When pigment mixed in a liquid is applied to canvas,
paper or any other surface, this action is termed as
painting. Effectively, colour is the soul of painting and
its use is always welcomed as it has varying psychological
effects on viewing individuals. The meaning of paintings to
an artist is however not all this elementary. For him,
besides adding colour, it involves conceptualizing,
sketching and often, being inspired
The art of painting has ventured through a long journey. The
earliest known paintings – claimed to be around 32000 years
old are displayed at the Grotte Chauvet (France). The only
other instances of paintings earlier than these are cave
paintings which are seen in almost every part of the world.
Their main content was ‘animals’ which is attributed to
Some say prehistoric man was trying to catch an animal by
first capturing its spirit with his paintings while others
hold that he was glorifying Mother Nature on walls while
still others believe that he was simply expressing himself.
During the middle ages, painting as part of ‘medieval art’
acquired forma like Byzantine Art, illuminated manuscripts,
Gothic and Romanesque styles (in churches and monasteries of
Italy and to the north of Europe).
As times transformed from the middle ages to the
Renaissance, so did art paintings via the hands of great
painters such as Michaelangelo Buanaroti, Titan, Leonardo Da
Vinci and Raphael to name only a few. Renaissance made the
art more realistic by putting studies of perspective,
proportion and human anatomy into use. ‘Mannerism’ was a
style of the late Renaissance.
Renaissance painting was followed by Baroque Painting.
Vermeer, Rembrandt, Caravaggio, Rubens and Velaquez are some
well known Baroque painters. They approached painting with
realism as in the Renaissance and the use of light effects
to make their scenes dramatic was an identifying feature of
Then came Rocco which is often termed as a sub-division of
Baroque itself. This style was however, not so heavy and
often even erotic. Giovanni, Thomas Gaingborough, Fragonard,
Watteau, Battista Tiepolo and Boucher were Rocco painters
who dominated the 18th century towards its end.
The 19th century has Neo-classicism, Impressionism and
Romanticism at their peaks. Neo-classicism and Romanticism,
most distinctly characterized in the works of David and
Ingres respectively, put ‘nature’ on a pedestal whereas
Impressionism had a more realistic approach as seen in the
paintings of Monet and Camelle Corot. Vincent Van Gogh, Paul
Cezzane and Paul Gauguin were Impressionists whose work
edged Modernism which is the latest turn art painting seems
to have taken towards Contemporary Art.