What is Art?

What is Art?

Why you should visit an Art Museum!

Museums are  an ideal way to learn about human history and the cultures of different countries. By just observing art, you can get into the mindset of the inhabitants in specific time periods and countries, including their beliefs, morals, cultures, and more. 

A museum is a wonderful place to get inspired, and get those creative juices flowing. The work of other artists can stimulate new ideas, resulting in the creation of more art, including music, architecture,  and creative writing.

Museums can give you something to talk about with your friends and family. Whether it’s your favorite piece of art or one you totally dislike, museums offer a variety of subjects to talk about.  You’ll be pleasantly surprised by the amount of discussion material museums can add to your repertoire!  Also, museums are the perfect place to meet new people that share your love of art and culture.

Enjoy your travels through art history!  Stefanie (Hi-Desert Nature Museum)

Renaissance (1400-1600)

The Renaissance was a period in Europe of cultural, artistic, political and economic “rebirth” after the Middle Ages. It took place from  1400 to the 1600.  Some of the greatest thinkers, authors, statesmen, scientists and artists in human history thrived during this era.

We are looking at two of the most famous artists and inventors from the Renaissance: Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo.

Baroque (1600-1750)


Baroque is a style of architecture, music, dance, painting, sculpture and other arts that flourished in Europe from the early 1600 until 1750.  The Baroque style used contrast, movement, exuberant detail, deep color, grandeur and surprise to achieve a sense of awe.

Baroque painters used intense and warm colors, and particularly made use of the primary colors red, blue and yellow, frequently putting all three close together. They avoided the even lighting of Renaissance painting and used strong contrasts of light and darkness on certain parts of the picture to direct attention to the central actions or figures.  They avoided the calm scenes of Renaissance paintings, and chose the moments of the greatest movement and drama.  The faces in Baroque paintings clearly expressed their emotions.

We are going to look at two of the most famous painters of the Baroque: Rembrandt and Jan Vermeer.

Romantic (1830-1900)

The Romantic era was an artistic and intellectual movement that originated in Europe and lasted from 1830 through 1900.  The Romantic era was characterized by its emphasis on emotion and nature. It was a reaction to the Industrial Revolution and everything modern.

A  lot of very famous artists belong in this time period like Paul Cezanne, Claude Monet and August Renoir.

We are going to look at two painters and one sculptor:, William Turner and Vincent van Gogh, who both painted nature, but in very different ways, and Augusta Savage, an American woman and sculptor, from the very end of the Romantic era.


Modern (1900-1970)

Modern art includes artistic work produced between 1900 and the 1970s.  Modern artists experimented with new ways of seeing the world and with fresh ideas about the nature of materials and functions of art.

Modern art had many different styles.

  • Expressionism is very subjective, distorting reality to evoke moods or ideas.
  • Surrealism depicts the unconscious and dreams rather than reality.
  • Cubism shows a subject broken down into its geometrical components and often represented from several angles at once.

There are lots of amazing and famous artists during this time period. We will focus on Pablo Picasso, Georgia O’Keeffe, Frida Kahlo and Ansel Adams.

Contemporary (1970-current)

Contemporary art is the art of today.  It started around 1950 and is ongoing. Contemporary artists work in a globally influenced, culturally diverse, and technologically advancing world.  Their art is a combination of materials, methods, concepts—everything is possible…

Let’s introduce Keith Haring and Roy Lichtenstein.

…and just remember in a few years you could be mentioned in this section!