In the early 19th Century, Neoclassicism dominated for some years. It was very important in architecture, but also in sculpture and painting. This movement was inspired by Antiquity, and the aim was to represent the "absolute beauty". Artists such as David, Ingres or even Gros left their mark on their time thanks to Neoclassicism.
Then the 19th Century saw quickly the appearance of Romanticism in reaction to Neoclassicism. Artists rejected the Greco-Roman antiquity, in favor of the individual and their personality, their sensitivity and their imagination. This artistic movement also advocated the representation of Nature and landscape, as shown by Delacroix, Friedrich and Turner.
Realism appeared in the mid 19th Century in response to the two previous art movements. It spread rapidly throughout Europe: it aimed to reproduce the daily life and social realities of the time. Artists like Corot, Courbet and Millet did not hesitate anymore to show the poverty and the suffering, which were a reflection of the society of the 19th Century.
Finally, it is not possible to talk about the art movements of the 19th Century without mentioning Impressionism: this movement is one of the most known around the world, and includes some of the greatest painters such as Monet, Renoir, Degas or even Cézanne and Van Gogh. They were more looking for the expression of light and the representation of the perception than the reproduction of Nature.
The advent of photography had a big impact on painting: despite a relatively long exposure time, photography revolutionized Art. It was now possible to represent each event of life, and that is why we find many portraits and stagings during the 19th Century. Realists had the opportunity to freeze the moment, helping them reproduce this into painting.