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DSST Art of the Western World Study Guide

Updated: Feb 14

DSST Exam Outline

Are you gearing up to conquer the Art of the Western World DSST Exam?

Our comprehensive study guide has you covered and is designed to streamline your preparation process.

While this exam presents its challenges, armed with our study materials and this concise exam outline, you'll be well-equipped to tackle it head-on.


Table of Contents


1. Ancient World

Egyptian art museam.
Ancient World (14% - 16%)

Ancient Near East

The Archaic style exhibited a notable shift towards naturalism, heavily influenced by the Near East and Egyptian art.



Egyptian art conveyed a rich array of symbolism, depicting everything from the elaborate regalia of pharaohs to the symbolic representations of Egyptian deities.



Greek art underwent a transformation influenced by Oriental Motifs, leading to a distinct evolution in their artistic expression.



Portraiture became a focal point of Roman art, with a keen interest in creating lifelike statues, particularly of renowned individuals.


DSST Art of the Western World Trivia Question # 258


2. Artistic Movements of the Early Middle Ages

Soilders walking in a tunnel.
Middle Ages (11% - 13%)

Early Middle Ages

This era encompasses the period from the decline of the Roman Empire around 300 AD to the onset of the Renaissance in 1400 AD.


Romanesque and Gothic Art

These styles are collectively referred to as medieval art, representing the artistic expressions of the Middle Ages.


Gothic Art

The Gothic style emerged in the mid-12th century and derived its name from the Goths, who ruled over France during this period.


3. Renaissance: Artistic Trends in the 15th and 16th Centuries

A picture of the Mona Lisa from the Renaissance era.
Renaissance (14-16%)

15th Century Italy

Artists of this period began depicting the real world with increasing naturalism, drawing inspiration from classical antiquity as their primary models.


15th Century Northern Europe

Humanism exerted significant influence, providing the philosophical foundation for scientific, music, and art advancements.


16th Century Italy

Mythological themes and historical events took center stage in art, reflecting a fascination with narrative storytelling and classical motifs.


16th Century Northern Europe

Artistic focus shifted towards genres such as landscape painting, reflecting a broader exploration of everyday life and natural surroundings.


4. Artistic Themes Across Europe: Catholicism and Secularism

Catholic church.
Baroque (9% - 11%)

Italy, France & Spain

Artistic expression in these regions during this period often reaffirmed the Catholic faith's emotional depths while glorifying the power and influence of the church and monarchy.


Holland & Flanders

In contrast, the artistic style of Holland and Flanders was marked by a focus on secular genres, including still life, genre paintings depicting everyday scenes, and landscape painting.


5. Rococo and Neoclassicism: Artistic Trends from 1760 to 1850

Statue of Rococo Art.
Rococo and Neoclassicism (8% - 10%)


It emerged as a decorative art style characterized by its fanciful and light-hearted nature, often emphasizing ornate designs and playful motifs.



In contrast, Neoclassicism took a more severe and gallant approach, finding prominence in art and architecture and emphasizing classical forms and principles.


DSST Art of the Western World Trivia Question # 525


6. Romanticism and Realism

Realism painting of devil and woman.
Romanticism and Realism (7% - 9%)


It is rooted in portraying the actual and naturalistic depiction of subjects, often guided by scientific principles and laws.



The movement transcends the actual and seeks the Absolute and the Ideal, often exploring emotions, imagination, and the mystical.


7. Impressionism and Post-Impressionism

Painter painting portrait of woman.
Impressionism and Post-Impressionism (7% - 9%)

Late 19th Century Art in France

During the late 19th century in France, there was a notable preference among artists for depicting landscapes and scenes of contemporary life, shifting away from the traditional focus on historical, mythological, or classical narratives in earlier art periods.


DSST Art of the Western World Trivia Question # 644


8. Early Twentieth Century

Painter painting art on the wall.
Early Twentieth Century (11% โ€“ 13%)

Modern Art

This movement boldly rejected and challenged traditional artistic styles, embracing innovation, experimentation, and breaking conventional boundaries.


9. Postwar to Postmodern

Couple taking selfies with artist.
Postwar to Postmodern (5% - 7%)

Abstract Expressionism to Pop Art

During this period, there was a questioning of the underlying philosophy of modernism, leading to diverse artistic movements and approaches.


10. Contemporary

Classsical dancer on stage.
Contemporary (4% - 6%)

Contemporary Artย 

Often referred to as modern art, contemporary art encompasses artworks created during the present period, reflecting today's artists' diverse perspectives and practices.


11. Conclusion

Art supplies consisting of paint and brushes.

DSST Art of the Western World

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