Art Canon is a selected, and growing, list of art genres, groups, movements, styles, art critics, historians, philosophers, and theorists from 1750 to the present.

The art terms are posted chronologically, beginning at 1750. The art writers are entered using the same system, after the terms. So, the list has the most recent writers at the beginning (top/latest post) and the oldest terms at the end (bottom/oldest post).

The terms provide approximate dates (the year the term first became applicable or was coined, to the last date it was applicable, or “Present” if the terms still applies), the area where the term originated, key artists, a brief description, and an image of a piece that relates to the term. Each term is categorized in the right-hand column by type (genre, group, movement, technique/style), alphabetically, and listed fully under “art terms.” There is a full chronological list available under the “art terms” page, and each term links to its description.

The writers are organized chronologically by date of birth. The dates they were alive (or, lacking an end date if they are still living), their nationality, a brief biography, and any related information, are provided. Each writer is categorized in the right-hand column by type (art critics, historians, philosophers, theorists), alphabetically, and listed fully under “art writers.”  There is a full alphabetical list available under the “art writers” page.

Dates and information were culled from various sources, so may not be accurate. The term descriptions were copied from Wikipedia, Tate Modern, Guggenheim, MOMA, and the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, etc. The link address is pasted after its corresponding section. Some paragraphs were slightly edited. The images are borrowed from various websites. Writing and images should not be cited from Art Canon.

There are two charts available under the page “Charts.” One, charts movements, the other, charts writers. Click on the charts for a full scale image.

© Lydia Ruby

  1. Great database, thanks for the resource! May I suggest Slavoj Zizek might be a good inclusion?

    • Lydia Ruby
    • August 11th, 2012


    Thank you for the suggestion.

    I am not too familiar with his theory. Can you point me in a direction that leads to any of his theoretical writings on visual art? I would be happy to include him.



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