Fantasy has been an integral part of art since its beginnings, but has been particularly important in mannerism, magic realist painting, romantic art, symbolism, surrealism and lowbrow.
In French, the genre is called le fantastique, in English it is sometimes referred to as visionary art, grotesque art or mannerist art. It has had a deep and circular interaction with fantasy literature.
The subject matter of Fantastic Art may resemble the product of hallucinations, and Fantastic artists spend much of their life in creative situations. Salvador Dalí famously said: "the only difference between me and a madman is that I am not mad". Some recent Fantastic Art draws on the artist's experience, or purported experience, of hallucinogenic drugs.
The term Fantasy Art is closely related, and is applied primarily to recent art (typically 20th century onwards) inspired by, or illustrating, fantasy literature. The term has acquired some pejorative overtones.
Fantastic art has traditionally been largely confined to painting and illustration, but since the 1970s has increasingly been found also in photography. Fantastic art explores fantasy, imagination, the dream state, the grotesque, visions and the uncanny, as well as so-called "Goth" art.