Painting

June 9, 2007 – 4:28 pm

PAINTINGPainting, which is literally the act of applying color to a surface, whether it be wood, canvas, cloth, paper, clay, stone or any kind of medium, is perhaps one of the most sophisticated means that man has created as a form of self-expression as influenced by the world around him.  To describe the history of painting is to describe the way man has seen and continues to see the world around him, and how it has changed over hundreds of years.  Man paints to express himself, his world and his ideas and interests.The oldest known paintings ever uncovered by archeologists were found in Grotte Chavres, a series of caves, in France.  Said to be around 32,000 years old, these paintings were made of black pigment and red ochre and depict figures of animals generally hunted by prehistoric men for food.  Many archeologists theorized that other than as a means of adorning their cave dwelling, the prehistoric men who did these cave paintings probably believed that capturing figures of animals on their walls also captures these animals’ souls, making them easier to hunt.

When man began to form civilizations and discovered or innovated ways to make his life easier, his paintings eventually gained more sophistication and depicted scenes from his daily life or illustrated the figures that form their religious pantheon.  Egyptians painted murals that are flat, symbolic and stylized.  The Chinese captured court scenes, domestic scenes, mythological creatures and landscapes on cloth and paper using calligraphic strokes that were simple and elegant yet stark, stylized and seemingly unreal.  The Greeks and the Romans did the same, but unlike the Chinese, they were more liberal in their use of colors.

When the Roman Empire fell and Christianity came to rise during the Middle Ages, paintings took on a heavily religious note.  This is most felt in the lands ruled by the Byzantine Empire, the eastern remnant of the Roman Empire.  In Byzantium, huge emphasis was made on iconography, the depiction of religious figures in art.  Most common themes of Byzantine paintings are those of the Blessed Mary holding the Child Jesus in her arms, the Crucifixion and Ascension scenes and portraits of saints.
PAINTING PAINTING Painting

In the western part of Europe in the Middle Ages, religion is also heavily depicted in paintings.  However, the medieval age also saw the rise of the abstracted Celtic and insular art as well as the Romanesque and Gothic art in Western Europe.  Gothic paintings, in particular, are somber, dark and highly emotional.

In the Muslim world, paintings were also generally abstracted, as lifelike depictions of humans, animals and other living figures were forbidden by the Qu’ran to discourage idolatry.  Islamic paintings were often companions to the written word but nonetheless bore a richness in itself.

At the close of the medieval age, Europe opened itself to the spread of knowledge from the outside world.  This greatly influenced the techniques used in painting.  The Renaissance Age is often thought by art experts to be the golden age of painting, and it is during this period that painters began to experiment with depth, perspective and proportion.  This is the age when the masters such as Leonardo Da Vinci, Raphael, Michelangelo Buonarroti, Sandro Botticelli and Giovanni Bellini lived and worked on their art.  The paintings of this age were more accurate, realistic and refined.

Following the Renaissance Age is the Baroque Age, when paintings took to depicting realistic figures presented in a dramatic fashion, spotlighted on a dark background.  Still life paintings, paintings with historic themes, landscapes and genre scenes were highlights of the Baroque Age.  The Baroque Age took a somewhat lighter turn to what is now known as Rococo.  Rococo paintings are generally frivolous and depict erotic scenes.

Painters embraced a pantheist philosophy in their art at the passing of the Baroque and Rococo Age, and this age is known as the Romantic.  Painters of the Romantic Age gave emphasis on the supposed supremacy of the natural order over the will of man, resulting in tragic or pessimistic themes in artwork.

In the 19th century, a new movement swept the world of painting with its visible brushstrokes on the painting, its seemingly ordinary and everyday subjects, its remarkable visual angles and the way it depicts the changing of light and the seeming passage of time.  This movement is called Impressionism, named after Claude Monet’s work entitled Impression, Sunrise.

Modern day art continues to stretch the perceived limits and to offer different views of the world.  The vivid expressiveness of modern art is depicted in the paintings of Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse, of Vincent Van Gogh and Paul Cezanne.  And then we have such art movements in the 20th and 21st centuries that go by such names as Dadaism, Social Realism, Surrealism and Symbolism, among many, many others.

The art of painting is an art conceived by man to express himself and the way he sees his world.  The world is continually changing and so are the ways man perceives these changes.

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  1. 4 Responses to “Painting”

  2. I Have never ever found This simplicity,Beauty,Reality in any painting in my Life. I am also A Painter.

    By Alisha Sharma on Jun 30, 2008

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    By gwen on Aug 3, 2009

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    By gwen on Aug 3, 2009

  5. im a budding artist

    By gwen on Aug 3, 2009

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