According to a BVA survey, 20% of French people have already bought a work of art . Although contemporary art does not appeal to the majority of the general public, historical works of art still interest many people who survey the finest painting museums. The opportunity to discover the greatest masterpieces of French painting through various movements such as Impressionism, Symbolism, Dadaism, Classicism, Romanticism, Cubism or even Expressionism.
From still life to self-portrait, including wall painting or oil on canvas, the history of painting and its great artists have seen it all. Here is a small summary of the information to remember about this 3rd art.
The history of art, and more precisely the history of painting, has been marked by great painters. Without knowing anything about the history of painting, many have already heard of the great names of the 3rd art . Picasso, Van Gogh, Da Vinci, Dali, Matisse, or even Michelangelo are among these great characters widely known to the general public.
Many museums allow visitors to discover the large canvases and oil paintings which have made the reputation of painting and which are entirely part of the history of France or elsewhere.
In France there is one of the most famous museums: the Louvre museum . But art lovers can also take advantage of the Orsay museum or the Georges Pompidou center to admire the great works of contemporary painting.
According to recent studies, 6 in 10 French people say they go to the museum at least once a month . An average that explodes in the capital since it is easier to access this kind of establishment. However, the other big cities do not lack collections and offer, for the most part, a Museum of Fine Arts.
All these artistic meetings thus allow to discover the greatest painters, all periods and artistic movements combined.
At the Louvre museum, you can admire painters such as Lénoard de Vinci and his famous Mona Lisa, but also Théodore de Géricault, Rembrandt, Courbet and Le Caravaggio . Painters from the Italian Renaissance to the beginning of modern painting. It is also possible to admire the most beautiful paintings of Antiquity while strolling in the alleys devoted to Egypt or to Greece.
At the Musée d’Orsay, you can also admire great painters in the history of art such as Van Gogh, Gauguin, Monet, Manet, Cézanne, Renoir , and many others. The history of painting is long and many painter made a name for themselves with their contemporaries, and sometimes much later.
In any case, their works, regularly restored, reach us today for the pleasure of our eyes. Klimt, Kandinsky, Van eyck, Giotto, Fra angelico, Véronèse, Degas, Botticelli, Rubens, Goya, Vermeer, Duchamp, Ingres, Pissarro, Mondrian, Seurat, Toulouse-Lautrec, Chagall, the list of the great painters of history n ‘does not end.
The top 10 paintings to know absolutely!
The works sometimes exceed the masters. Thus large historical paintings have marked the spirits over the centuries, leaving the image in the head of the general public, without necessarily being associated with the name of the artist. Some canvases marked by their strangeness , others by the subject they deal with , or even because they mark the beginning of a great change in the history of painting .
One of the most famous paintings, as well known as its author, is the famous Mona Lisa . Painted by Leonardo da Vinci, it is now an international star at the Louvre Museum. Thousands of visitors flock to the museum to see this work so original for the time. Painted like today’s portraits, the Mona Lisa is intriguing with her smile, but also with her gaze that follows visitors wherever they may be. This strangeness of the canvas continues to intrigue many art historians who look into the subject.
In the category of popular works, it is also possible to cite a famous painting by the painter Edvard Munch entitled ” The Scream “ . Painted in 1893, the work represents a humanoid form as frightened as it is frightening. Known to the general public and repeatedly misused, the work is still talked about today.
Other large canvases are known to deal with strong subjects and have sometimes become real symbols. This is particularly the case with a painting by Eugène Delacroix entitled ” Liberty leading the people “ . Great symbol of the republic thanks to the allegory of freedom represented by a woman wearing the Phrygian cap, the painting is one of the most famous in the history of art.
It is the same for the “ Raft of the Medusa ” by Théodore Géricault which represented the sinking of the royal navy or for “ Guernica ” by Pablo Picasso who denounced the horrors of the Spanish civil war .
Finally, several paintings have become famous for having announced a new artistic movement or for having inspired it. It is indeed thanks to Claude Monet’s painting “ Impression, soleil levant ” that the impressionist movement was born. As well as the famous ” Great wave of Kanagawa ” of Hokusai which influenced all the impressionist painters.
Other paintings marked major upheavals in the art world. This is particularly the case of Edouard Manet and his ” Déjeuner surherbe “ , the first modern painting, or even of ” Demoiselles d’Avignon ” by Pablo Picasso who created the cubist movement, and finally of the ” Persistence of Dali’s memory ” for surrealism. Large paintings which still mark the major stages in the history of painting today.
Discover the history of painting!
Painting was born much earlier than one might think. And no, Leonardo da Vinci is not one of the first masters of painting!
Long before him, prehistoric men already used paint . Painters from another time then painted the animals of their time. In particular, there are representations of mammoths in several European archaeological sites. To paint, our ancestors especially used colors such as black, yellow ocher and red ocher .
Antiquity is also a great artistic period since the Greek, Roman and Egyptian civilizations do not hesitate to decorate the walls as well as the painting ceramics representing men or even architectural elements.
In the Middle Ages and in the West, paintings were made on manuscripts or on wooden boards. The representations are then related to religions and especially Christianity. A theme that has been discussed for a long time, since painting will serve religion for several centuries before this medium really breaks free from it.
The Italian Renaissance is an opportunity to see the appearance of geniuses of painting such as Botticelli or Leonardo da Vinci. The study of the environment and the sciences marked notable changes for art. The prospect starts to be represented and human bodies have never been real.
Little by little, the Renaissance gave way to baroque painting, represented in particular by the artist Le Caravaggio. Baroque paintings are particularly concerned with depicting tragic scenes from the Bible. The paintings are dark due to the chiaroscuro technique. The painters thus accentuate the contrasts by illuminating part of the painting, thus creating shadows in certain places.
A few years later, in the middle of the 17th century, some painters like Fragonard decided to lighten up the themes used in painting, we then speak of rococo . The paintings are rather joyful and sensual, even sometimes erotic.
Towards the end of the 18th century, painters took a new turn by deciding to return to the fundamentals of art . The artists were then inspired by ancient architecture and painted simpler, more refined canvases, which we would call neoclassical . Then comes the romantic movement during which artists paint in a melancholy way events where nature takes back its rights. Events also painted in the realism of Courbet . The painting is then in a way, the photography of the time.
With the arrival of cameras, painting therefore lost its role of representing reality. No need to paint portraits, or the big events of this world. Painting then becomes a way of expressing oneself and of giving one’s own vision of the world.
The history of painting will then know many movements such as pop art or fauvism. Until today when painters continue to draw inspiration from the great of this world while trying to find a place in history.
Who are the most famous contemporary painters?
Painting has therefore evolved well since prehistoric times. Contemporary painters use the codes of their predecessors while including a personal touch. Among the most famous artists of our time, we can mention:
- Gerhard Richter,
- Yan Pei Ming,
- Yue Minjun,
- Martial Raysse,
- Anselm Kiefer,
- Philippe Garel,
- Gérard Garouste,
- Miquel Barcelo,
- Vladimir Veličković,
- Georg Baselitz,
- Pierre Soulages,
- Marlene Dumas.