International photobank Depositphotos has published a forecast of visual trends for the next year. We were interested in this review primarily because it illustrates an important and already undisputed truth: painting, architecture, curatorial projects, design, popular culture, ideas of video bloggers and retailers, and even more so installations and computer games in the XXI century create a common visual culture, a common set of themes, ideas, styles.

The project “Visual Trends – 2020: the future is near” sets the vector of movement and development primarily for photographers, designers, visual communications specialists. And even if you are not connected to any of these professions, you will be interested to know what visual content will accompany you next year in social networks, in commercials, on-street boards, in museums. Everywhere, in a word. And what do Mona Lisa, Kandinsky, and architectural brutalism have to do with it?

Visual Art Trends in 2020
The program “Mona Lisa. On the other side of the glass”, which uses virtual reality, the Louvre launched at the same time with the anniversary exhibition of Leonardo da Vinci. Photo:

Augmented Reality

This trend in Depositphotos’ review takes the first place, not for nothing. Virtual reality the further it goes, the more it will affect all spheres of human life: recreation, work, entertainment. And if you follow the news of the world’s best art museums and the most anticipated exhibitions, then, of course, you know that the augmented (or “augmented”) reality for curators becomes one of the most powerful tools for organizing an important museum event.

The Louvre used the latest technology to allow visitors to see a 3D model of the Mona Lisa. Specialists studied the perspective, landscape behind Mona Lisa’s back, textures and folds on her clothes to recreate a three-dimensional model of the heroine herself and the space around her. In a specially equipped room of the Louvre, you can spend 7 minutes alone with Gioconda.

For the retrospective of Amedeo Modigliani in London’s Tate Gallery in 3D was recreated Paris artist’s studio, where an unquenchable cigarette smokes, wind plays with sheets of paper, the cloth falls from a recently finished canvas, sunlight plays on the floor.

Visual Art Trends in 2020

Studio Modigliani recreated in virtual reality for an exhibition in the Tate Modern Gallery. Photo:, two years ago, the first full virtual museum opened. In the personal collection of Dutchman George Kremer – 70 paintings by Flemish and Dutch artists of the XVII century. At first, he was going to build a museum and make the collection available to the public but then decided that even more people around the world will be able to enjoy the paintings if you have to pay only $ 10 and wear VR-glasses. For the virtual Kremer Museum was created a special architectural project, installed the optimal lighting. Paintings can be viewed very closely, look at the backside of the canvas and listen to the tour, which leads Kremer himself.

In short, the world’s best museums not only use the latest technology in curatorial projects. They are the generators and promoters of ideas that will come to the fore in visual communications next year. The most optimistic prophets from the IT world predict an ideal future, in which each museum will have its own virtual space – as an alternative to a live museum. And in a couple of years, we’ll be able to walk through the virtual museum of Orsay or MET in the evenings, spin the light if it’s bright, and drink tea in our kitchen between halls.

Visual Art Trends in 2020
“Portrait of Edmond de Belami”, a work created by artificial intelligence, sold at Christie’s auction for 432.5 thousand dollars.

Dangers of technological progress

Admit it, you got a little scared from a previous prophecy. That’s right. This is exactly the next visual trend: the availability of technology and the dangers it entails. Technology is changing a lot: the way we watch exhibitions, the way artists and individual works become known and sold, and finally, the way art is created. And although, for example, the first experience of selling at Christie’s auction a work created by artificial intelligence was unexpectedly successful (the painting was planned to be sold for 10 thousand dollars, and sold for more than 432 thousand), programmed masterpieces still somehow have not captured the art market. So it’s too early to sound the alarm.

The confrontation and dialogue between the artist and technology – the story is not new. At each new turn of development, it is repeated. Perhaps that is why the futuristic visual trends in the list for 2020 are followed by several reflections on the artistic experience of the past.

Visual Art Trends in 2020
László Moholy-Nagy, “A 19,” 1927

Bauhaus: back to the future

The interest in Bauhaus aesthetics in the outgoing year of 2019 was certainly heated by the grand celebration of the school’s centennial. Throughout the year, art exhibitions were held on both sides of the ocean, Oscar Schlemmer’s theatrical productions were revived, films were screened in cinemas, books by the Bauhaus chief theorists were published by a landmark date and iconic buildings were restored, even food stylists put food on plates, inspired by Kandinsky and Gropius. The Bauhaus’ passion for geometry, minimalism, basic colors, and innovative typography proved to be unexpectedly relevant and convincing in design.

The Bauhaus turned out to be the necessary step backward for adjusting the visual compasses of modernity: exactly one hundred years ago Walter Gropius, the founder of the Higher School of Construction and Artistic Design, laid the foundation for modern design; exactly one hundred years ago the building of the school itself, the teachers’ houses and the Haus am Horn exhibition house changed the concept of architecture. The Bauhaus was the first art school in Germany to admit more girls than boys in its first year. For the first time, it was within the walls of this school that students not only developed designs and projects but also made dishes, lighting systems and textiles themselves in their workshops.

Visual Art Trends in 2020
Marianne Brandt. Tea set, 1924.
Вальтер Гропиус. Здание Баухауза
Bauhaus Building, Dessau. Walter Gropius1926.
Василий Кандинский. Композиция VIII
Wassily Kandinsky’s Composition VIII1923, oil on canvas, 140 x 201 cm
Оскар Шлеммер. Фигуры в комнате
Five Figures in a Room – Oskar Schlemmer – Painting, 1925-23,62″ x 35,43″ inch
Пауль Клее. Огонь в вечернее время
Fire in the EveningPaul Klee. Painting, 192933×33 cm.
Visual Art Trends in 2020
Visual Art Trends in 2020
Visual Art Trends in 2020
The director’s office of the Bauhaus, which was furnished by Gropius in 1923–1924
Visual Art Trends in 2020
Gunta StölzlRedGreen Slit Tapestry1927-1928.

The experience of the Bauhaus in 2020 will be useful not only as a visual inspiration and a source of precise minimalist solutions but also as an example of the most daring and radical synthesis of the latest technology and art in art history.

But the strict perfection and conciseness of the Bauhaus in the coming year will not be the only way to solve today’s visual challenges through a journey into the past.

Visual Art Trends in 2020
Le Corbusier’s Monastery of Sainte-Marie de la Tourette, 1960.


Brutalism: a challenge to boring perfection

Brutalism is one of the most controversial styles in architecture, an interest in which has suddenly increased in recent years. Above all, thanks to the cinema and Instagram. Do you remember the impressive play of light and shadow on the rough gray surface of the city’s multi-story buildings, which suddenly hit the lenses of professional photographers and bloggers? And the mighty, pressing concrete setting- “Blade Runner 2049”? Cameraman Roger Dickins, who won an Oscar for his work on this film, said in an interview that Denis Vilnev when setting the task of the film crew said: “…I want a sense of brutalism, the hard concrete architecture that originated in the 1950s.”

Brutalism has an ambiguous reputation: on the one hand, it is stuck in the dominance of faceless typical high-rise buildings, and even the heyday of crime, which such dreary concrete blocks provoked, on the other hand – in the postwar period, it is concrete high-rise solved the problem of affordable housing. Perhaps not a single direction in architecture has been so seriously tested: such mass replication, simplification, depreciation.

The term “brutalism” was coined by British architects Alison and Peter Smithson’s, but it comes from the technique of “béton brut” (raw concrete), which was used by the prophet of brutalism architect Le Corbusier. And his plans, of course, was not to provide armed gangs and drug dealers in London, Marseille or Paris with inspiring scenery. Le Corbusier came up with the idea of building houses on concrete supports, freeing the walls of the bearing function, and thus diversify the layout, he invented external concrete blinds, which saved from the scorching heat, and on the roofs of houses stood treadmills, stages, and terraces. Le Corbusier planted parks on the rooftops of the houses so that people in the big cities could finally begin to breathe. He lived in one of these apartments for 30 years.

Ле Корбюзье. Капелла Нотр-Дам-дю-О
Le CorbusierChapelle Notre Dame du Haut
Visual Art Trends in 2020
Le Corbusier. Marseille block, 1952.
Ле Корбюзье. Город Чандигарх
Chandigarh City
Le Corbusier
Visual Art Trends in 2020
William Pereira. Geisel Library, 1970.

But brutalism isn’t just residential high-rises. In the second half of the twentieth century, state institutions, universities, and museums were built from raw concrete. Concrete proved to be such a universal, silent, harsh, expressive material that it became the only possible language of sculpture to talk about the hard events of the past. In Berlin, the Holocaust Memorial is a field of 2,700 concrete slabs and a feeling of piling up endless human pain.

All of these meanings are automatically read out when, for example, a director takes an anti-utopia shot in a similar setting. But even without them, brutalism challenges dull beauty and faceless perfection.
The next five visual trends of 2020 are not directly related to the artistic and architectural currents of the past. No more revolutions and contradictions, no more social context and threats. Rather, they are tips about colors and compositions that will help to attract the attention of the viewer. And if, for example, you have planned for next year just to become famous at Instagram, you can look for sharp planes of light and shadow on the walls of the nearest brutal multi-story, fold compositions of seasonal fruits in the style of the Bauhaus or choose one of the following tips. And we’ll help with pictorial inspiration.

Pastel shades

Neon cyberpunk is now at its peak (one of the futuristic trends), so use pastel colors to conquer the world in all shades of beige, white, pink or mint. As Whistler’s tonalist has done since his time, for example.

Джеймс Эббот Макнейл Уистлер. Розово-серый ноктюрн. Портрет леди Мё
James Abbott McNeill Whistler: Harmony in Pink and Grey: Portrait of Lady Meux.1881, 193×93.2 cm
Джеймс Эббот Макнейл Уистлер. Три фигуры: серый и розовый
James Abbott McNeill Whistler. Three FiguresPink and Grey1868-78.
Джеймс Эббот Макнейл Уистлер. Шаги
Steps. James Abbott McNeill Whistler. 1880, 19.4×29.9 cm
Джеймс Эббот Макнейл Уистлер. Зеленый и золото: Танцовщица
Green and gold: Dancer James Abbott McNeill Whistler. XIX century, 27.6×18.4 cm
Джеймс Эббот Макнейл Уистлер. Симфония телесного и розового. Портрет Фрэнсис Лэйланд
The symphony of the body and pink. Portrait of Francis Leyland. James Abbott McNeill Whistler. 1874, 195.9×102.2 cm
Джеймс Эббот Макнейл Уистлер. Гавань Вальпараисо
Valparaiso harbor James Abbott McNeill Whistler. 1866, 76.6×51.1 cm

Deformation and optical illusions

Have you realized that perfection bored everyone yet? Attracting the viewer’s attention with the perfect picture is more and more difficult – there are too many of them. That’s why distorted, deformed figures, optical illusions, uneven fonts – all this will make a person linger in the image and unravel it. Francis Bacon, Pablo Picasso, Mauritz Cornelis Escher, and Victor Vazarelli knew it for sure.


Ричард Анушкевич. Величие
Richard Anushkevich
1970, 65.9×50.2 cm
Виктор Вазарели. Зеленая и оранжевая композиция
Victor Vasarely. Green and Orange Composition, 1980 85.1×76.2 cm
Пабло Пикассо. Арлекин со скрипкой
Harlequin with the violinPablo Picasso. Painting, 1918171×132 cm
Мауриц Корнелис Эшер. День и ночь
Day and night Maurits Cornelis Escher 1938, 39.1×67.7 cm
Фрэнсис Бэкон. Три этюда Изабель
Francis Bacon. Three Studies of Isabel Rawsthorne. 1966, 35.5×91.5 cm
Фрэнсис Бэкон. Три этюда к фигурам у подножия распятия
Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion. Francis Bacon 1944, 94×222 cm

Natural forms and the law of gravity

It is said that with modern technology, natural movements, hypnotic processes, previously accessible only to a scientist on the other side of the microscope, mesmerizing reactions began to be realistically recreated. Designers and artists look at living forms and, using a set of modern techniques, overcome the laws of nature. Scientist Ernst Gekkel all his life looked through a microscope on jellyfish and plankton, discovered unknown species (on his account 120 previously unknown creatures) and drew bizarre and beautiful living forms. If you are behind the natural forms, it is still best to look for them in Heckel’s books.

Эрнст Генрих Геккель. Сифонофоры. «Красота форм в природе»

Siphonophores. “The beauty of form in nature“. Ernst Heinrich Haeckel. Graphics, 190432×24.5 cm.
Эрнст Генрих Геккель. Актинии. «Красота форм в природе»
Actinia. “The beauty of form in nature“. Ernst Heinrich Haeckel. Graphics, 190432×24.5 cm
Эрнст Генрих Геккель. Десятиногие ракообразные (Декаподы). «Красота форм в природе»
Mshanki “The beauty of form in nature“. Ernst Heinrich Haeckel. Graphics, 190432×24.5 cm
Эрнст Генрих Геккель. Паукообразные (Арахниды). «Красота форм в природе»
Spiders (Arachnida). The beauty of forms in nature. Ernst Heinrich Heckel 1904, 32×24.5 cm
Эрнст Генрих Геккель. Раковины. «Красота форм в природе»
The shells. “The beauty of forms in nature.”
Ernst Heinrich Heckel
1904, 32×24.5 cm
Эрнст Генрих Геккель. Антомедузы, тубулярии. «Красота форм в природе»
Anthomedusas, tubulars. The beauty of forms in nature. Ernst Heinrich Heckel 1904, 32×24.5 cm
Эрнст Генрих Геккель. Сифонофоры. «Красота форм в природе»
Siphonophores. “The beauty of form in nature“. Ernst Heinrich Haeckel. Graphics, 190432×24.5 cm
Эрнст Генрих Геккель. Актинии. «Красота форм в природе»
Actinia. “The beauty of form in nature“. Ernst Heinrich Haeckel. Graphics, 190432×24.5 cm


Vertical format

It’s simple. People are moving from computers to phones and tablets, so the vertical images are perceived better. The device dictates the picture format. Artists and designers will have to deal with the compositional requirements of the vertical image, and in painting, as always, you can find examples when the cardinally vertical canvas is not just better suited for the conceived picture and asked the topic, challenged, determined the form.

Клод Моне. Георгины
Vase of dahliasClaude Monet. Painting, 1883128.5×37 cm
Эгон Шиле. Маленький каштан на Боденском озере
Little Tree (Chestnut Tree at Lake Constance)’ was created in 1912 by Egon Schiele
Утагава Хиросигэ. Пара японских белоглазок и дикая хризантема. Серия "Птицы и цветы"
Series “Birds and Flowers“. Utagawa Hiroshige. Print, 184234.2×11.5 cmUtagawa Hiroshige.
Жорж Брак. Скрипка и палитра
Violin and Palette‘ was created in 1909 by Georges Braque
Жан Эдуар Вюйар. Мадам Хессель с газетой у камина
Madame Hessel with a newspaper by the fireplaceJean Edouard Vuillard. Painting, 1917103×55 cm
Данте Габриэль Россетти. Мнемозина
 Mnemosyne Dante Gabriel Rossetti. 1881, 126.4×61 cm

Close-up details

The minimalism and conciseness of Bauhaus aesthetics did not come to the fore this year by chance. Oversaturation and redundancy of images often take away from the main thing, do not allow to consider the details. In a world of total information fatigue, images with a single accent become noticeable – look for them in late still lifes of impressionists, for example. Brilliantly mastering the technique, the elderly and sick Edouard Manet or Auguste Renoir put before them an onion or a bundle of asparagus – and wrote only this. That’s all they needed.
Пьер Огюст Ренуар. Груши
Pears Pierre-Auguste Renoir 1915, 16×22 cm
Эдуар Мане. Пучок спаржи
Edouard Manet Bunch of Asparagus, 1880, 46×55 cm
Эдуар Мане. Лимон
Edouard Manet
1880, 14×22 cm
Пьер Огюст Ренуар. Цветная капуста и гранаты
PierreAuguste RenoirCauliflower and pomegranates
Пьер Огюст Ренуар. Луковицы
Onions Pierre-Auguste Renoir 1881, 39.1×60.6 cm
Пьер Огюст Ренуар. Натюрморт с инжиром
Still life with figsPierreAuguste Renoir. Painting, XX century21×31 cm


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