What Are Geometric Shapes in Art? - Definition, Names & List

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Colleen Cleveland

Colleen has taught college level Game Development and Graphic Design and has a Master's in Interactive Entertainment and Masters in Media Psychology.

The first thing to come to mind when thinking about geometry is math, but geometry is also very present in art. Discover the role geometric shapes play in art, including the various stylistic movements and the artists that use them. Updated: 10/11/2021

Definition of Geometric Shapes

Have you ever wondered how artists actually create art? Once they've chosen a subject matter, gathered their supplies, and picked up a paintbrush for the first time - what happens next? Sometimes starting with a simple square - or other geometric shape - is the answer.

Geometric shapes come from geometry, which is the math of shapes made of points and lines. Geometric shapes are shapes made out of points and lines including the triangle, square, and circle. Other shapes are so complex that it takes math in order to create them. These shapes are the opposite of organic shapes. While geometric shapes are more precise, organic shapes are natural. In this lesson, we will take a look at geometric shapes.

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Geometric Shapes in Art

Let's take a look at some movements and artists that use geometric shapes:


Bauhaus was a German school of art that came out of the arts & crafts movement. The arts & crafts movement was more about flowing lines and flowery lines. Bauhaus was in direct opposition to that - it used geometry. Some German architecture that used the Bauhaus geometries still stands today in the cities Bauhaus was founded in.

Wassily Kandinsky, one of the fathers of abstract modern art, painted geometric shapes to represent spirituality and emotions. It was during the Bauhaus period that he found geometrics playing more of a role in his work.


Cubism evolved around 1907-1914 in Spain and France. Pablo Picasso and Georges Brauque created surrealistic works using cube shapes. This means they took images that would be organic, meaning natural and flowing, and recreated them as if they were just planes and angles.


Futurism appeared around 1911. It was a derivative of the Cubist movement, but it is known for its representation and distinctive depictions of futurist society such as fast cars, machinery, and explosions of energy. These geometric shapes were more complex Cubism, but still has the same surreal style of representing images rather than painting as one would a still life.


Vorticism emerged out of Cubism in England between 1912 and 1915. Similar to Futurism, its use of sharp planes and abstraction places it into the geometric art category.

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