A History of the Visual Arts

From Impressionism to Digital Art

an e-book written by piero scaruffi
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Timeline of 20th Century Art | A brief History of Videogames | Cinema

(Cover picture: "Logos - Loop 6 - 2009" by piero scaruffi)


This is the first edition of a free ebook about the Visual Arts, starting with the Impressionism.

In 2012 i published the three volumes as slideshare files that cannot be downloaded:

  1. A Visual History of the Visual Arts - Part 1: From Impressionism to Surrealism
  2. A Visual History of the Visual Arts - Part 2: From Abstract Art to Conceptual Art
  3. A Visual History of the Visual Arts - Part 3: The Age of Globalization
Use those if you want to read the volumes as one continuous "slide show" and don't care about downloading the chapters on your computer.

Below are all the chapters in a downloadable format. Note that only the downloadable version is updated as i find mistakes and omissions. I don't have time to update the slideshare version.

This is a free ebook. Needless to say, it took many months to compile it, and the knowledge comes from many years of study. If you feel like supporting this work, make a donation.

Disclaimer. All the pictures (mostly in tiny resolution) are from the artist's website or museum's websites or my own photo collection. If you feel that a picture is used improperly, just email me.

All the text is mine and you are welcome to do what you like with it as long as it is for nonprofit purposes.

To send comments, corrections, complaints, click here.
See also A Timeline of 20th and 21st Century Art


Table of (downloadable) Contents

Last update in december 2017

(Any volunteer to create an alphabetical index? Contact me)

  1. A Visual History of the Visual Arts - Part 1: From Impressionism to Surrealism (1860-1945)
  2. A Visual History of the Visual Arts - Part 2: From Abstract Art to Conceptual Art (1946-1991)
  3. A Visual History of the Visual Arts - Part 3: The Age of Globalization (1991-2013)
    1. Painting
    2. Conceptual Art
    3. Multimedia Installation
    4. Body Art
    5. Photography
    6. Photomontage
    7. Computer Art
    8. Internet Art
    9. Video Art
    10. Sculpture
    11. Sculpture/Site
    12. Sculpture/Junk, Kinetic, Nano, Glass
    13. BioArt
    14. Robot, Second Life, Social Media Art
    15. Collage
    16. Industrial and Graphic Design
    17. Cinema
    18. Architecture
    19. Street Painting
  4. Appendix: A brief History of Videogames

Locations of these artworks (compiled in 2014 by Alessandro Zanette)
A Timeline of 20th and 21st Century Art
About the author | E-mail/ Contact | More art
Internships available on the history of contemporary interactive art. For example, this chapter needs to be split into several sections. First, we need to add short descriptions of each artwork. Then we need to classify the artworks based on the descriptions. Contact me if interested in this internship.