from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The term 'style' - the manifestation or manner of execution

The expression style denotes a "characteristic form of appearance " (originally a language or a work of art) or the "uniform character of the artistic products of a time" (e.g. building, painting, Rembrandt, Gothic style). “Style”, often as a partial expression, is also used to denote the “manner of execution”, which is usually closely related to the appearance of a thing, e.g. B. the style with which a sport technique is performed (see swimming style ).

Originally the term referred to art : painters have a style of painting; Writers (e.g. authors, poets) a writing style, composers a composing style, musicians a music-making style, singers a singing style . Art styles are examined and classified by stylistics , a sub-area of ​​art history.

In a broader sense, 'style' also includes general phenomena, such as everyday culture , for example the way you dress (style of clothing), decorate yourself, wear your hair .

The Anglicism style has been used for decades - especially in the context of fashion and youth cultures - instead of the word "style", but with slightly different shades of meaning and - depending on the context - different connotations : "styled", "stylis (c) h".

'Style' has become part of some German words, e.g. B. Styling, Hairstylist .

Word origin

Style has been attested in German since the 15th century and goes back to Latin stilus (stem, writing implement, stylus ). The connection is as follows: One could see from a piece of writing how (initially with which stylus) someone had written something: Then the meaning of "technique to write" via "way of writing" ( handwriting ) was changed to the typical (literary) Handwriting of a master or a school ( manner ) transferred. The word may not have come into German directly from Latin, but rather through Italian stile , where it has been attested for much longer.

Style can initially be spoken with 'Sch' (as in the word city - especially in southern Germany) or with 'St' (with a sharp, voiceless s as in the word Weste - standard high German pronunciation). Many speakers use the St variant to distinguish the word from stem , with which it is actually related in terms of its origin.

“Style” is not to be seen as meaning the same as “ stylization ” ( abstraction ), which has retained the original context of the graphic as opposed to the formulated and painterly.


A style refers to an epoch or era of art history (epoch style), a region with a common cultural tradition or the artistic expressions of a specific cultural group (cultural style), the artistic creation of an ethnic group in its cultural identity (ethnic art) or a single personality an artist or a workshop (personal style). The unity of a personal style does not exclude diversity - diversity in unity - as in the case of the Spanish poet Francisco de Quevedo , who, with his own unmistakable literary characteristics, “can be dark and witty, coarse and profound, dry and visionary”.

The “characteristic expression” refers to similarity in terms of formal features (not to the equality of form as in standardization processes), which is ascribed to the majority of manifestations / activities of that epoch, region, person, etc. A style is formed through the - not always conscious, but always coherent - selection, evaluation and application of certain design features. On the basis of such style-forming features , styles can be identified in the visual arts , for example . In other words, a style is the canon of a formal language and a breach of style is the intentional or accidental violation of this canon.

In arts and crafts , the style describes the way in which a work of art is created (the type of process and the type of result), with features that are typical or characteristic of an artist, an epoch, a school, a living being (animal) or even just a work. The style can be independent of the function or content of the work; then he has become independent. In art, style is sometimes delimited by manner . In the case of composers and performing artists , one also speaks of a personal style .

In current art history, the pluralism of styles within an epoch or in the work of an artist is increasingly being investigated and related to historical, social and communicative contexts. Styles are analyzed not only as a formal classification, but also as a carrier of meaning. This corresponds to the historical role of styles as carriers of meaning in the context of the concept of appropriateness ( decorum ) , which can often be observed . The traditional concept of the uniform epoch style is also increasingly being questioned.

In language , “style” refers to those characteristics of an utterance or text that do not concern the meaning, but only the way in which that meaning is promised. The same meaning can be verbalized in different ways, i.e. with different styles. In this respect, there is an overlap with the term language level , which can essentially be divided into standard language , everyday language , red word or jargon and vulgar language . In rhetoric there are a number of rhetorical figures that can be used to achieve special linguistic effects. In journalism , the term “style” has been replaced by the term journalistic form of presentation .

The style is mainly from the genre determined is written in, for example, in 'tight' as a text message or a newspaper article (where you will scientifically or politically motivated), in the journalistic shorthand of a gloss or in the novel (see also language ). In fictional texts, the author has more stylistic freedom.

Especially in technical disciplines are details on the expected / required appearance of products / results mostly in special, often individually per company, per product or project related created regulations set. For example, the design of the user interface of a computer program is based on a “GUI style guide” or the formal structure of the source code of computer programs is based on “programming guidelines” or similar design guidelines .

Extended meanings

Outside of the visual arts , in general, one also speaks of styles, often of behavioral styles, depending on the observed behavior / results of an action, for example of living style , fashion style , thinking style , programming style , running or swimming style, etc. Styles can change; they are often time-bound and mostly differ greatly in terms of location, groups and individuals.

The tension between the terms “with style”, “ cultivated ”, “ mannered ”, “ civilized ” should also be mentioned:

  • Someone has a style , i.e. their (consumer) behavior is consistently based on a value concept they represent, which is usually based on traditional notions of quality
  • but someone has style if they can safely move within a canon of taste .

Style in music

“In musicology, the concept of style from Guido Adler's central setting until it was displaced by taste and preference research in the 1970s was negotiated with varying degrees of importance and clearly different intentions. While Adler's systematization of 'chaotic conditions' was intended to 'uncover the red thread of history in the tangle of artistic appearances', the approximation of the concept of style to fashion was about an extension of standards of perfect appropriateness to the Lifestyle - which long before Adler's treatise led to the temporalization of the concept of style. Dick Hebdige takes an anthropological- structuralist position for popular music in which he proposes two approaches: homology and practical assignment of meaning. Leonard B. Meyer dealt with the systematization of restrictions in the exercise of style. With the appropriation of stylistic devices , the anticipation of actions in favor of a virtual communal course of action is connected through a variation of object references. In the 1970s we can speak of an exponential multiplication of styles in popular music, thanks to the emergence of many small studios and record companies instead of a few large ones. "


  • Stephan Hoppe : Northern Gothic, Italian Renaissance and beyond. Toward a 'thick' description of style. In: Monique Chatenet (ed.): Le Gothique de la Renaissance. Actes des quatrième Rencontres d'architecture européenne. Paris, 12 - 16 June 2007. Paris 2011, pp. 47–64.
  • Jan von Brevern, Joseph Imorde (Ed.): Stil / Style. Critical Reports 42, 2014, Issue 1
  • Alexander Nagel, Christopher S. Wood: Anachronic Renaissance . New York 2010.
  • Stephan Hoppe, Norbert Nussbaum, Matthias Müller (eds.): Style as a meaning in the north Alpine renaissance. Rediscovery of a methodical neighborhood . Regensburg 2008.
  • Christopher S. Wood: Forgery, replica, fiction. Temporalities of German Renaissance art . Chicago 2008.
  • Bruno Klein, Bruno Boerner (ed.): Questions of style on the art of the Middle Ages . An introduction. Berlin 2006.
  • Wolfgang Brückle: Style (art history). In: Basic aesthetic terms. Historical dictionary in seven volumes. Volume 5, Stuttgart / Weimar 2003, pp. 665-688.
  • Klaus Jan Philipp: Single file of styles. Sketches for the history of architectural historiography . Stuttgart 1998.
  • Jan Białostocki: Style and Iconography. Studies in art history . Dresden 1966.
  • Ludwig Börne : Comments on language and style (1826). In: All Writings. Volume II, Düsseldorf 1964.
  • Dirk Budde: Style and Concept of Style in Popular Music . Giessen 1998.
  • Gerhard Dünnhaupt : The penetration of the marinist style of prose into the German novel prose with Werder's Dianea translation. In: Studi Germanici. nuova series XI.3, 1973, pp. 257-272.
  • Hans-Werner Eroms: style and stylistics. An introduction. Erich Schmidt Verlag, Berlin 2007.
  • HU Gumbrecht, KL Pfeiffer: Style. Stories and functions of a cultural-scientific discourse element. Frankfurt am Main 1986.
  • HU Gumbrecht: Dwindling stability of reality. A history of the concept of style. In: HU Gumbrecht, KL Pfeiffer: Style. Stories and functions of a cultural-scientific discourse element. Frankfurt am Main 1986, pp. 726-788.
  • Dick Hebdige: Subculture - The Meaning of Style. London 1979 (German in: Schocker. Stile und Moden der Subkultur. Reinbek 1983)
  • Veronika Pöhnl: The media dimension of the concept of style in art and science theory. In: MEDIENwissenschaft. H. 2, 2015, pp. 164–181, (full text)
  • Julian Blunk: On the transfer of art-historical stylistic concepts into film studies. In: Julian Blunk, Tina Kaiser, Dietmar Kammerer, Chris Wahl (eds.): Filmstil. Perspectives of a concept . edition text + kritik, Munich 2016, pp. 21–39,

Web links

Wikiquote: Style  - Quotes
Wiktionary: style  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. a b Der Kleine Wahrig (dictionary), ISBN 3-577-10649-2 .
  2. Duden dictionary of origin. ISBN 3-411-20907-0 .
  3. Andreas Dorschel : Rule in yourself. In: Süddeutsche Zeitung . No. 32, February 9, 2004, p. 14.
  4. Stephan Hoppe, Norbert Nussbaum, Matthias Müller (eds.): Style as a meaning in the north Alpine renaissance. Rediscovery of a methodical neighborhood. Regensburg 2008. Therein on the topic especially (with further references): Stephan Hoppe: Style as thin or density description. A constructivist perspective on art-related style observations taking into account the dimension of meaning. Pp. 48-103.
  5. G. Adler: The style in music. Principles and types of musical style. (1911). Leipzig 1929, p. 3.
  6. ^ W. Sanders: Linguistic Style Theory. Göttingen 1973, p. 116.
  7. ^ D. Hebdige: Subculture - The Meaning of Style. London 1979. (German in: Schocker. Stile und Moden der Subkultur. Reinbek 1983).
  8. ^ LB Meyer: Style and Music. Theory, History and Ideology. Chicago 1989.
  9. Dirk Budde: Style and Concept of Style in Popular Music . Giessen 1998.