Different Types of Paintings

Key Difference:  Paintings have a special place in fine arts. They are known for their aesthetic value. There are different styles, techniques, mediums associated with paintings and are considered to classify paintings. Still life, portraits, modern, landscape and religious are some common types of paintings differentiated on the basis of their subject matter.

Painting refers to the act of using and applying paint, pigments or similar other mediums on the surface. Painting is usually done by using brushes. However, some other implements like knives, airbrushes, etc. are also used depending upon the style or medium used for the painting.

There are numerous ways of classifying paintings as they can be classified on the bases of medium and surface used for painting, style adopted for painting, subject of painting, etc. In context to fine art work, paintings can be classified on the basis of their subject or object which is being displayed. Some of the common types of paintings are -

Still life – In these paintings, painter paints things which are immovable and that is why it is known as still life painting.  Fruits and flowers have been one of the favorite subjects covered under this category. Willem Kalf is famous for paintings which reflect the status of their owner. It needs a high level of skill to capture the still life on surface through any medium.

Portrait – This painting primarily focuses only on the face and expressions of a person. Self-portrait is also a type of portrait which shows the artist himself. Portraits are mainly classified into three broad categories – portrait of an individual, group or self-portrait. Portraits developed as a genre especially during the eighteenth and nineteenth century.

Landscape – The word landscape is derived from the Dutch word ‘landschap’ which means a patch of ground. It depicts a scenic view that includes entities like hills, mountains, river, forests, etc. Long time back, portraits were valued more than the landscapes, but over the years landscapes have gained a high status. It requires a lot of skills to successfully capture the view through paintings.

Genre- These paintings work as mirror of real life as they capture activities of day to day life. It can be simply painted to show some people at work or at some event, etc. Village life has been a favorite subject of Ukrainian genre painting. Individual figures play a vital role in genre paintings. These paintings capture normal events which are not extraordinary. In case the composition is posed, the painting may also fall in the category of still life.

History Painting – Many people consider that this category covers paintings with historic scenes only. However, the term is reserved for paintings which depict a story which includes many figures in action and also captures their emotions. The word history has been derived from the Italian word ‘istoria’ which means narrative. Botticelli was one of the great history painters whose key works include La Primavera ("Spring").

Religious painting – The subject of these paintings is in context to religious matter. During renaissance period in Europe many wealthy people gifted these paintings to religious institutions. Leonardo da Vinci’s the last Supper also fall in this category. These paintings are also known as sacred paintings.

Modern Painting – These paintings focus on fresh ideas and experimentations. These paintings can be considered as revolutionary paintings as they do not follow any conventional rules of paintings. These paintings were introduced by artists like Paul Gauguin and Vincent van Gogh. These paintings are considered to be thought invoking and can be interpreted in different ways by the viewers. Styles like abstract expressionism, lyrical abstraction, cubism, surrealism, conceptual art, pop art, photorealism, hyperrealism, etc. are closely associated with the modern style of paintings.

There are numerous mediums to choose for paintings. These mediums include – acrylics, water colors, oil, charcoal, pens, etc. A wide range of surfaces are also available like canvas, paper, fabric, mural and many more. Digital paintings are also made these days.



Image Courtesy: danielchiriac.com, webneel.com, saleoilpaintings.com, encyclopediaofukraine.com, spinnet.eu, kingsgalleries.com, paperblog.com

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