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 arranged 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 of pleasure.

Paintings also teach. Some reveal what the artist felt about important
subject, 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 prehistoric 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 the 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 long time.

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 Mexican history.

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 technique.

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 style” 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 Poseidon” 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 figures.

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 East.

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 equally “iconic”.

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 thick oils.

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 genre painting.

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 rococo artists.

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 French impressionists.

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 paintings.

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.

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