9 Different Styles of Painting

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There are 64 Arts in total but if you ever listen to the word “ART” The first thing that comes to our mind is Painting. Without even knowing, its strongly wired in our brain that paint is art and vice-versa. This is due to our deeper connection to this art. So. let us dive into this art of painting and get to know more about it and its styles.

What Is Painting and its Origin

We all know that painting is nothing but the practice of applying paint, pigment, color or other medium to a solid surface. The medium is commonly applied to the base with a brush, but other implements, such as knives, sponges, and airbrushes, can be used.

Historians and archeologists predict that symbolic paintings(which were the first paintings) might have originated 100,000 years ago in Africa where first humans evolved. The oldest known paintings are at the Grotte Chauvet in France, which some historians believe are about 32,000 years old.

“Human history without painting would not have been to the place where we are today.”

Styles of Painting

As the art of painting evolved we got to see broadly two different styles of painting namely, western style and eastern style.
So, firstly let us look into the

Western Styles of Painting.


Modernism in simple words is just something different from traditional art.

As the name suggests, it has evolved in the mid 19–20 centuries. It is a conservative style of painting that goes against realism to protect abstractness in paintings. The term contains the activities and output of those who felt the “traditional” forms of art were becoming outdated in the new economic, social and political conditions of an emerging fully industrialized world.
A salient characteristic of modernism is self-consciousness. This is the style that is fighting to show the prominence of the art of painting in these modern times.


Realism or Photorealism is the genre of painting where the painting looks much like real object rather than being stylized or abstracted. In here, photographs are used to gather information and then from this information, a painting that appears to be very much like a photographed is made.

The term is primarily applied to paintings from the United States art movement that began in the late 1960s and early 1970s. As a full-fledged art movement, Photorealism evolved from Pop Art and as a counter to Abstract Expressionism.
Hyper realism is a genre of painting and sculpture resembling a high-resolution photograph. Hyperrealism is a fully-fledged school of art and can be considered an advancement of Photorealism by the methods used to create the resulting paintings or sculptures.

The difference between realism and hyper realism is that in realism paintings your eye will feel that the painting looks real whereas in hyper realism the painting must be exactly same as a photograph including every minute feature.


Impressionism emerged in the 1880s in Europe, where artists such as Claude Monet sought to capture light, not through the detail of realism, but with gesture and illusion.

You don’t need to get too close to Monet’s water lilies or Vincent Van Gogh’s sunflowers to see the bold strokes of color, however, there’s no doubt what you’re looking at.

Impressionist paintings show that human beings do not see objects, but instead see light itself.

The uniqueness of this style is that the objects retain their realistic appearance yet have a vibrancy about. It’s hard to believe that when the Impressionists were first showing their works, most critics hated and ridiculed it. What was then regarded as an unfinished and rough painting style is now beloved and revered.


An art which depicts anything, but not in its truest forms, can be considered as abstraction

This is one of the most creative and free form styles. The artist has a particular cling to this style because this style gives them a degree of freedom that no other style give them.

There are many more styles in this like abstract expressionism, gestural abstraction, color field, lyrical abstraction, hard-edge, painting pop art. Many great arts that humans created are more of this style. The most famous artist who worked on this this style is Pablo Picasso.


Expressionism is a popular form of abstract style only. This style of art is especially related to the emotions. This emotional overflow of human heart is illustrated from the perspective of a subject.

This style paintings generally induce some emotions or feeling into viewers. Expressionists employ artificial color palettes, energetic brushstrokes, and exaggerated textures in their works.

The origins of Expressionism is sometimes traced to paintings exhibited in 1901 in Paris by obscure artist Julien-Auguste Hervé

A famous name in this style of painting is Vincent Van Gogh.


Cubism is also a form of abstract style. In this style, geometrical solids play an important role. The final product will be a mix of actual form of the object and some geometrical shape.

Though cubism is considered as a form of abstract painting, its roots can be found before abstract art also. Cubism became popular because people like Picasso, Braque, Gris adopted this style and worked to make it popular. These people gave us some of the masterpieces in cubism. Cubism artists contributed a lot to the world of art.

So, those were some of the western styles of painting, now let us see some popular eastern styles of painting

Eastern Styles of Painting

The Chinese Painting Style

The Chinese painting styles are considered to be one of the oldest styles of art in the world.

The two widely used techniques in the Chinese painting style are:

  1. Gong-bi: This is where artists use detailed precise brush strokes
  2. Shui-mo: This is common water color paintings

The main specialty in Chinese art is that they try to capture the soul of the object, energy in it and its spirit. This is what makes it different from other art. Today, Chinese style is being influenced by western art form as well.

The Japanese Painting Style

Japanese paintings are absolutely mesmerizing. Japanese have different types of styles in paintings and they have different schools of art which promote different styles

  1. Suibokuga: This school has a unique style where paintings are made only with black ink. Don’t do the mistake to think that these will be boring. These paintings are super awesome.
  2. Kano: This school promotes the usage of vibrant colors in paintings
  3. Shijo: This school generally use common people to convey emotions in their paintings.

Like that, their are a lot of styles and unique things which Japanese art have.

The Indian Style

India being a diverse nation, there are a lot of styles in there. Indian paintings are also one of the oldest in the world. You can find Indian rock paintings dating back to 5500BC also.
Let us look at some of the interesting painting styles found in India:

  1. Warli Paintings: This is an old art form which was drawn by tribes in India. It uses some fixed geometrical shapes to draw everything.
  2. Mithila Art: This is a style of paintings where painting is finished utilizing the fingers, brushes or even twigs of the trees. It is sometimes drawn with matchsticks also. This art form dates back to 5th century BC.
  3. Mughal Paintings: This style was seen during the period of Mughal rule. Mughal emperors like Akbar, Shah Jahan promoted art during their reign. A famous style which came up from this period is “Hamzanama”.
  4. Rajput Paintings: These paintings were seen during the reign of Rajput Kings. Rajput paintings are known for the usage of vibrant colors. Rajput artists even used colors made our of precious materials like gold.

The list goes on with other paintings like Tanjore Paintings, Mysore Paintings and so on.

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So, those were some of the different eastern styles of painting. There are a lot of other styles which no one can cover in just a single article.

We have seen the different styles of paintings from different parts of the world. Which painting style did you like? Tell Us in the comment section

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