Реферат: Painting in our life
Painting in our Life.
Painting is one of the oldest and most important arts. Since prehistoric times,
artists have arranged paints on surfaces in way
that express their idea about people and the world.
The paintings that artists create have great value for humanity. They provide
people with both enjoyment and information.
People enjoy painting for many reasons. They may
think a painting in beautiful. People may like the
colors that the painter used or the way the artist arrang
ed the paint on the surface. Some paintings interest people because of the
way the artist expresses some human emotion, such as fear, grief, happiness, or
love. Other paintings are enjoyable because they skillfully portray nature.
Even paintings of such everyday scenes as people at work and play and of such
common objects as food and flowers can be a source
Paintings also teach. Some reveal what the artist felt about important subjec
t, including death, love, religion
, and social justice. Other paintings tell
about the history of the period during which they were created. They provide
information about the custom, goals, and interests of the people of past
societies. Painting also tell about such things as the building, clothing, and
tools of the past. Much of our knowledge about pre
historic and ancient times comes from painting and other arts, because many
early societies left few or no written records. It would be hard to find a
subject that no one has ever tried to paint. Artists paint the things they see
around them-people, animals, nature, and nonliving
objects. They also paint dreamlike scenes that exist only in the imagination.
An artist can reach back into the past and paint a historical event, a
religious story, or a myth. Some artists paint pictures that show no clear
subject matter at all. Instead, they arrange the paint in some abstract way
that expresses feeling or ideas that are important to them.
Since prehistoric times, many artists have painted the subjects that were most
important to their societies. For example, religion
was particularly important in Europe during the Middle Ages, and most of the
paintings created then were religious. A prehistoric artist painted, the animal
on a cave wall in France, about 15000 B.
C. The artist lived at a time when animals served as the main source of food
and clothing for human beings. The American artist Robert
Bechtle painted the picture of a man and his automobile, called 60
F-Bird. The automobile is the most important means of
transportation in modern American life. People
have always been a favorite subject of painters. Artists have shown people
intheir paintings in many different ways. All great paintings, regardless of
subject matters, share a common feature. They do more than just reproduce with
paint something that exists, existed, or can be imagined. They also expresses
the painter's special view about a subject. Many artists turn to nature for
their subject matter. They paint scenes called landscapes and seascapes that
they try to capture the many moods of nature. Still-life are picture of
objects. Still-life painters usually make no attempt to tell a story or express
an idea. Instead, they are interested in the object themselves — their color,
shape, surface, and the space within or around them. Artists often find their
subject matter in the past. They paint pictures that record real events or
myths of long ago. Many such paintings are instead to recall past deeds of
glory or to teach a lesson. Many artists have used paintings to express
political and social beliefs and to protest such things as war and poverty.
Movements of social expression have appeared in painting throughout history.
The way that painters arrange colors, forms, or lines is called composition.
Some painters use no recognizable subject matter. Instead, they stress
composition for its own sake. Piet Mondrian's "Lozenge Composition in a
Square" is an example.
Composition is also important in paintings that have recognizable subject
matter. Fintoiettos "Saint Mark Rescuing a Slave" is as important for its
composition as for the story it tells. Fintoretto place each figure perfectly
to direct attention toward the floating figure of Saint Mark pointing to the
slave on the ground. Viewers can enjoy the skillful composition even if they
do not understand the story.
Many paintings have been created to decorate rooms or buildings. The subject
matter of most of these paintings is less important than the painting's place
within the total scheme of decoration. For example, the Kaiseraal, a room in a
place in Wiirzbourg, Germany, has a number of outstanding paintings by
Giovanni Battista Piepolo. But these paintings are no more important than th
e windows, columns, or imitation draperies in the room. Many artists and
craftworkers created these objects, and each object became a part of the room's
overall decoration. Paintings consist of many artistic elements. The most
important elements include (1) color, (2) line, (3) mass, (4) space, and (5)
texture. These artistic elements are as important to a painter as words are to
an author. By stressing certain elements, a painter can make a picture easier
to understand or bring out some particular mood or theme. For example , an
artist can combine to produce an intensely emotional feeling. The same artistic
elements can also be combined in a different way in order to produce a
feeling of peace and relaxation.Color can help an artist tell a story,
express an emotion, or- as in Picasso's “Mandolin and Guitar” —created a
composition, Picasso did not color all his forms as they would appear in real
life. Instead, he used strong primary colors — such as blue, red, and yellow —
in the parts of balanced these colors with delicate black, brown, gray, tan,
and white colors. The result is pleasing composition created largely by the
painter's skillful arrangement of colors.
Line is the chief means by which most artists build up the forms in their
pictures. By combining lines of different lengths and different directions, an
artist makes the drawing a painting. In " Two Acrobats With Dog", Picasso used
lines to show the edges of his figures. Some lines are thick and some are thin.
The artist emphasized line to make the viewer aware of the roundness of the
forms and the and the delicacy of the slender figures of the young boys and the
figure of the dog.
Mass allows an artist to express the feeling of weight in a painting.
Picasso created "Mother and Child"' largely in terms of mass. The bulky, solid
appearance of figures in the painting impresses the viewer. The artist made the
figure look as if they are made of stone or some other heavy materials. By
stressing mass, Picasso made the figures seem like monuments that will last a
Space. By arranging lines, colors, and light and dark areas in certain
ways, painters can create an appearance of great space-even though they really
paint on a small, flat surface. An artist can make an object look flat or
solid, and either close or far away. In some paintings, space plays just as
important a part as the solid forms. Picasso's “Seated Bather” shows a skillful
use of space. The openings between the bonelike forms are just as expensive and
interesting as the solid forms in the painting.
Texture refers to the appearance of the painting's surface. The paint of
a picture maybe thick and rough or thin and smooth. In “Woman Weeping”, Picasso
created a rough texture by using thick strokes of paint. This texture adds to
the painful emotional feeling of the painting.
If to speak about techniques, we should start with fresco painting. Fresco
painting is a technique in which the artists paints on a plastered wall while
the plaster is still damp. Fresco artists decorate both inside and outside
walls. Their works contribute greatly to the beauty of buildings and homes.
Fresco painting is especially well suited to decorating large walls in
churches, government buildings, and palaces. A fresco, unlike many other
painting techniques, has no glossy shining. A shine would make a fresco
difficult to see from certain angels. Fresco painting reached its greatest
popularity from the 1200"s through the 1500's. Italy was the center of fresco
painting during that period.
Leading fresco painters included Giotto , Andrea Mantegna, Masaccio, and
Michelangelo. During the 1900's, Mexican artists revised fresco painting.
They included Jose Clemente Orozco and Diego Rivera . Mexican artists
decorated many public buildings with large frescoes that show scenes from
Water color painting can be done in two major techniques, (1) transparent
water color and (2) gouache. Transparent water color are paints made of
pigments combined with a gum-Arabic binder. An artist using this technique
lightens the color by adding water to them. In most other techniques, the
artist adds white paint to lighten colors. The viewer can see the support
through a layer of transparent water color. Gouache paint is also made with a
gum arable binder. But during the manufacturing process, a little white pigment
or chalk is added to make the paint opaque. Opaque means that the viewer cannot
see through a layer of the color. An artist using the gouache technique makes
the color lighter by adding white paint to them. Must styles of modern
transparent and gouache water color painting grew out of techniques developed
in England, France, and the Netherlands during the 1700's and 1800's. But water
color paints had been used to decorate walls and ornamental objects in ancient
Egypt and Asia, and in Europe during the Middle Ages.
Encaustic painting involves the use of melted wax as the binder. Pure
beeswax is the best kind of wax for this purpose. Encaustic painting was widely
used in Greece as early as the 400's B. C. But by about A. D. 800, the
technique had been abandoned. During the 1800's, artists attempted to use wax
paints for outdoor murals. Some painters of the 1900's have used the technique
for easel picture.
Pastels are colored chalk sticks. They are made of pigment and a small
amount of weak adhesive. Many artists who draw especially well like to
work in pastel because they can use the stick like a pencil while producing
brilliant effects of color.
Two French artists of the 1700's Jean Chardin and Maurice Quentin de La Tour,
made excellent pastel portraits. Outstanding French artists of the 1800's,
including Edouard Manet, Jean Francais Millet, and
Pierre Auguste Renoir, often worked in pastel.
They captured the visual effects of light and atmosphere in pure pastel colors.
Edgar Degas, another French artist of bather,
dancers, and people working . Degas's well drawn,
brilliantly colored works proved that pastel could be a major painting
Tempera is a technique in which egg yolk is used as the binder. Most egg
tempera paintings are done on wood.
A painter usually applies tempera in fine crisp strokes with a painted brush.
The paint dries almost immediately into a thin, water-resistant coasting.
Tempera dries quickly, and so the brushstrokes do not blend easily. Normally,
the artist develops the tones of the picture through a series of thin strokes
laid over each other. In a tempera painting, most shapes are sharp and clear.
Tones are bright, and details are exact and strong.
An artist should not applies tempera paint too thickly because the paint
cracks when applied in heavy layers. Tempera paintings require protection
against dirt and scratching, and so he artist usually applies a coat of
vanish to the finished picture.
The tempera technique achieved its greatest popularity between 1200 and 1500
in Europe. Beautiful tempera pictures were painted during the 1200's and
1300's in Siena, Italy, by Duccio di Buoninsegna and Simone Martini. Several
modern American artists have used tempera skillfully. They include Ben Shahn,
Mark Tobey, and Andrew Wyeth.
Oil paint is made by mixing powdered pigments with a binder of vegetable
oil. Linseed oil is the most common binder. Certain feature of oil paint make
it popular with artists who want to show the natural appearance of the world
around them. Oil paint-even when applied thickly - does not crack so easily as
does water paint or egg tempera. As a result, the painter can apply oil paint
in varying thicknesses to produce a wide range of textures. Each artist
develops his or her own method of working with oil paint.
Oil painting first became popular in Europe during the 1500's. By the 1700's
it had become the most common painting technique. It remains the technique
preferred by many artists today.
No one knows when people first painted pictures. Scholars date the oldest
known paintings at about 20,000 B. C. The high quality of these works
suggests that people began to paint pictures much earlier.
Egyptian painting. The ancient Egyptians began painting about 5.000 years
ago. They developed one of the first definite traditions in the history of the
art. Egyptian artists painted on the walls of temples and palaces, but much of
their finest work appears in tombs. Like other early peoples, the Egyptians
believed that art was a magical way of transporting things of this world into a
world people entered after death. Egyptian artists decorated tombs with
frescoes showing persons and objects related to the life of the dead. Egyptian
artists painted according to strict rules that hardly changed for thousands of
years. The figures they drew look stiff. The heads of people in the painting
always face sideways. The shoulders and body face to the front, and the feet
paint to the side. Important persons are larger than the other people.
Artists painted tombs only for the benefit of the gods and the souls of the
dead. The tombs were scaled and beautifully colored frescoes were intended
never again to be seen.
Cretan painting. About 3000 B. C. - while Egyptian civilization was
flourishing - another great civilization was developing on the island of Crete.
The Cretans, a seafaring people, often came into contact with the Egyptians.
The Cretans adopted some elements of Egyptians art, including the Egyptian way
of drawing human figure. But the Cretan style
did not have the
stiffness of the Egyptian
style Cretan paintings are lively, and the figures in them seem to float and
dance. More important. Cretan painters
, unlike the Egyptians, were interested in life in this world. They used
paintings to decorate buildings instead of concealing the paintings in tombs.
Thus, Cretan art became a bridge between Egyptian art, which emphasized death,
and ancient Greek and Roman art, which dealt with life.
Greek painting. The ancient Greeks made
greater achievements in architecture and sculpture than in painting. Nearly all
surviving Greek paintings appear on pottery. The Greeks made beautifully shaped
pottery and painted it with scenes from everyday life and from stories about
their gods and heroes.
Greek artists of the late 600's and the 500's B. C. Painted black figures on
naturally red pottery. This method became known as the black figure style. A
painter named Exekias was a master of the style.
About 530 B. C. Greek artists developed the red figure style, the reverse of
the black figure style. These artists painted the background of their pottery
in black and let natural red show through to form the figures. The red figure
painters, like the Greek sculptors of the same period, created extremely
lifelike figures. This “ideal s
tyle” became the chief quality of the so-called
classical art of the Greek and Romans.
Greek sculptors made realistic figures and indicated emotion by facial
expression or bodily pose. This was the style copied by Roman sculptors and
relearned by Renaissance sculptors. It served as
the basic style for European sculpture until the late 1800's. The Greeks
thought of their gods as being like people, and sculptors portrayed gods as
people in such works as the “Greek God Poseido
n” or “Zeus”. They
showed people as godlike beings. The earliest important classical sculpture
appeared on the Temple of Zeus at Olympia. The
high point of the classical style is generally considered to be the sculptures
on the Parthenon in Athens. Sculptures decorated sarcophagi with reliefs.
Portrait sculpture also began during this period.
We know more about Roman painting than Greek painting because a wider
selection of Roman paintings has survived. Roman artist
were strongly influenced by the Greeks. They gave the figures in their
paintings the same lifelike quality. Roman artists added to the reality of
their works by painting convincing illusions of depth, shade, shadow and
reflected light. Some of the best examples of Roman painting have been Found
in the ruins of the city of Pompeii. The house of two brothers named Vettius
contains frescoes portraying stories about lxion, a mythical hero. These
frescoes consist of elaborately designed painted panels.
Roman sculptures. The finest work of Roman sculptors was probably their
mass-produced portrait sculpture. To meet the large demand for portrait busts,
the Romans developed a set of standard symbols for hair, eyes, nose, and mouth.
A student learned to carve by reproducing these details accurately, rather than
by copying a living model. Art schools used this method of teaching until as
recently as the 1940's.
The Romans were deeply religious, and many reliefs from altars show
ceremonies or symbolic stories. A famous example of such sculpture is the Ara
Pacis (Altar of Peace) in Rome.
The Romans also were particularly interested in showing historical events, a
theme that the Greeks had avoided. Reliefs of commemorative arches and
columns tell the story of complete military campaigns. The best-known columns
are Trojan’s Column and the Column of Marcus Aureoles.
Oriental painting, the painting of Asia, has three main branches —
Indian, Chinese, and Islamic.
Indian painting, is primarily religious art. Indian painters create their
works to help the people communicate with their gods. Their main subject
include gods and stories about the gods and holy people. Indian artists paint
on manuscripts of holy texts, on banners and wallhangings, and on walls. They
direct all the elements of their pictures toward increasing the religious
experience of the viewer. Every object and figure in their paintings has a
specific meaning. Gods are usually portrayed as red and fierce in order to show
their great power. Their many arms let them display all the symbols of their
power at once. The god appears warlike and full of motion, which shows that he
can conquer his enemies. The artists do not attempt to show gods and the other
figures in real space. All the figures seem to float in a heavenly atmosphere.
They are seated on clouds or lotus plants. Clouds and a ring of flame — which
symbolize the universe — encircle the chief figure and fill the background with
swirling movements and color.
Chines painting. The major Chinese religions al stressed a love of
nature. Partly as a result, tree major kinds of subject matter dominate
Chinese painting. They are birds and flowers; figures; and landscapes of the
countryside, mountains, and sea. Chinese landscape painters tried to create a
feeling of union between the human spirit and the energy of the wind. water,
mist, and mountains. Such pictures express the Chinese belief that there is
an inner harmony and balance among all things in the world. Chinese painters
use black ink that could produce different tones and a brush that could many
kinds of lines. Artists created many paintings in black ink only. Even when
they added color, the ink drawing remained the basis of the design. The
Chinese paid more attention to the brushstrokes than to the subject matter.
Most surviving Chinese painting are painted on silk or an absorbent paper.
Many artists painted on walls or a large screens. All these paintings require
special study. The artist intended their works to be examined only if the
viewer had time to enjoy them without distraction.
In China, painters, like poets and scholars, were considered persons of
learning and wisdom. Chinese paintings were closely associated with poetry.
Many Chinese paintings combine certain objects, such as a particular bird or
flower, because the objects are associated with a famous poem.
Chinese painters produced many great landscapes painted on long scrolls. The
viewer unrolls the scroll slowly from right to left, revealing a continuous
succession of scenes of the countryside. These hand scrolls are in a uniquely
Chinese art form. Appreciation of them requires much patience and thought.
Xia Gui and Ma Yuan created a style of idealized landscapes that greatly
influenced Chinese and Japanese painting.
Human figures were also important in Chinese painting. Artists painted
portraits of both real and imaginary people. They painted scenes that
illustrate stories and historical subjects. Many paintings show the elegant,
refined life at court. Some of these pictures show furniture and decorations
in great detail. Others have a plain background. All these paintings are
remarkable for a delicacy of line.
Japanese painting is included in the tradition of Chinese painting
because Japan's art was greatly influenced by China's. However, the Japanese
changed the Chinese styles to suit their own taste. The Japanese use of the
color and abstract design had transformed the art into a new form of
expression. Japanese artists were interested in the time and place in which
they lived. Their paintings show their fondness for storytelling as well as for
art that appeals to the emotions and the senses.
From the 1500's to the 1800's, Japanese artists painted in a style that
strongly emphasized color and design. These artists were called decorators.
The decorators omitted detail from their pictures and stressed
only outlines. They applied their color evenly with no shading. The
decorators often added gold leaf to their paintings for an effect of luxury.
The finest decorative paintings were pictures of nature, particularly
animals, flowers, and landscapes.
Throughout most of its history, Japanese painting has reflected the taste of
the upper classes. But the Japanese style most familiar in the West is an art
of the common people. The style is called ukiyo-e (the floating world). The
floating world is a world of pleasure and entertainment, and of great actors
and beautiful women.
Islamic painting is primarily the creation of beautiful books through
calligraphy and illustration. Calligraphers copied texts in elegant
handwriting, and artists added illustration to increase the beauty of the
books. Calligraphers copied the texts of Koran, the Islamic holy book, on pages
that were then covered with gold leaf. Early Islamic artists decorated the
pages with complicated patterns because their religion prohibited the making of
images of human beings and animals. However, as time passed, many Islamic
artists — especially those living in Persia - began painting human and animal
In addition to the Koran, Persian artists illustrated collections of fables,
histories, love poems, and scientific works. These illustrations have jewel —
like color, the most important element in Islamic painting. The artists did
not try to portray the real world, but instead tried to create a luxurious,
ideal setting to delight the eye and simulate the imagination.
Medieval painting refers to most of the art produced in Europe during a
period of about 100 years. This period began with the fall of the Roman Empire
in the AD 300's and 400's and ended with the beginning of the Renaissance in
the 1300's. Almost all medieval artists dealt with religious subjects, they
developed several styles. One of these styles, called Byzantine, became the
most important tradition among Christian artists of eastern Europe and the Near
Byzantine painting. Starting in the AD 300's, eastern Christians
gradually separated from the western Christians, who were ruled by the pope in
Rome. Eastern Christians art is called Byzantine because the religion centered
in the city of Byzantium (now Istanbul, Turkey). By the 500's, the Byzantine
artists had developed a special style of religious painting. The Byzantine
painting style has remained largely unchanged to the present day. Byzantine
pictures portray colorful but unlifelike figures that stand for religious ideas
rather than flash-and-blood people. The artists were not interested to
techniques that would help show the world as it was. They generally ignored
perspective and gave their works a flat look. They made wide use of symbols in
their works in order to tell stories.
The CJTeat age of Russian Art.
When Russia received Christianity from Byzantium in the late 1000's, an
important part of the culture transplanted onto Russian soil was the early
medieval art that Byzantium had brought to a level of great sophistication.
For the Orthodox Church, icons (images of holy personages or events) where an
integral part of worship and theology, testifying to the reality of the
incarnation. Characteristically icons were painted in tempera on wooden
panels, though they may be of other materials, and the fresco wall paintings
(occasionally mosaics) with which early churches were always adorned are
After the Tatar conquest building activity, and with it painting, revived
gradually during the 1400's. First Novgorod, then increasingly Moscow were the
major patrons; but the political fragmentation of the time led to productive
artistic activity in many smaller places. Contacts will] the Mediterranean
world revived: Serbian painters worked in Novgord; the learned Greek Theophanes
(in Russian Feofan) worked both there and in Moscow. But home-bred talents made
this the great age of Russian painting; notably the monk Andrew Rublyov (c.
1370-1430). He is first recorded as one of the painters of the Moscow
Annunciation Cathedral in 1405. He was evidently aware of new stylistic
currents in Byzantine art of the time — and also conveys the Hellenistic
impetus behind Byzantine art generally. The famous so-called “01d Testament
Trinity was painted in memory of St. Sergius when the Trinity Monastery was
restored after the Tatar raid of 1408. The scene is the Hospitality of Abraham:
three pilgrims, recognized as angles, are given a meal by Abraham and Sarah.
Few icons survive from Kievan Russia: those that do mostly display a static
unclutted monumentality. In the early Tatar period Russian art, thrown back
on its own resources, shows a “folk” quality, with expressive, plastic
distortions and simplifications of figure stye and clear, unnaturalistic
colors. When Russian culture revived in the late 1400's its art was able to
draw on both these aspects of its past, but also on renewed international
contacts, above all with Byzantium. There were certainly also contacts with
the South Slavs, but none can be proved with Western Europe. The best
painters of the late medieval Orthodox lands seem to have sought a tender
expressivity, though in the case of Rublyov combined with gravitas and a pure
and monumental line. There seems to be a truly classical impulse at work
here, whether looking back to the nobility of Kievan art or through recent
Byzantine models to a sort of refined Hellenistic legacy. The painters of the
1500's seemed to share a common interest in unnaturalistic but often dramatic
effects of light,
notably in scenes such as the Transfiguration and the Descent into Hell, it
is reasonable to see in this an effect of Hesychast mysticism.
Icon painters had singular opportunities in the early 15 00's as a result of
the development of the iconostasis, a wooden screen closing off the altar
area of a church and clad with tiers of icons, often life-Osize or greater.
The central tier (the “Deisis”) represented holy figures interceding with
Christ on behalf of the worshipers. The iconostasis as a gallery of
representations of saints compares with the great sculpted portals of Western
medieval cathedrals, while the opening and closing of its central doors
enhance the drama of the liturgy. The impact of the whole ambience is
increased by the frescoes covering all interior walls and ceilings. Good
examples of these survive, though fragmentarily in Novgorod (World War II
took a heavy toll here), and include paintings by Theophanes. There are wall
paintings by Rublyov in the Dormition Cathedral at Vladimir. A small number
of very fine illuminated gospels books of the period have been attributed to
the circles of both artists.
Beginning about 1400, European painting flourished as never before. This era
of great painting took place during the period of history called the
Renaissance. The Renaissance began in Italy about 1300 and spread northward.
By 1600, it had effected nearly all Europe.
One very important aspect of the Renaissance was a great revival of interest
in the art and literature of ancient Rome. This revival had an enormous
influence on painting. Religious subject matter remained important. But
artists included elements of Roman architecture in their pictures. The
Italian city of Florence and the northern Europe — an region of Flanders
became the major centers of painting in the early Renaissance.
Sandro Botticelli, one of the greatest Florentine masters, became the leading
interpreter of Neoplatonism. Neoplatonism was a complicated religious theory
that combined ancient mythology, Greek philosophy, and Christianity to
explain God, beauty, and truth. Botticelli's “Birth of Venus” is based on a
Greek myth. The myth tells how Venus, the goddess of beauty and love, was
born in the sea and was blown to shore on a shell by the winds. The style and
perspective of the picture do not follow the sculptural style of ancient
Greece. In his attempt to express spiritual qualities, Botticelli returned to
an almost medieval style. Venus' body curves in such a way that she seems
much like a paper doll floating in the air. The design of the picture is more
flat and decorative than most Italian art.
Leonardo da Vinci was probably the greatest artist of the 1400's. His
portrait “Mona Lisa” and his religious scene “the Last Supper” rank among the
most famous pictures ever painted.
Leonardo, as he is almost always called, was trained to e a painter. But he
became one of the most versatile geniuses in history. His interests and
achievements spread into an astonishing variety of fields, such as anatomy,
astronomy, botany, and geology. Leonardo's paintings made him famous, and his
more graceful approach marked the beginning of the High Renaissance Style.
Leonardo finished painting “The Last Supper” about 1497. He created the
famous scene on a wall of the dining hall in the monastery of Santa Maria
delle Grazie. It shows Christ and his 12 apostles just after Jesus has
announced that one of the them will betray him. Leonardo changed the
traditional arrangement of the figures from a line of 13 figures to several
small groups. Each apostle responds in a different way to Christ's
announcement. Jesus sits in the center of the scene, apart from the other
figures Leonardo's composition creates a more active and centralized design
than earlier artists had achieved.
When painting “The Last Supper”, Leonardo rejected the fresco technique
normally used for wall paintings. An artist who uses this fresco method must
work quickly. But Leonardo wanted to paint slowly, revise his work, and use
shadows — all of which would have been impossible in fresco painting. He
developed a new techniques that involved coating the wall with a compound he
had created. But the compound, which was supposed to hold in place and
protect it from moisture. Did not work. Soon after Leonardo completed the
picture, the paint began to flake away. “The Last Supper” still exists, but
in poor condition.
“The Mona Lisa” is a portrait of Lisa del Giacondo, the young wife of a
Florentine merchant. It is often called “La Gioconda”. “The Mona Lisa” became
famous because of the mysterious smile of the subject. Actually, Leonardo
showed the woman's face moving into or out of a smile. He arranged her folded
hands so that the figure formed a pyramid design. Leonardo's technique solved
a problem that had faced earlier portrait painters. These artists had shown
only the head and upper part of the body, and the picture seemed to cut off
the subject at the cheat. Leonardo's placement of the hands of the “Mona
Lisa” gave the woman a more complete, natural appearance. On the whole,
Leonardo's paintings are remarkable for their delicate use of Shadow and
their sense of motion.
By the early 1500's, Rome had replaced Florence as the chief center of
Italian painting. The popes lived in Rome, and they spent great sums on art
to make Rome the most glorious city of the Christian world. In addition, two
of the greatest artists in history - Raphael and Michelangelo - worked there.
The style of painting that centered in Rome
during the early 1500's is called High Renaissance. It combined elements of
many earlier styles, including graceful figures, classical Roman realism, and
linear perspective. The works of Raphael and Michelangelo best show the High
Renaissance style of painting.
Raphael painted balanced, harmonious designs that express a calm, noble way
of life. This style appealed to Italians of the early 1500's. During this
period, the Roman Catholic Church was sure of its supreme position in Europe,
and leading Italians were convinced that the great classical Roman
civilization had been reborn and was flourishing in Italy.
Raphael was strongly influenced by Leonardo da Vinces style of arranging
figures to form a pyramid. He used this compositional form often in a series
of paintings of the Madonna (the Virgin Mary). In these paintings Madonna is
as graceful as a goddess. Her manner suggests the Renaissance ideal that a
good woman should be faithful, humble, and pure.
Raphael's “School of Athens” covers one wall of the Stanza (a room in the
pope's private quarters in the Vatican). He used the actual arch in the wall
to frame the painting. Three painted arches serve as a background for the
ancient Greek philosophers and scientists in the front of the scene. In the
center, beneath the arches, stand Plato and Aristotle, the leading
philosophers. Raphael grouped the main representatives of the schools of
Greek philosophy and science in casual but carefully organized arrangements.
The scene expresses the sense of clarity, space, and proportion for which
Raphael became famous.
Mickelangelo worked as a sculptor until the pope ordered him to decorate the
ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican. "The Creation of Adam" is
one frexo from the chapel ceiling. It shows God moving on a cloud among many
angels. He extends a figures toward Adam raises his arm to receive the spark of
life. Michelangelo's human figures are more sculptural and solidlooking than
Raphael's. Raphael's figures seem happier and more graceful, but not so herac
and powerful as Mickelangelo's.
Venetian painting. Venice ranked second only to Rome as a center of
Italian art during the 1500's. Venice was a commercial city that handled much
of the trade between Europe and the East. Venetian painters showed the
influence of Eastern art in their fascination with color. Their works also show
a trend away from interest in the hard outline and sculptural and heroic
figures found in the paintings of Florence and Rome. Venetian painters tried to
please and relax the viewers rather than inspire them to noble deeds.
Giorgione, Titian and Tintoretto were the most famous. They all were neasters
of oil painting.
The texture of the paint itself interested some Venetian artists more than
the subject matter. These painters brushed on their paint in thick strokes.
Sometimes they seem almost to have painted their pictures in sweeping
brushstrokes. These pictures are often full of motion and action, and invite
the viewer to an imaginary world where he can relax in the presence of
beautiful women and lovely nature.
The Counter Reformation, the Roman Catholic Church's response to the Protestant
Reformation, and the rise of nationalism in many European countries helped
bring about a major painting style - baroque, Baroque and a related
style, rococo, dominated European painting during the 1600's and
1700's. The Reformation forced the Roman Catholic Church to organize against
Protestantism. Church officials wanted to use art in order to spread Catholic
ideas and teachings. The church told artists that they should create religious
paintings that would be realistic and easy to understand and - most importantly
- would inspire religious emotional reactions in viewers. These qualities
formed the basic of the baroque painting style.
Peter Paul Rubens of Flanders was one of the greatest of the painters who
adopted the baroque style. He skillfully combined realism and classical
style. Rubens was also influenced by the Venetian technique of painting in
The “Elevation of the Cross” shows Rubens' baroque style. This painting is a
highly emotional religious scene. Several half-naked bodies strain to lift
Jesus into the cross as spectators look on in sorrow and fear. Rubens
intensified the feeling of action and struggle by drawing his composition in
diagonal lines. He further heightened the picture's lights appeal by painting
the highlights in thick masses of pigment and the dark colors in
semitransparent brownish glazes. The painting shows Rubens' remarkable
ability in drawing the studio and employed many assistants, of whom Anton Van
Dyck was the most famous. Diego Velkazquez, who painted at the Spanish court,
was another master of baroque. Both Van Dyck and Velazquez gained their
greatest fame as portrait painters. Their portraits showed rulers in
aristocratic poses. Such portraits were intended to display the vertues and
dignity of the rulers. This type of elegant portrait is called a state
portrait, and became popular during the 1600's. Anyhow, Velazquez' portraits
seem more like personal pictures from a family album than paintings
advertising the rulers.
Dutch painting. By the late 1600's, the Netherlands had become one of the
world's major commercial and colonial powers. As the country gained wealth, the
Dutch people became interested in luxury goods, including works of art. They
liked almost any subject that
reminded them of their own comfortable middle-class lives. Dutch painters
developed a distinct style during the baroque period. Many Dutch artists
specialized in painting specific subjects, such as domestic scenes or tavern
scenes. Painting that deals with such ordinary, everyday subjects is called
Jan Vermeer probably ranks as the greatest Dutch genre painter of the 1600's.
Vermeer and other Dutch genre artists painted small pictures, most of which
had smooth, glazed surfaces. Vermeer, a master of painting interior scenes,
usually portrayed women working at quiet household tasks. His art is
particularly noted for its treatment of sunlight as it floods into a room or
falls on objects.
Rococo was a painting style that developed out of baroque. Rococo artists
gave their paintings the decorative quality of baroque. But they painted most
of their pictures on a smaller scale than did the baroque painters. Much
baroque painting was energetic and heroic. Rococo painting communicated a sense
of relaxation. It also was light-hearted and had none of the seriousness of
baroque painting. Antone Watteau and Honore Fragonard are the most famous
Neo-classicism was a movement in painting which reflected political changes
in Europe. The French Revolution, which began in 1789, stressed the virtues
of Roman civilization. These virtues included discipline and high moral
principles. Neo-classical artists helped educate the French people in the
goals of the new government. They painted inspirational scenes from Roman
history to create a feeling of patriotism. They are Jacques Louis David and
Jean Auguste Dominique of France.
Romanticism was a reaction against the neo-classical emphasis on balanced,
orderly pictures. Romantic paintings expressed the imagination and emotions
of the artists. The painters replaced the clean, bright colors and harmonious
compositors of neo-classicism with scenes of violent activity dramatized by
vigorous brushstrokes, rich colors, and deep shadows.
Two English painters - John Constable and Joseph M. W. Turner -made important
contributions to romanticism. Constable was a master of landscape painting.
He developed a style of rough brushstrokes, and broken color to catch the
effected of lights in the air, trees bent in the wind, and pond surfaces
moved by a breeze. In his works he tried to capture in oil paintings the
fresh quality of water color sketches.
Turner was increasingly concerned with the effects of color. In his late
works color became one dazzling swirl of paint on the canvas. The influence
of Constable and Turner appeared during the late 1800"s in the works of the
Realism. As neo-classicism and romanticism declined , a new movement -
realism - developed in France. Guctave Courbet became the first great master of
realistic painting. Courbet painted landscapes, but his vision of nature was
not so idealized as that of other painters. He recorded the world around him so
sharply that many of his works were considered social protests. In one
painting, for example, he portrayed an old man and a youth in the agonizing
work of breaking rocks with hammers. The artist implied that something is wrong
with a society that allows people to spend their lives at such labor. The
neo-classicists called Courbet's paintings low and vulgar. But Courbet's works
helped change the course of art. The paintings were based on the artist's
honest. Unsentimental observations of life around him. From Courbet's time to
the present day, many painters have adopted his approach.
The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood was an English art and literary movement
founded in 1848. The leading painters of the movement were William Holman Hunt,
Sir John Everett, Millais, and Dante Gabriel Rossetti. The Pre-Raphaelite
painters stood apart from the major art movements of their century. They wanted
to return to what they believed was the purity and innocence of painting before
Raphael. Most Pre-Raphaelite art has a strong moral message through religious
Edward Manet was a French artist who revolutionized painting in the mid-
1800's. He developed a new approach to art. He believed that painting do not
have to express messages or portray emotions. Manet was chiefly interested in
painting beautiful pictures. To him, beauty resulted from a combination of
brushstrokes, colors, patterns, and tones. Since Manet's time, most painters
have emphasized the picture itself, rather than its storytelling function.
His "Luncheon on the Grass" illustrates lack of concern for story.
Impressionism was developed by a group of French painters who did their major
work between about 1870 and 1910. The impressionists included Claude Manet,
Pierre Auguste Renoir, and Edgar Degas. Like Manet, the impressionists, they
chose to paint scenes from everyday life, including buildings, landscapes,
people, and scenes of city traffic. Most of the people in their pictures were
ordinary middle-class city dwellers -like the painters themselves.
The impressionists developed a revolutionary painting style. They based it on
the fact that nature changes continually. Leaves move in the wind, light
transforms the appearance of object, reflections alter color and form. As the
viewer moves, the perspective of what is seen changes. The impressionists
tried to create painting that capture ever - changing reality at a particular
moment - much as a camera does.
Postimpressionism described a group of artists who attempted in various ways
to extend the visual language of painting beyond impressionism. The most
influential postimpressionists were Paul Cezanne, Paul Gauguin, and Vincent
van Gogh. All were French except van Gogh, who was Dutch . Unlike the
impressionists, who emphasized light, Cezanne stressed form and mass. The
distortion in his pictures add force to the composition and give the subject
an appearance of permanence and strength. Gauguin's pictures are highly
decorative. Gauguin's pictures are highly decorative. Gauguin stressed flat
color, strong patterns, unshaded shapes, and curved lines. He constantly
searched for purity and simplicity in life. His search led him to the South
Seas, where he settled on the island of Tahiti. Like Gauguin, van Gogh wanted
to express his innermost feelings through his art. He believed he could
achieve this goal through the use of brilliant color and violent
brushstrokes. He applied his oil colors directly from the tube. without
mixing them. The result was an art of passionate intensity. Artists of the
1900's have continued the search for new approaches to painting that
characterized the work of the impressionists and postimpressionists. Many art
movements appeared during the 1900's. Each lasted only a few years but added
to the richness and variety of modern art. They are fauvism, cubism,
futurism, expressionism, dadaism, surrealism, etc. As time passed, painters
of the 1900's increasingly emphasized purely visual impact rather than
recognizable subject matter or storytelling.
Some art critics say that too much of today's painting is concerned only with
originality and novelty. These critics agree that artists should discard
traditions that no longer meet their needs. But they point out that most
great advances in style and technique were achieved because artists believed
they needed new methods to express beliefs or ideas. Sometimes artists strive
only to create original painting styles. But originality for its own sake
becomes boring unless the painting has qualities that help it remain
significant and interesting after its novelty has worn off.