Generic, non-specific terms covering art that in various degrees departs
drastically from the natural appearance of things. At its extreme, abstract art makes no reference whatsoever to nature, an aspect sometimes called ‘non-figurative’ or ‘non-objective’.
An art form in which the essence of a subject is stated in a brief or simplified manner, with the emphasis on design and little or no attempt to represent form or subject-matter realistically.
A term that, in its broadest sense, can be applied to any art that does not represent recognizable objects, (much decorative art, for example), but which is most commonly applied to those forms of 20th century art in which the traditional European conception of Art as the imitation of Nature, is abandoned.
Kandinsky is usually credited with having made the first entirely non- representational picture around 1910, and since then modern Abstract art has developed into many different movements and ‘isms’. However, two basic tendencies are recognizable within it;
a) The reduction of natural appearances to radically
simplified forms, exemplified in the work of Brancusi,
b) The construction of art objects from non-representational basic forms as in Ben Nicholson’s reliefs.