From the ancient world to the Middles Ages, early modern period and all the way through to the modern and post-modern eras, not only has art shaped the age in which we live, but it is also a mirror of its own time. With the beginning of modernism and the dawn of the industrial era at the end of the 18th century, the artistic styles which had, up to that point, been so rigidly academic, remaining unvaried throughout the decades, started to break down.
The 20th and 21st centuries saw a plurality of artistic styles like never before.
Movements, protests and revolutions called for something new, even rebellious, not only in politics, but also in art. To date, the modern world of art has been undergoing a dynamic process of development, growing from its roots to constantly divide and specialise. Some of these era-defining artistic styles are explored in detail below.