If you are an art lover or someone who has interest in visual form of art, then you will agree with us that since the inception of paintings, imitation of real world has been the sole goal of painters. These paintings depicted humans, animals, birds and other aspects of real world as figures, or as they were. Such paintings that were derived from the real world came to be known as Figurative Paintings. Since these paintings represented real world they were also termed as representational paintings.
Evolution of Figurative Art
Figurative art, be it a painting or a sculpture, is centered on an implicit understanding of figures and shapes. Some may say that the perfect example of this form of art are sculptures of ancient Greece. These structures were not realistic, for its proportions were idealized. On one hand Greek sculptures were flawless, while on the other hand Egyptian sculptures were based on imagery based on memory. It is clear from this comparison that with the passage of time idealization was replaced by observation. This became all the more clear from the Classical sculptures that were created in and around 480 B.C. Traces of Figurative Paintings can be seen through the Renaissance to the present day contemporary art. During all this time, figurative art continuously kept on expanding its range and parameter.
Common Themes and Elements Associated with Figurative Art
There is a misconception among people that Figurative Paintings are same as FigurePaintings that depict human figures and animals. Human figures, animals and birds are recurring subjects and themes of Figurative Paintings.Like any other genre of paintings, the aesthetic elements and effects of figurative art comprises of line, shape and patter, color scheme, light effects, texture, feel and viewpoint.
Famous Artists Associated with Figurative Art
Eminent artists like Nicolas Poussin, Paul Cezanne, Gustave Courbet and the most popular EdouardManet practiced and incorporated the techniques and intricacies offigurative art. These artists, among many others, paved way for the multi-faceted figurative art of the modern day.
Figurative Paintings and Photographs
With the passage of time artists drifted away from the idea of depicting real world in paintings. From the ancient cave paintings depicting the wild life to the late 19th century, there were numerous art movements where artists experimented with different genres, techniques and mediums to create distinct artworks. For them, painting was a medium of expressing their creativity and those who drew inspiration from nature or real world was not creative in true sense. Further, with the invention of camera, they did not feel the need to stick with the realistic approach of painting, and started exploring and experimenting with other aspects of composition of paintings like line, shape, lighting effect, figures and colors. Many art historians and critics are of the opinion that the arrival of camera paved the way for the obvious fall of Figurative Paintings. As camera captured an accurate image of the real world and as clicking a picture with camera was more convenient than creating paintings, painters no longer found takers for their work. No one was interested in commissioning an artist to paint detailed portraits and scenic paintings. This eventually led to the fall of ancient technique of Figurative Paintings.
Figurative Art in Modern World
It was in the late 19th century and early 20th century that artists started experimenting with the idea of abstracting images from real world and presenting them as impressions. Although, they were turning to the real world for inspiration, but they were not imitating objects as they werecapturing the impression of objects. Such paintings were classified under the genre of Impressionism. Impressionist paintings are examples of Abstract Art. In contrast to Figurative Paintings, abstract art and its different forms are non-representational. Also, they are non-objective as they are not derived from any object. In this sense, many art critics are of the opinion that abstract art is truest form of art.In the contemporary world, the term “figurative” is frequently used to bespeak any painting that has evident references to the real world.
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