Figurative painting to abstract

Painting is a multi-millennial art. The earliest times, artists have sought to represent on the walls of caves, with charcoal and pigments found in the vicinity, which was important for their community and for themselves: the painter was then shaman and his mediumship drawn over the stone, had prepared prolific hunts.

Extraordinary cave paintings of Lascaux and Chauvet in France, Altamira in Spain and many sites in North Africa and the Middle East are prime examples.

Archaeological excavations have uncovered magnificent frescoes, less ancient, that decorated places of worship and palaces.

Later, for reasons of mobility, pictorial works were painted on wood and in the fifteenth century, gradually on canvas, in France and in Venice. The linen was used mainly because very resistant, ideal for oil painting.

Painting on canvas was used to decorate the churches of religious scenes and the houses of generous patrons or rich bourgeois who wanted to transmit to posterity their portrait or that of a be loved one. The painting was the only known way to represent color ... But she was transformed by the look of the artist.

Many schools of painting were born in the Renaissance, especially in Italy, as well as improvements in the interpretation of reality: dots and lines of flight, blurred background  to highlight the main subject (the "sfumato" of Leonardo da Vinci), composition with the golden number (and, here, we already enter in an esoteric vision of art), etc...

The representation of the real or dreamed reality and imagined scenes from religious writings or Greek and Latin epics has long held artists and their workshops, asleep in the academism.

The invention of photography in 1839, has gradually allowed artists to think differently the representation of reality (the reality now illustrated by the photograph). They can finally unleash their inner feelings and their perception of light to make to dance colors and pose new forms in their works.

The English painter JMW Turner (1775-1851), the precursor, and the Impressionists took pleasure to thumb its nose at the academy but also to follow their personal vision of reality, playing with colors, shapes and light.

These early attempts at interpretation of reality should not, of course, stop there. The artist could finally spend from seen to felt, especially as late nineteenth-early twentieth century. The overall vision of the world begins to change.

Basic research: quantum physics with Max Planck and the theory of relativity Albert Einstein are the source of a doubt on what may be the reality. Paul Valéry shall then remarked: "Neither matter nor space nor time are not the same, these last twenty years, that they had always been."

It is in this crucible, loss of past marks, birth of new ideas, gradually, artists have felt right to make go back up, from their own background and culture, realities, hitherto unknown , felt or approached the depths of their being and lay these on paper or canvas.

The first, Vassily Kandinsky, offers its "abstract watercolor" dated 1910 and "With the Black Arc" in 1912 and "In the Gray" in 1919. Then we can see Frantisek Kupka (native bohemian who exploit his talents of medium  for his painting and to live) and finally Piet Mondrian and Kasimir Malevich "I have broken the ring of the horizon, I left the circle of things ... This infernal ring isolates the painter from the end's goal... ".

The world of painting and art in general is now wide open to creative imagination and any painter, "medium" (without knowing) , can finally get rid of matter, space and time.

Didier Cassanas
(June 2014)
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