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Brief History of Painting

The history of visual art started nearly 22 000 years ago when first cave drawings depicting animals appeared in South-Western Europe and North Africa.

The founder of European painting, which laid the foundations of art realism, is considered to be the Florentine painter Giotto di Bondone. His frescos with biblical themes are still considered masterpieces of world art.

In early 15th century oil painting was invented, which greatly facilitated the work of painters. In addition, use of the perspective, which allowed them to delusively depict three-dimensional interiors and landscapes is typical for artworks of Renaissance artists.

The landmark in the history of painting was invention of the camera in approximately 1850. While some artists now unemployed were engaged in coloring black and white photos, others, since late 1860s, managed to give their 'glimpses' a new form of expression: so impressionism arose.

Amongst its most famous artists are Claude Monet, Eduard Manet and Pierre Auguste Renoir.

Significant influence on the development of contemporary painting was exercised predominantly by oil portrait paintings, self portraits, still life paintings and landscapes of the Dutch post-impressionist artist Vincent van Gogh.

The art of the first half of the 20th century experienced a real boom. One after another in pictural art, graphics, and sculpture emerged new developments: cubism, futurism, constructivism, suprematism, dadaism, expressionism, surrealism, abstract expressionism etc. In the 1950s the pop art oriented at popular culture was born. And the invention of acrylic paint revolutionized the technique of painting.

By 1950 art had a dilemma; classical painting seemed to have come to its end. It was only in the 80's that contemporary artists renewed their interest in it. And since the early 21st century new forms of expression and marketing strategies have shown that modern art is still quite capable of astonishing.

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Famous Artists and Their Famous Paintings

The founder of the Proto-Renaissance, the Italian artist Giotto di Bondone, is named the father of European painting. He broke with the Byzantine icon- painting tradition, laying the foundations of realism.

A representative of the High Renaissance, an Italian Leonardo da Vinci who admired his work brought realism to a completely new level of quality. With the help of sfumato (haze, which removes the sharpness of lines and color renditions) he achieved a completely new effect in the perception of painting.

One of the most outstanding Dutch artists of all time is justly considered Rembrandt Harmens van Rijn. With his largest-scale painting "Night Watch" he anticipated the artistic achievements of realism and impressionism of the 19th century.

The most famous paintings of impressionism include a cyclus of 250 works by a French artist, one of the most famous impressionists, Claude Monet's "Water Lilies". Besides, the ideas and plastic assets of such outstanding impressionists as Pierre- Auguste Renoir, Edouard Manet, Edgar Degas, Alfred Sisley and Camille Pissarro can still be found in the painting of contemporary artists of France and other countries of the world.

Creative endeavor of post- impressionists Vincent Van Gogh, Paul Gauguin and Paul Cezanne gave impetus to the development of various areas of contemporary art. Thus, vivid and dynamic works by Van Gogh became the basis for the appearance of expressionism in the future.

In the 19th century the great success of one of the best Russian artists Karl Bryullov's painting "The Last Day of Pompeii" gave Belinsky a reason to call him "the first artist of Europe".

The cubic period of the creative activity of the famous French and Spanish artist Pablo Picasso begins from the famous painting "Avignon girls" created in 1907. The picture was revolutionary for that time: it affected the common ideas about aesthetics and, of course, influenced the development of modern painting.

One of the most famous living German artists in the world is Gerhard Richter. Collectors show great interested in his abstractions of the late 20th century. In 2008 one of these works named "An Abstract Painting," was bought by Roman Abramovich for $ 15.1 million.

The famous landscape painter Anatoly Kryvolap is considered to be one of the most expensive Ukrainian artists. In 2013 his painting "A horse. Evening "was sold in London for 186.9 thousand dollars which is a record high price for the modern Ukrainian art.

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Painting Techniques

Technique of painting means application of a paint layer on a canvas or other material (wood, cardboard, paper, etc.) as well as use of paints that differ in their binding agent.

The most famous techniques of painting include encaustic, fresco painting, painting in tempera paints, painting in oil and acrylic. Gouache, pastel and watercolor due to their specifics are considered by some experts as graphic techniques.

In the encaustic technique that existed in ancient Egypt and the ancient world, wax is used as a binder. It was in it that the funerary Fayum portraits known all over the world were made.

Fresco is painting on still fresh, moist lime plaster, one of the techniques of mural paintings. Paint pigments are kneaded on a water basis, and fresh plaster acts as a binding agent.

Tempera painting is characterized by a high drying speed, which makes it difficult to achieve the desired color transitions when applying a new paint layer. Tempera paint is a dry powder pigments diluted with water. Binders of tempera inks are emulsions of natural origin (egg, egg yolk, casein glue) or artificial (polymers).

Dutch masters of the early XV century are considered to be inventors of oil painting. A pioneering role is attributed to the Flemish Jan van Eyck, although in his paintings he mixed oil and tempera. In oil painting fine-grained paint pigments are mixed with different oils (walnut, poppy, linseed oil, etc.). This painting technique was the most popular until the middle of the twentieth century.

The production of synthetic binders meant a revolutionary step in painting. Artists discovered acrylic paints in the mid-1950s. Manufactured on a water basis, they are very convenient to use. As it dries fast acrylic paint provides contemporary artists with unlimited possibilities for creative experiments.

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