Western painting  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

The history of Western painting represents a continuous, though disrupted, tradition from Antiquity. Until the early 20th century it relied primarily on representational and Classical motifs, after which time more purely abstract and conceptual modes gained favor.

Developments in Western painting historically parallel those in Eastern painting, in general a few centuries later. African art, Islamic art, Indian art, Chinese art, and Japanese art each had significant influence on Western art, and, eventually, vice-versa.

Initially serving religious patronage, Western painting later found audiences in the aristocracy and the middle class. From the Middle Ages through the Renaissance painters worked for the church and a wealthy aristocracy. Beginning with the Baroque era artists received private commissions from a more educated and prosperous middle class. By the 19th century painters became liberated from the demands of their patronage to only depict scenes from religion, mythology, portraiture or history. The idea "art for art's sake" began to find expression in the work of painters like Francisco de Goya, John Constable, and J.M.W. Turner.

Western painting's zenith takes place in Europe, during the Renaissance in conjunction with the refinement of drawing, use of perspective, ambitious architecture, tapestry, stained glass, sculpture, and the period before and after the advent of the printing press.Following the depth of discovery and the complexity of innovations of the Renaissance the rich heritage of Western painting (from the Baroque to Contemporary art) continues into the 21st century.

Contemporary painting into the 21st century

At the beginning of the 21st century Contemporary painting and Contemporary art in general continues in several contiguous modes, characterized by the idea of pluralism. The "crisis" in painting and current art and current art criticism today is brought about by pluralism. There is no consensus, nor need there be, as to a representative style of the age. There is an anything goes attitude that prevails; an "everything going on", and consequently "nothing going on" syndrome; this creates an aesthetic traffic jam with no firm and clear direction and with every lane on the artistic superhighway filled to capacity. Consequently magnificent and important works of art continue to be made albeit in a wide variety of styles and aesthetic temperaments, the marketplace being left to judge merit.

Hard-edge painting, Geometric abstraction, Appropriation, Hyperrealism, Photorealism, Expressionism, Minimalism, Lyrical Abstraction, Pop art, Op art, Abstract Expressionism, Color Field painting, Monochrome painting, Neo-expressionism, Collage, Intermedia painting, Assemblage painting, Digital painting, Postmodern painting, Neo-Dada painting, Shaped canvas painting, environmental mural painting, Graffiti, traditional figure painting, Landscape painting, Portrait painting, are a few continuing and current directions in painting at the beginning of the 21st century.




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Western painting" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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