From its beginnings as an art form in the early 1960s in Germany and America, video art advanced, in the meantime, to become one of the twentieth century´s most influential genres of art.


The end of painting, a new beginning for art: Zero marks the point at which new kinds of art can begin.

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