【2023年度版】絵画の歴史、アートのジャンルについてざっくり解説! - FROM ARTIST

[2023 Edition] A rough explanation of the history of painting and genres of art!

There are paintings in various places in your daily life.

When you were a student, many of you probably learned about various artists and paintings in art classes.

I'm sure there are some people who say, ``I've often gone to see paintings at art museums or exhibitions, but I may not know the exact era or genre.''

This time, we will explain when painting began, what genres there are, and famous painters of each genre!

table of contents

1. How did painting begin?

2. Genre of painting (modern painting, contemporary art, Japanese painting, modern Japanese art)

3. Famous artists of each genre


How did painting begin?

When you hear the word "painting," you probably imagine something framed or painted on a panel.

In fact, the definition of painting is very broad, and it is said to be ``an expression of the shape, outline, or figure of an object using lines and colors.''

The beginning of painting dates back to BC.

The oldest known paintings are said to be wall paintings painted in caves over 65,000 years ago. (It is said to have been drawn by Neanderthals...!)

By the way, the beginning of Japanese painting is said to have started around the Yayoi period.

genre of painting

◎Modern paintings

It is also called modern art !

Until then, many of the paintings were realistic, and there was a strong atmosphere in which realistic paintings were considered good, but painters called "(late) Impressionists" such as Monet and Cézanne changed these values. He was working on works that overturned the idea.

It seems that works produced during this period, roughly between 1860 and 1970, are often referred to as "modern paintings."

◎Modern art

It is also called modern art or contemporary art .

The difference from realistically painted paintings and the aforementioned modern paintings is that `` the works reflect questions about the situation and problems of modern society, and they are avant-garde works that are not bound by the notions or fixed ideas of art or art. It is said that it is a work of art .

However, the interpretation and expression of contemporary art is expanding year by year, and there is a rough designation of the era called ``modern'', so it is difficult to define a genre that is ``this!''.

◎Japanese painting

I introduced it in the column before!

Learn about Japanese paintings! Thorough explanation of history and art materials and introduction of works

Japanese painting is a genre whose techniques are inherited by various artists even today.

The name Nihonga began to be called recently during the Meiji period, but the techniques and styles seem to have been imported from China and the Korean Peninsula during the Nara to Heian periods.

◎Japanese modern foreign films

Until then, unique paintings such as Japanese paintings were the mainstream, but from around the Meiji period, when exchanges with foreign countries and the introduction of culture began to flourish, Western paintings began to be painted in Japan as well.

Japanese painters who were impressed by the realistic depictions of Western paintings adopted this technique, and it has become popular even today.

Famous artists of each genre (titles omitted)

modern painting

claude monet

"Water lily"

Speaking of Monet, this is probably the work that comes to mind for many people.

I've actually seen the original painting up close, and it's bigger and more impressive than I imagined...!

When you look at it up close, it's not like the lotus leaves are drawn in beautiful ellipses, but it was very moving to see how completely different the impression is when you look at it up close and when you look at it from a distance.

There are many paintings in the work titled Water Lilies, but each one has a different atmosphere, and the use of colors that convey the weather and climate of the time is attractive.

vincent van gogh


Van Gogh is known to many for his paintings of sunflowers.

This picture of a sunflower is famous for not just one, but multiple sunflowers!

Originally, in an effort to live together with artists and create a community, they painted many sunflowers to send to the invited artists.

However, it is a sad story that only one person came in response to the invitation...If you are interested, please check out the history surrounding Van Gogh!

It's as if several decades of life have been condensed into 10 years, and I think knowing the history of the artist will add even more depth to the painting.

Edouard Manet

boy playing the flute

This is a work by Manet, who is said to be the "father of modern painting."

You can see the original painting at the Musée d'Orsay in Paris! (It's so big!)

Compared to the Impressionist works of Monet and Van Gogh, some people may think that it is a modern painting because it is more realistic, but the works that rejected the ideas and perspective of Manet's works had a great influence on the Impressionist painters. He is an influential and admired person.

Modern painting (modern art)

There are many artists who are still active in contemporary painting, and there are copyright protection periods, so I will only introduce them in text.

Yayoi Kusama

He is a world-famous artist for his works drawn with polka dots !

I think there are many opportunities to see it in a variety of places, regardless of the medium, such as the yellow pumpkins on Naoshima, the interior design of hotels, and the design of buses, as well as 2D works.

It seems that he started drawing polka dots because of schizophrenia that he suffered from as a child, and there was also a time when he studied fields such as Japanese painting and was active overseas.

Takashi Murakami

He is an artist with an impressive pop style .

Personally, the 2008 24-hour TV T-shirt design left an impression on me.

However, behind the pop style that many people see as simple at first glance, there are various techniques and ideas in painting that form the basis of the artist group Kaikai Kiki, which studied Japanese painting at Tokyo University of the Arts and is sponsored by the artist group Kaikai Kiki. He has contributed to contemporary art activities in a wide range of fields, such as holding the art event ``GEISAI'' to support young artists.

andy warhol

He is an artist famous for his great involvement in the birth of pop art .

Many people are probably familiar with pictures of Marilyn Monroe printed in vivid colors.

It can be said that he created a number of works using a printing method called silk screen, and while gaining popularity as pop art and commercial paintings, he expanded his field further in the art industry.

modern japanese paintings

Tadashi Asai


Born in Edo, he is known as a Western painter of the Meiji period.

After studying oil painting and painting in Japan, he established himself as a painter while traveling abroad to France, China, and other countries.

As a professor and vice-principal at universities in Tokyo and Kyoto, he contributed to the development of painters and younger generations, and was also active as an educator.

Although he is a painter who mostly paints landscapes, works that mainly depict people in ``sewing'' style are rare among his works.

Ryusei Kishida

Little girl/Reiko standing statue

He is a Western painter who was active from the Taisho to Showa periods.

Born into a businessman who runs a drug store, his family is active in a wide range of fields, including his younger brother who is a playwright for the Takarazuka Revue.

It seems that he did not have good relationships with everyone because he was a germaphobe, a nervous person, and had a bad temper, but there were still many people who admired him throughout his life.

Seiki Kuroda


He is a Western painter who represents modern Japanese art. His success in the Western painting world, especially around the middle of the Meiji period, spread his influence to the literary world as a whole.

It seems that he was not active in painting from the beginning, but was devoted to studying law. After that, he turned to become a painter. In addition to producing paintings, he is also heavily involved in the development of Japanese art, teaching French and starting an art group.


There are various genres of painting, and each has its own rules and trends...!

Particularly in contemporary art, various techniques, expression methods, and names have been created over the years, so I felt like I couldn't keep an eye on future trends.

I think just knowing the origins and techniques of painting will increase the enjoyment of visiting museums and galleries, so please do your research.

Also, FROM ARTIST has artists from a wide range of genres such as Western paintings and contemporary art!

We handle works of various techniques by approximately 300 artists.

You can also search for your favorite works by narrowing down the genre, so please take advantage of it✨

↓ Click here for the official website! ↓


 Author: Fumitori Tsumugi

FROM ARTIST management staff. We write feature articles and columns, and provide operational support from an artist's perspective.

While I usually teach at a vocational school, I am also active as an artist, holding solo exhibitions and public exhibitions.


Supervisor: Shoma Toida

CEO of BUSCA LLC. FROM ARTIST business manager. Started his career as a marketer, gained experience at a business company and advertising agency, and then became independent. Completed marketing-related programs at multiple graduate schools and business schools, including the University of California, Berkeley and London Business School. He also studied the MBA Core Curriculum at Macquarie University and the importance of art in education at the University of British Columbia.

Back to blog