Arguments can be made to add earlier art movements, and we do touch upon the ancient and modern styles, but these are the 13 movements I require my students to know. There is some "fudging" so for example, we consider "The Scream" an expressionistic work because of it's heightened emotional value, so too is Fauvism put under the same umbrella, and we lump Post-impressionism into Impressionism because it helps kids recognize the key features of bold brushwork, working from observation, and a hidden "Z" pattern within the paintings. My feeling is that after an introduction, later classes, like Art 2, 3, 4, or AP can partition movements a bit more precisely. I lose no sleep if a first year art student calls van Gogh an Impressionist; actually I rejoice!
My final exam is one where students see 60 works of art, some they have seen before, some that are new, and they must use the visual clues to surmise the correct school of art. We play games, groups battle groups in a game-show-style contest to guess the art movement. They begin with a one page outline, and gradually move to no resource at all. Most do very well, but it has always been a challenge.
I had an epiphany one day and made this flow chart. It's hardly complete, and only gives a bit of direction, but students found it very helpful. It won't work for pre-renaissance movements, and some off shoots like Northern-Renaissance, or Grant Wood's Regionalism, Grandma Moses folk works, or Whistler's Aesthetic Movement, but it does do an awful lot that is helpful. Kids spot how American Gothic is connected to the Neoclassical Movement with it's rigid composition, and morality message though with a more modern twist. How Whistler is connected to the Realist movement in his approach, and Moses too though in a "Country Craft" sort of way.
I like how they argue within their groups citing visual evidence for their choices, pointing to brush work, the absence or presence of roman togas, the hues of the background. They are making astute visual observations, sharing them, and learning. It's the STEAM approach in full gear, a marriage of art and history.
They love the little stories I tell about the work bringing it into context; how the Rococo artists were hated by the Neoclassical artists and it paralleled both the American and French Revolutions. How Cubism and Expressionism included shattered and distorted images, while European society and bodies of it's soldiers were shattered and distorted through World War One. How World War two saw the emergence of the atomic bomb that did not shatter bodies, but vaporized them--while the Abstract Expressionists, at the same time, like Pollock and Rothko, vaporized all subject matter! That the Baby Boom led to massive consumerism, so no wonder Pop Art blossomed.
Though my list is incomplete, it becomes a good jumping off point.
CLICK HERE for a printable version of the flowchart.
Poster Version HERE. (13 Major Movements of art)
Advanced flowchart poster HERE. Byzantine through Op Art, and many more. Better for advanced classes and college. (24 major movements)