Painting has been around for a long time now. It has evolved a lot throughout history and it’s a skill that requires patience, imagination, and spirit. So far, we’ve seen some amazing masterpieces and extremely talented artists, but if you want to explore the amazing world of painting and discover the beauty behind it, we suggest you keep reading. You’ll be amazed.
Good paintings are the ones that “talk to you” and wake unexplainable emotions. They can transfer messages using combinations of colors, lines, and shapes. You have to speak the visual language to properly speak to people with your paintings. History has seen a lot of artists who could combine colors and shapes to speak to the world.
Thus far, the oldest known painting goes back thousands of years, so I think you can get an idea of the amount of history there is behind painting. It takes a tremendous number of books to record the history of painting which will only get bigger over time.
Painting is no recent activity. It has been around for over 50000 years now where people were painting lines and shapes on caves. Archeologists found a lot of cave paintings where people used to paint animals, either representing food or strength.
We then moved on to Eastern and Western Art from the caves, which was influenced by African, Indonesian, Chinese, Japanese, and Jewish art.
Then we had the Modern Art, Middle Ages, and Renaissance where people used to paint for aristocrats. Later on, when the Baroque era came, people from the West leaned to a more romantic style.
Up until the 20th century, painting relied a lot on religions and representational motifs but now more paintings are using abstract and conceptual style.
Throughout history, the world has met some incredible artists like Vincent Van Gogh, Picasso, and Leonardo Da Vinci. These people, along with many other famous artists, changed the course of painting’s history, by using pencils, brushes, colors, and of course imagination. Below, you’ll see five of the most famous artists ever and what they achieved.
Andy Warhol, the person who started as a commercial artist and brought fine art into advertising. Thus, he is known for the famous phrase, “making money is art”. He is the one responsible for famous Pop Art paintings of pop culture icons such as Marylin Monroe and Elvis Presley, as well as the work he did for Campbell’s soup.
The Dutch Master, one of the most important artists in the history of painting, Rembrandt, is the artist known for his exceptional works like “The Night Watch” and “Doctor Nicolaes Tulp’s Demonstration of the Anatomy of the Arm”. With his masterpieces, Rembrandt was able to wake the innermost thoughts of his subject.
Meet the “3 in 1” person. Michelangelo was a painter, a sculptor, and of course an architect. He focused a lot on using his skills for Mecini Pope in Rome, but he also moved between Bologna, Venice, and Florence. Famous masterpieces from him include the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling, the David and Peta, and the St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.
Henri was an artist with a strong connection with colors. He appreciated and recognized the power of colors more than anyone else and used that to create symbolic paintings that represented the magical combination of color and tone.
Most of the painters are men, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t women artists. Frida is a very good example of a female artist. She used her vulnerabilities while creating a persona of herself in Mexican cultural heritage. She used the hardships that she had to go through as a child to create amazing pieces of art - most of which were surrealist self-portraits.
Cubism was a movement that influenced the way sculptors and architects worked on their projects. Pioneers of this movement were Pablo Picasso and another artist who you might not know, George Braque. With Cubism, artists tried to call out the flat dimensionality of the canvas. The Cubism paintings between Picasso and Braque were almost indistinguishable.
Post-Impressionism was like an extension of Impressionism. Artists that helped Post-Impressionism rise, like Vincent Van Gogh, and Paul Cezanne, used Impressionism’s bright colors and by investigating techniques, they were able to use a different form of expression. Post Impressionism exceeded the limitations of Impressionism.
De Stijl is a Dutch word and it means “The style” in English. Famous artists like Piet Mondrian, Theo van Doesburg, and Jacob Johannes Pieter Oud were the ones who started the De Stijl Movement. De Stijl was a very mystical movement that was also influenced by Cubism. Each piece of work that utilized De Stijl, was abstract with unadorned shapes.
Suprematism is the movement that utilized pure geometrical abstraction in painting. The Pioneer of this movement was Kazimir Malevich, a Russian artist, who aimed to bring art back to its fundamentals by using shapes like triangles, circles, squares, and neutral colors. Malevich tried to add spirituality and mysticism into his abstractionism by expressing his inner world.
Fauvism was a movement that owes its existence to Impressionism as it had bright colors to capture landscapes and still-lifes. But later on, with the help of Matisse, its pioneer, evoked more emotions with the use of vivid colors and blatant brushwork.
Below, we have listed the top three most recognized paintings of all time in art museums that are worth millions of dollars.
Mona Lisa - Leonardo Da Vinci (1503-1509)
This is the painting that everyone knows and it still fascinates the majority of the world’s population. Many people ask who Mona Lisa represents and some say it’s the artist’s mother while others say it’s Francesco di Bartolomeo del Giocondo’s wife - no one knows for sure.
Girl with a Pearl Earring - Johannes Vermeer (1665)
The painting is highly realistic, with the girl leaning to her left shoulder, with her beautiful eyes staring at you, almost like a photograph. In fact, people say that Vermeer used a pre-photographic device called an Obscura to paint this girl who was said to be his maid.
The Birth of Venus - Sandro Botticelli (1484-1486)
The birth of Venus is the first full-length, non-religious nude that was made. Botticelli didn’t imagine the Goddess of love but instead, he used Simonetta Cattaneo Vespucci as a model. A surprising fact about this painting is that it was supposed to be destroyed but in the end, it escaped destruction. The Dominican monk, Savonarola, wasn’t a fan of this piece of work, and with the infamous “Bonfire of the Vanities” of 1947, he burned a lot of artworks, cosmetics, and books but luckily “Venus” escaped.
If the World of Painting is the ocean, then in this article we covered only one full bucket with seawater. All the information, movements, techniques, and painters are impossible to mention in just one book, let alone a small article.
Exploring the World of Painting will expand your horizons, increase your creativity and teach you everything there is about painting. You’ll be limitless as a painter.
You can use books, movies, documentaries, and in general the web to find a lot of information if you are really interested in learning more about painting. The journey never ends.