Impressionism is slightly abstract. The details don't matter, only the colours:
Apple Trees on Chantemesle Hill, Claude Monet, Impressionist
Expressionism is more about describing the emotional impact of a subject - how it feels, rather than how it looks:
Starry Night, by Vincent Van Gogh, Post-Impressionist, the start of Expressionism
Rain, by Franz Marc, Expressionist
Primativism was about painting without all the lessons and realism of academia - to see through a child's eyes. The idea is it would be more honest.
Three Tahitians, by Paul Gauguin, early Primitivist
Look at the girl on the left. You'd have to break her neck to get her to turn her head in just that position. Any academic professor would say, "Do it over!" But Gauguin would say it's just the way he wanted it. It feels right.
Cubism is a form of Expressionism about the emotional impact of taking the familiar everyday world, and breaking it up into little puzzle pieces. The idea is, look again, you don't know it as well as you think you do:
Guitar Player, by Pablo Picasso, Cubist
There's a guitar player in there somewhere. See if you can find him.
Surrealism is about interpreting dreams, emphasizing that reality is just an illusion - it's a product of your mind. Everyone's 'reality' is different:
Paranoia, by Salvador Dalí, Surrealist
Abstract Expressionism is non-representational, meaning there's no hidden image anymore, only a representation of pure emotion. This style started in New York, so American art museums are really proud of it:
Blue Poles, by Jackson Pollock, Abstract Expressionist
What do you think this painting says about his emotions?
Minimalism explores the emotional impact (if any) in a couple simple geometric shapes and colours. It's supposed to be profound (hlboký dojem). I find it depressing. Minimalism is said to be the final stage of modernism - a running out of ideas:
Minimal Myth, by Donald Judd, Minimalist
All Art Is Abstract:
Illustrators like to point out how realist art can contain all the same energy and gesture as abstract. The following pictures are details of an illustration painted by Joe De Mers. This was originally posted online by David Apatoff on his blog: