The history of painting

★ Painting is one of the ancient arts that for many centuries has passed the evolution from the cave paintings of the Paleolithic, to the latest movements of the XX and even the 21st century.

History of painting 5 243 Words Read

Painting is one of the ancient arts that for many centuries has passed the evolution from the cave paintings of the Paleolithic, to the latest movements of the XX and even the 21st century. This art was born almost with the advent of mankind. Ancient people, not even fully realizing themselves by man, felt the need to depict the world around him on the surface. They painted everything they saw: animals, nature, hunting scenes. For drawing, they used something similar to paints made of natural materials. These were earthen paints, charcoal, black soot. The brushes made animals from the hair, or simply painted with fingers.

The history of painting

The history of painting

As a result of the changes, new species and genres of painting arose. The ancient period was followed by the period of antiquity. The desire of painters and artists to reproduce the real surrounding life arose, the one as it is seen by a person. The desire for the accuracy of the transmission caused the origin of the foundations of the perspective, the foundations of light -legged constructions of various images and the study of this artists. And they, first of all, studied how to depict volumetric space on the plane of the wall, in fresco painting. Some works of art, such as volumetric space, chiaroscuro, began to be used to decorate rooms, religion and burial centers.

The next important period in the past painting is the Middle Ages. At this time, painting was a more religious nature, and the worldview began to affect art. The work of artists was aimed at icon painting and other melodies of religion. The main important points that the artist was supposed to emphasize was not so much an accurate display of reality as the transfer of spirituality even in a wide variety of picturesque works. The canvases of the masters of that time were striking in their expressive contours, coloring and colorfulness. The painting of the Middle Ages seems to us planar. All characters of the artists of that time are on the same line. And therefore, many works seem to us somewhat stylized.

The period of the gray Middle Ages replaced the brightest period of the Renaissance. The Renaissance again brought a turning point into the historical development of this art. New moods in society, the new worldview began to dictate to the artist: what aspects in painting to reveal more fully and clearly. The genres of painting, such as a portrait and landscape, will become independent styles. Artists express the emotions of man and his inner world through new methods of painting. In the XVII and XVIII century, there is an even more serious growth of painting.During this period, the Catholic Church loses its significance, and artists in their works are increasingly contributing to true views of people, nature, everyday and everyday life. During this period, such genres as Baroque, Rococo, Classicism, Mannerism are also formed. There is romanticism, which is later replaced by a more spectacular style – impressionism.

At the beginning of the twentieth century, painting radically changes and a newer direction of contemporary art appears – abstract painting. The idea of ​​this direction is to convey the consent between man and art, to create harmony in combinations of lines and color glare. This is an art that has no objectivity. She does not pursue the exact transmission of a real image, but rather conveys what is in the soul of the artist, his emotions. An important role for this type of art is shape and color. Its essence is to convey previously familiar objects in a new way. Here, artists are given complete freedom of their fantasies. This gave an impetus to the origin and development of modern directions, such as avant -garde, underground, abstractionism. From the end of the twentieth century to the present, painting is constantly changing. But, despite all new achievements and modern technologies, artists still remain faithful to classical art-oil and watercolor painting, create their masterpieces with colors and canvases.

The story of fine art

The history of painting is an endless chain that began with the very first paintings made. Each style grows from the styles that were in front of him. Each great artist adds something to the achievements of earlier artists and affects later artists.

We can enjoy painting for her beauty. Its lines, shapes, colors and composition (location of the parts) can be liked by our feelings and linger in our memories. But the pleasure of art increases when we find out when and why and how it was created.

The history of painting was influenced by many factors. Geography, religion, national features, historical events, the development of new materials – all this helps to form a vision of the artist. Throughout history, painting reflected the changing world and our ideas about it. In turn, the artists provided some of the best records of the development of civilization, sometimes revealing more than a written word.

Prehistoric painting

Cave residents were the earliest artists. Color drawings of animals, dated from 30,000 to 10,000 years BC, were found on the walls of caves in the south of France and Spain. Many of these drawings are surprisingly well preserved, because the caves have been sealed for many centuries. Early people painted wild animals that they saw around. Very rude human figures made in life positions were found in Africa and east of Spain.

Cave artists filled the walls of the cave with drawings in rich bright colors. Some of the most beautiful paintings are in the Cave of Altamy, in Spain. One detail shows a wounded bison that is no longer able to stand – probably a hunter’s victim. It is painted in a reddish-brown color and outlined simply, but skillfully, black. The pigments used by cave artists-oches (iron oxides, differing in color from light yellow to dark orange) and manganese (dark metal). They crushed into small powder, mixed with grease (possibly with fat oil), and were applied to the surface with some kind of brush. Sometimes pigments acquired the shape of sticks similar to crayons. Fat mixed with powdered pigments made a paint liquid, and the pigment particles were glued. The inhabitants of the cave made brushes from animal hairs or plants, and acute silicon instruments (for drawing and scratches).

Even 30,000 years ago, people invented the main tools and materials for painting. Methods and materials were improved and improved in subsequent centuries. But the opening of a cave resident remains the main for painting.

Egyptian and Mesopotamian painting (3400–332 BC)

One of the first civilizations appeared in Egypt. From written records and art left by the Egyptians, much is known about their life. They believed that the body should be preserved so that the soul could live after death. The great pyramids were complex tombs for rich and powerful Egyptian rulers. Much of Egyptian art was created for the pyramids and tombs of kings and other important people. To be absolutely sure that the soul will continue to exist, the artists created images of a dead person in stone. They also reproduced scenes from human life in wall paintings in funeral chambers.

Egyptian techniques of fine art remained unchanged for centuries. In one method, watercolor paint was applied to clay or limestone surfaces. In another process, the contours were cut out on stone walls and painted with watercolors. The material called hummiarabic was probably used to glue the paint to the surface. Fortunately, a dry climate and sealed tombs prevented some of these watercolor paintings to collapse from dampness. A lot of hunting scenes from the walls of tombs in Thebes, dated around 1450 BC, have been well preserved. They show how hunters pursue birds or fish fish. These stories can still be identified today because they were neatly and carefully colored.

Mesopotamian civilization, which lasted from 3200 to 332 BC, was located in the valley between the Tiger and Euphrates in the Middle East. Houses in Mesopotamia were built mainly from clay.As the clay is softened by the rain, their buildings crumble to dust, destroying any wall paintings that might have been very interesting. What survives are decorated pottery (painted and fired) and colorful mosaics. Although mosaics cannot be considered as painting, they often have an influence on it.

Aegean civilization (3000–1100 BC)

The third great early culture was the Aegean civilization. The Aegeans lived on the islands off the coast of Greece and on the peninsula of Asia Minor at about the same time as the ancient Egyptians and Mesopotamians.

In 1900, archaeologists began excavating the palace of King Minos at Knossos on the island of Crete. Excavations have uncovered works of art written around 1500 BC. in an unusually free and graceful style of the time. Obviously, the Cretans were a carefree, nature-loving people. Among their favorite themes in art were marine life, animals, flowers, sports games, mass processions. At Knossos and other Aegean palaces, paintings were painted on wet plaster walls with mineral paints, sand, and earthen ocher. The paint soaked into the wet plaster and became a permanent part of the wall. These paintings were later called frescoes (from the Italian word for fresh or new). The Cretans liked bright yellows, reds, blues and greens.

Greek and Roman classical painting (1100 BC – 400 AD)

The ancient Greeks decorated the walls of temples and palaces with frescoes. From ancient literary sources and from Roman copies of Greek art, it can be said that the Greeks painted small pictures and made mosaics. The names of the Greek masters and little of their lives and works are known, although very little Greek painting survived the centuries and the aftermath of wars. The Greeks did not write much in tombs, so their work was not protected.

Painted vases are all that remains of Greek painting today. Pottery making was a big industry in Greece, especially in Athens. Containers were in great demand, were exported, as well as oil and honey, and for domestic purposes. The earliest vase painting was in geometric shapes and ornaments (1100-700 BC). The vases were also decorated with human figures in brown glaze on light clay. By the 6th century, vase painters often painted black human figures on natural red clay. The details were carved into the clay with a sharp instrument. This allowed the red to show up in the depths of the relief.

The red-figured style eventually replaced black. That is, on the contrary: the figures are red, and the background has become black. The advantage of this style was that the artist could use a brush to create outlines. The brush gives a freer line than the metal tool used in black figured vases.

Roman wall paintings have been found mainly in villas (country houses) in Pompeii and Herculaneum.In 79 of our era, these two cities were fully buried by the eruption of the Vulcan Veluvius. Archaeologists who excavated this area were able to learn a lot about the ancient Roman life from these cities. Almost every house and villa in Pompey on the walls had paintings. Roman painters carefully prepared the surface of the wall, applying a mixture of marble dust and plaster. They polished the surfaces to the quality of the marble coating. Many of the paintings are copies of Greek paintings of the 4th century BC The elegant poses of figures written on the walls of the villa of the Mysteries in Pompeii inspired artists of the 18th century, when the city was excavated.

The Greeks and the Romans also wrote portraits. A small number of them, mainly portraits of mummies, made in the Greek style of Egyptian artists, survived around Alexandria, in the north of Egypt. Founded in the 4th century BC, Alexander the Great from Greece, Alexandria, became the leading center of Greek and Roman culture. Portraits were written in the technique of an enncaust of wood and installed in the form of a mummy after the death of a person depicted. Encautical paintings made in a paint mixed with molten bee wax are stored for a very long time. Indeed, these portraits still look fresh, although they were made in the second century BC.

Early Christian and Byzantine painting (300–1300)

The Roman Empire was declining in the 4th century AD At the same time, Christianity was gaining strength. In 313, the Roman emperor Konstantin officially recognized religion and adopted Christianity himself.

The emergence of Christianity greatly influenced art. Artists were instructed to decorate the walls of churches with frescoes and mosaics. They made a panel in church chapels, illustrated and decorated church books. Under the influence of the church, artists should have reported the teachings of Christianity as clearly as possible.

Early Christians and Byzantine artists continued the mosaic technique, which they learned about from the Greeks. Small flat pieces of colored glass or stone were installed on wet cement or plaster. Sometimes other solid materials were used, such as pieces of baked clay or shell. In the Italian mosaic, the colors are especially deep and full. Italian artists made von pieces of gilded glass. They depicted human figures in rich colors against the background of sparkling gold. The overall effect was flat, decorative and not realistic.

The mosaics of Byzantine artists were often even less realistic and even more decorative than the motives of early Christians. “Byzantine” is a name given by the style of art, which developed around the ancient city of Byzantium (now Istanbul, Turkey). The mosaic technique perfectly corresponded to the Byzantine taste for heavenly decorated churches. The famous mosaics of Theodores and Justinian, manufactured around 547AD, demonstrate a taste for wealth. The jewelry on the figures glistens, and the colored court dresses sparkle against the glittering gold. Byzantine artists also used gold on frescoes and panels. Gold and other precious materials were used during the Middle Ages to separate spiritual items from the everyday world.

Medieval painting (500–1400)

The first part of the Middle Ages, from about the 6th to the 11th century AD, is usually referred to as the Dark Ages. During this time of unrest, art was stored mainly in monasteries. In the 5th century AD Varran tribes from northern and central Europe roamed the continent. For hundreds of years they dominated Western Europe. These people produced art in which the main element is the pattern. They were especially fond of the structures of intertwining dragons and birds.

The best of Celtic and Saxon art can be found in manuscripts from the 7th and 8th centuries. Book illustrations, lighting, and miniature painting, practiced since late Roman times, became widespread in the Middle Ages. Lighting is the decoration of text, capitalization, and margins. Gold, silver and bright colors were used. A miniature is a small picture, often a portrait. The term was originally used to describe a decorative block around initial letters in a manuscript.

Charlemagne, who was crowned Holy Roman Emperor in the early ninth century, tried to revive the classical art of the late Roman and early Christian periods. During his reign, miniature painters imitated classical art, but they also conveyed personal feelings through their objects.

Very little wall painting has survived from the Middle Ages. Churches built during the Romanesque period (11th-13th centuries) had some great frescoes, but most of them have disappeared. In the churches of the Gothic period (XII-XVI centuries) there was not enough space for wall paintings. Book illustration was the main work of the Gothic painter.

Among the best illustrated manuscripts were the books of hours – collections of calendars, prayers and psalms. A page from an Italian manuscript shows elaborate initials and a finely detailed marginal scene of Saint George slaying a dragon. The colors are brilliant and gem-like, as in stained glass, and the gold shimmers above the page. Exquisitely delicate leafy and floral designs border text. The artists probably used magnifying glasses to complete such intricately detailed work.

Italy: Cimabue and Giotto

Italian artists at the end of the 13th century were still working in the Byzantine style. The human figures were made flat and decorative. Faces rarely showed expression. The bodies were weightless and seemed to float rather than stand firmly on the ground. In Florence the painter Cimabue (1240-1302) tried to modernize some of the old Byzantine techniques.The angels in the Madonna Enthroned are more active than usual in paintings of the time. Their gestures and faces show a little more human feeling. Cimabue added a new sense of monumentality or magnificence to his paintings. However, he continued to follow many Byzantine traditions, such as golden backgrounds and patterned arrangement of objects and figures.

It was the great Florentine artist Giotto (1267-1337), who actually broke with the Byzantine tradition. His fresco series in the Chapel of the Arena in Padua leaves Byzantine art far behind. There is real emotion, tension and naturalism in these scenes from the life of Mary and Christ. All the qualities of human warmth and sympathy are present. People don't seem completely unreal or heavenly. Giotto shaded the outlines of the figures, and he placed deep shadows in the folds of the robes to give a sense of roundness and solidity.

For his small panels, Giotto used pure egg tempera, a medium that was perfected by the Florentines in the 14th century. The clarity and brilliance of its colors must have had a strong effect on people accustomed to the dark colors of Byzantine panels. Tempera paintings give the impression that soft daylight is falling on the stage. They have an almost flat appearance, unlike the sheen of an oil painting. Egg tempera remained the main color until oil almost completely replaced it in the 16th century.

Late medieval painting north of the Alps

At the beginning of the 15th century, artists in Northern Europe worked in a style completely different from Italian painting. Northern artists achieved realism by adding countless details to their paintings. All hair was delicately defined, and every detail of drapery or flooring was precisely set. The invention of oil painting made it easier to detail details.

The Flemish painter Jan van Eyck (1370-1414) made a major contribution to the development of oil painting. When tempera is used, the colors must be applied separately. They can't shade each other well because the paint dries quickly. With oil that dries slowly, the artist can achieve more complex effects. His portraits of 1466-1530 were executed in the Flemish oil technique. All details and even mirror reflection are clear and precise. The color is durable and has a hard, enamel-like surface. The primed wood panel was prepared in the same way that Giotto prepared his panels for tempera. Van Eyck created the painting in layers of a subtle color called glaze. Tempera was probably used in the original undergrowth and for the highlights.

Italian Renaissance

While van Eyck was working in the North, the Italians were moving into a golden age of art and literature. This period is called the Renaissance, which means rebirth. Italian artists were inspired by the sculpture of the ancient Greeks and Romans.The Italians wanted to revive the spirit of classical art, which glorifies human independence and nobility. Artists of the Renaissance continued to draw religious scenes. But they also emphasized earthly life and the achievements of people.


The achievements of Giotto at the beginning of the 14th century laid the foundation for the Renaissance. Italian artists of the XVII century continued it. Mazaccio (1401-1428) was one of the leaders of the first generation of artists of the Renaissance. He lived in Florence, a rich trading city where the art of the Renaissance began. By the time of his death in the late twenties, he revolutionized painting. In his famous fresco “The Tribute Money”, he puts solid sculptural figures in the landscape, which seems to go far into the distance. Mazaccho, perhaps, studied the prospect with the Florentine architect and sculptor Brunelleski (1377-1414).

The technique of frescoes was very popular in the Renaissance. It was especially suitable for large paintings, because the colors on the fresco are dry and perfectly flat. The image can be viewed at any angle without glare or reflections. Frescoes also have accessibility. Usually, the artists had several assistants. The work was carried out in parts, because they had to be finished while the plaster was still wet.

The full “three-dimensional” style of Mazaccio was typical of the new progressive direction of the 15th century. The style of Fra Angelico (1400-1455) is a more traditional approach used by many artists of the Early Renaissance. He was less concerned about the perspective and was more interested in a decorative pattern. His coronation of the Virgin is an example of a tempo in the most beautiful performance. Funny, saturated colors against the background of gold and accented by gold. The picture looks like an enlarged miniature. Long narrow figures have little in common with Mazaccio. The composition is organized in wide lines of movement circling around the central figures of Christ and Mary.

Another Florentine who worked in the traditional style was Sandro Botticelli (1444-1515). The fluid rhythmic lines connect the areas of Botticelli. The figure of spring, transferred by the Western Wind, flashes on the right. Three grace dance in a circle, the fluttering folds of their dresses and the elegant movements of their hands express the rhythms of dance.

Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) studied painting in Florence. He is known for his scientific research and inventions, as well as his paintings. Very few of his paintings were preserved, partly because he often experimented with different methods of creating and using paint, and not using proven and reliable methods. The Last Supper (written between 1495 and 1498) was made in oil, but, unfortunately, Leonardo wrote it on a wet wall, due to which the paint split. But even in poor condition (before restoration), the picture had the ability to excite emotions for everyone who sees it.

One of the distinctive features of Leonardo's style was his method of depicting lights and darkness. The Italians called it semi -stained lighting SFUMOMOT, which means smoky or foggy. The figures in the Madonna of the rocks are veiled in the atmosphere of Sfuato. Their forms and features are softly shaded. Leonardo reached these effects using very thin gradations of light and dark tones.

The climax of the Renaissance painting occurred in the 16th century. At the same time, the Center for Art and Culture moved from Florence to Rome. Under Pope Sikst IV and his successor, Julius II, the city of Rome was gloriously and richly decorated with artists of the Renaissance. Some of the most ambitious projects of this period were started during the papacy of Julia II. Julius entrusted the great sculptor and painter Michelangelo (1475-1564) to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and cut the sculpture for the tomb of the pope. Julius also invited the painter Raphael (1483-1520) to help decorate the Vatican. With assistants, Rafael painted four rooms of dad’s apartments in the Vatican Palace.

Michelangelo, Florence by birth, developed a monumental style of painting. The figures in his picture are so strong and voluminous that they look like sculptures. The Sistine ceiling, which took 4 years from Michelangelo, consists of hundreds of human figures from the Old Testament. To fulfill this grand mural, Michelangelo had to go to his back on the woods. The thoughtful face of Jeremiah among the prophets that surround the ceiling, some experts consider Michelangelo a self -portrait.

Rafael came to Florence from Urbino as a very young man. In Florence, he absorbed the ideas of Leonardo and Michelangelo. By the time Rafael went to Rome to work in the Vatican, his style became one of the greatest in beauty. He especially loved his beautiful portraits of Madonna with a baby. They were reproduced by thousands, they can be seen everywhere. His Madonna del Grandok is successful thanks to its simplicity. Unprofitable in its peace and purity, it is as attractive to us as the Italians of the Raphael era.


Venice was the main northern Italian city of the Renaissance. It was visited by artists from Flanders and other regions that knew about Flemish experiments with oil paint. This stimulated the early use of oil technology in the Italian city. The Venetians learned to write paintings on a tightly elongated canvas, and not on wooden panels, usually used in Florence.

Giovanni Bellini (1430-1515) was the greatest Venetian artist of the 15th century. He was also one of the first Italian artists who used oil on canvas. Giorgone (1478-1151) and Titian (1488-1515), which is the most famous of all Venetian artists, were students in Bellini's workshop.

The master of oil technology Titian wrote huge canvases in warm, saturated colors.In his mature paintings, he sacrificed detail to create stunning effects, such as in the Pesaro Madonna. He used large brushes to make large strokes. His colors are especially rich because he patiently created glazes in contrasting colors. Typically, glazes were applied to a brown tempered surface, which gave the painting a uniform tone.

Another great Venetian painter of the 16th century was Tintoretto (1518-1594). Unlike Titian, he usually worked directly on canvas without preliminary sketches or outlines. He often distorted his forms (twisted them) for the sake of composition and drama of the plot. His technique, which includes broad strokes and dramatic contrasts of light and dark, seems very modern.

The artist Kyriakos Theotokopoulos (1541-1614) was known as El Greco (The Greek). Born on the island of Crete, which was occupied by the Venetian army, El Greco was trained by Italian artists. As a young man, he went to study in Venice. The combined influence of Byzantine art, which he saw around him in Crete, and Italian Renaissance art, made El Greco's work stand out.

In his paintings, he distorted natural forms and used even stranger, more ethereal colors than Tintoretto, whom he admired. Later, El Greco moved to Spain, where the bleakness of Spanish art influenced his work. In his dramatic vision of Toledo, a storm rages over the deadly silence of the city. Cold blues, greens and blue-whites carry the cold over the landscape.

Renaissance in Flanders and Germany

The golden age of painting in Flanders (now part of Belgium and northern France) was the 15th century, van Eyck's time. In the 16th century, many Flemish artists imitated the Italian Renaissance artists. However, some Flemings continued the Flemish tradition of realism. Then genre painting spread – scenes from everyday life that were sometimes charming and sometimes fantastic. Hieronymus Bosch (1450-1515), who preceded the genre painters, had an unusually vivid imagination. He came up with all sorts of strange, grotesque creatures for The Temptation of St. Anthony. Pieter Brueghel the Elder (1525-1569) also worked in the Flemish tradition, but added perspective and other Renaissance characteristics to his genre scenes.

Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528), Hans Holbein the Younger (1497-1543) and Lucas Cranach the Elder (1472-1553) were the three most important German painters of the 16th century. They did much to soften the gloomy realism of early German painting. Dürer made at least one visit to Italy, where he was impressed by the paintings of Giovanni Bellini and other northern Italians. Through this experience, he instilled in German painting a knowledge of perspective, a sense of color and light, and a new understanding of composition. Holbein learned even more Italian achievements.His sensitive drawing and the ability to choose only the most important details made it a portraitist master.

Baroque painting

The XVII century is known in art as a baroque period. In Italy, the artists of Karavaggio (1571-1610) and Annibale Carracci (1560-1609) represented two contrasting points of view. Caravaggio (the real name of Michelangelo Merisi) always drew inspiration directly from the realities of life. One of his main problems was to copy nature as accurately as possible, without glorifying it in any way. Karrachci, on the other hand, followed the ideal of the beauty of the Renaissance. He studied the ancient sculpture and work of Michelangelo, Raphael and Titian. The Caravaggio style delighted many artists, especially the Spaniard Riber and the young Velazquez. Karrachci inspired Nicola Pusen (1594-1665), an Ivesty French painter of the 17th century.


Diego Velazquez (1599-1660), a court painter of the Spanish king Philip IV, was one of the greatest of all Spanish artists. Being a fan of Titian's works, he was a master in the use of a rich, harmonious color. No artist could better create the illusion of rich tissues or human skin. The portrait of the little prince Philip Prosper shows this skill.


Pictures of the Flemish artist Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640) are the embodiment of a full-color Baroque style. They are torn by energy, color and light. Rubens tore with the Flemish tradition to draw small paintings. Its canvases are huge, filled with human figures. He received more orders of large paintings than he could fulfill. Therefore, he often painted only a small color sketch. Then his assistants transferred the sketch to a large canvas and ended the picture under the leadership of Rubens.


The achievements of the Dutch painter Rembrandt (1606-1669) are one of the most outstanding in history. He had a wonderful gift – to exactly catch and convey human emotions. Like Titian, he worked for a long time on the creation of multilayer paintings. Earth colors-yellow guard, brown and brown-red-were its favorites. His paintings are made mainly in dark colors. The importance of dark multilayer parts makes its technique unusual. The emphasis is transmitted by bright lighting relative to light areas.

Jan Vermeer (1632-1675) was in one of the groups of Dutch artists who wrote modest scenes of everyday life. He was a master in drawing any textures – satin, Persian carpets, bread crusts, metal. The overall impression of the interior of Vermar is a sunny, cheerful room filled with iconic household items.

Painting of the 18th century

In the 18th century, Venice made several beautiful artists. The most famous was Jovanni Battista Tiepolo (1696-1770). He adorned the interiors of palaces and other buildings with grandiose colorful frescoes representing scenes of wealth.Francesco Guardi (1712-1793) was very skilled with the brush, with just a few blobs of color he could conjure up the idea of ​​a tiny figure in a boat. The spectacular views of Antonio Canaletto (1697-1768) sang of the past glory of Venice.

France: Rococo style

In France, a taste for pastel colors and intricate decoration in the early 18th century led to the development of the Rococo style. Jean Antoine Watteau (1684-1721), court painter to King Louis XV, and later François Boucher (1703-1770) and Jean Honoré Fragonard (1732-1806) were associated with Rococo trends. Watteau wrote dreamy visions, a life in which everything is fun. The style is based on picnics in parks, forest parties where cheerful gentlemen and elegant ladies have fun in nature.

Other 18th-century artists depicted scenes of ordinary middle-class life. Like the Dutch Vermeer, Jean Baptiste Simeon Chardin (1699-1779) appreciated simple domestic scenes and still lifes. His colors are sober and calm compared to Watteau.


In the 18th century, the British first developed a separate school of painting. The core consisted mainly of portrait painters who were influenced by the Venetian Renaissance painters. Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792) and Thomas Gainsborough (1727-1788) are the best known. Reynolds, who traveled in Italy, followed the ideals of Renaissance painting. His portraits, charming and touching, are not particularly interesting in color or texture. Gainsborough, on the other hand, had a talent for brilliance. The surfaces of his paintings glow with a radiant color.

19th century painting

The 19th century is sometimes seen as the period during which modern art began to take shape. One important reason for the so-called revolution in art at this time was the invention of the camera, which caused artists to reconsider the purpose of painting.

A more important development was the widespread use of prefabricated paints. Until the 19th century, most artists or their assistants made their own paints by grinding pigment. Early commercial paints were inferior to hand paints. Artists in the late 19th century discovered that the dark blues and browns of earlier paintings turned black or gray over the course of several years. They started using solid colors again to save their work, and sometimes because they were trying to more accurately reflect sunlight in street scenes.

Spain: Goya

Francisco Goya (1746-1828) was the first great Spanish painter to emerge from the 17th century. As a favorite painter of the Spanish court, he made many portraits of the royal family. The royal characters are equipped with elegant clothes and fine jewelry, but on some of their faces, all that is reflected is vanity and greed. In addition to portraits, Goya painted dramatic scenes such as the Third of May 1808. This painting depicts a group of Spanish rebels being executed by French soldiers. Bold contrasts of light and dark and gloomy colors, shot through with red splashes, evoke a grim horror of the spectacle.

Although France was a great center of art in the 1800s, English landscape artists John Constable (1776-1837) and Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775-1851) made a valuable contribution to the 19th century painting. Both were interested in the painting of light and air, two aspects of nature, which the artists of the 19th century studied completely. The constable used a method known as a division, or broken color. He used contrasting colors over the main color of the background. He often used a palette knife to tightly apply color. The picture Hay Wain made it famous, after showing in Paris in 1824. This is a simple village scene of the haymaking. The clouds are drifted over meadows covered with spots of sunlight. Turner's paintings are more dramatic than that of a constable, who wrote the majestic attractions of nature – storms, sea landscapes, burning sunsets, high mountains. Often the golden haze partially hides objects in his paintings, forcing them to seem floating in infinite space.


The period of Napoleon’s reign and the French revolution marked the appearance of two opposite trends in French art – classicism and romanticism. Jacques Louis David (1748-1825) and Jean Auguste Dominic Engr (1780-1867) were inspired by ancient Greek and Roman art and the Renaissance. They emphasized the details and used the color to create solid forms. Being a beloved artist of the revolutionary government, David often wrote historical events of that period. In his portraits, such as Madame River, he sought to achieve classical simplicity.

Theodor Geriko (1791-1824) and the romantic Eugene Delacrois (1798-1863) rebelled against the style of David. For Delacroke, the color was the most important element in painting and it did not have patience to simulate classical statues. Instead, he admired Ruben and the Venetians. He chose colorful, exotic topics for his paintings that sparkle with light and are full of movement.

Barbison artists were also part of a general romantic movement, which lasted about 1820 to 1850. They worked near the village of Barbizon on the edge of the Fontainebleau forest. They drew inspiration in nature and ended the paintings in their studios.

Other artists experimented with everyday ordinary objects. The landscapes of Jean Batista Camille Kor (1796-1875) reflect his love of nature, and his studies of the human body show a kind of balanced calm. Gustav Kurbe (1819-1877) called himself a realist, because he portrayed the world as he saw him-even his harsh, unpleasant side. He limited his palette only a few gloomy flowers. Eduar Mane (1832-1883) also took the basis for his plots from the world around him. People were shocked by his colorful contrasts and unusual techniques. On the surfaces of his paintings, there is often a flat, patterned texture of strokes.Manet methods to apply light effects on the form influenced young artists, especially impressionists.

Working in the 1870s and 1880s, a group of artists known as impressionists wanted to portray nature exactly as it was. They went much further than the constable, Turner and mana in the study of the effects of light in color. Some of them have developed scientific color theories. Claude Monet (1840-1926) often wrote the same species at different times of the day to show how it changes in different conditions of illumination. Whatever the object, its paintings consist of hundreds of tiny strokes located next to each other, often in contrasting colors. At a distance, the strokes mix to create the impression of solid forms. Pierre Auguste Renoir (1841-1919) used the methods of impressionism to capture the holiday of Parisian life. In his “dance at Mulein de la Galett”, people in brightly colored clothes crowded and danced cheerfully. Renoir painted the whole picture with small strokes. The points and strokes of the paint create a texture on the surface of the picture, which gives it a special look. Crowds of people seem to dissolve in sunlight and flickering color.

Painting of the 20th century

A number of artists soon became unhappy with impressionism. Artists, such as Paul Cezann (1839-1906), felt that impressionism did not describe the strength of forms in nature. Cezanne liked to draw still lifes because they allowed him to focus on the shape of fruits or other objects and their location. The objects of his still lifes look firmly because he reduced them to simple geometric forms. His technique for placing stains of paint and short strokes of a rich color side by side shows that he learned a lot from the impressionists.

Vincent Van Gogh (1853-90) and Paul Gauguin (1848-1903) responded to the realism of impressionists. Unlike impressionists who said that they objectively examined nature, Van Gogh took a little care of accuracy. He often distorted objects to express his thoughts more creatively. He used impressionist principles for placing contrasting colors next to each other. Sometimes he squeezed the paint from the tubes directly to the canvas, as in the field of yellow corn.

Gauguin did not care about the spotted color of the impressionists. He smoothly used the color in large flat areas, which he separated from each other with lines or dark edges. Colorful tropical peoples provided most of his plots.

The method of Cezanne creating space using simple geometric shapes was developed by Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), Georges marriage (1882-1963) and others. Their style has become known as cubism. Cubists painted objects as if they could be seen from several corners at once or, as if they were dismantled and collected on a flat canvas. Often objects were not like anything existing in nature. Sometimes cubists cut out figures from fabric, cardboard, wallpaper or other materials and glued them to the canvas to make a collage.The textures also vary, adding sand or other substances to the paint.

Later trends were to pay less attention to the topic. The composition and image technique began to be more emphasis.