First of all, I would like to make clear that this chart is not meant to be all inclusive, but rather to be used as a guide for the general placement of art. Sub categories of art such as fauvism, cubism, dadaism, minimalism, pop art, rococo, symbolism, ect... are not shown here. Cubism, for example, I call a sub category, because basically it can be placed in the abstract expressionism area based on the amount of abstraction and imagination that is seen in such works. Don't get me wrong, a lot of these sub classifications are important, at least historically, and at most stylistically. But still they are little more than variations of some bigger grouping.
The functionality, of this chart, hinges on two sets of opposing characteristics. Realistic vs. Abstract and Observation vs. Imagination. I believe a mixture of these four "primaries" can define the visual characteristics of any work of art. I say VISUAL characteristics, because such aspects as artist intent (political, social, or religious themes, ect...) have no relevance to the style in which a picture is executed. I would leave this type of nitpicking to people who spend a lot of time philosophizing about art.
So if you don't feel like you should have to read Nietzsche to get an idea, and possibly the wrong one, about how to classify your own art when posting it here on DA, I hope this simple, stylized chart will help. It doesn't have all the details, but once you have an idea where the big pieces fit, the rest should be easy, if you have a mind to pursue such things later on.
I've been referred to as being a Neanderthal for attempting to simplify a classification system for something as complex as art. I'll be the first to admit that I'm far from being a philosopher in this area. But even Albert Einstein, being the mathematical genius that he was, once said he wanted an equation, perhaps no more than one inch long, that would allow us to read the mind of god. Of course, this chart is far from that, and I am far from Albert Einstein, but I still believe there is beauty, and elegance to be found in simplicity. I seriously doubt that anyones art has ever been enriched by an art classification system.
I've been an artist my entire life. I've spent much more time making art, than I have classifying it. That doesn't mean that I can't tell one style from another, it just means that I don't care enough about the philosophy side of it to educate myself on every art movement that ever came along. With that in mind, I hope you can understand why I look at art from a purely visual point of view.
I made this new "Primaries of Art" wheel after several conversations I've had with :iconartlmntl: and :iconGromyko: . Only a slight modification from last years wheel. Some of the terms I used on the old one were a bit confusing. Realistic, and abstract needed to be direct opposites of each other, rather than being two of three primaries. This one should be a bit more accurate, but basically, every thing in the old chart still corresponds to the new one. I hope some of you will find it useful.
Please feel free to criticize, or make suggested changes to the chart I've made here. But try to keep simplicity in mind. If you can think of a better name for a given category, or something like that, I'd be glad to hear your suggestions.
About the abstract expressionism category: I know that some abstracts can be expressive, but not all abstract expressionism is purely abstract. "The Scream" is a great example of this.