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Figurative paintings

Carré d'artistes presents a wide selection of figurative paintings . Figurative painting is an artistic style which aims to depict real life subjects Portraits, landscapes and still lifes are all examples of figurative painting.

Figurative painting

In the west, the figurative style can be traced in all the arts of the Renaissance, Baroque period,19th century realism, and 20th century hyperrealism. Figurative artistic styles are all more or less idealistic, naturalistic, realistic, and hyperrealistic. The artist attempts to imitate nature or what he sees, as faithfully as possible. But there is yet more to figurative painting. It can also be the expression of what the artist when faced with the natural world. The romantic movement and Turner are perfect examples. The figurative style may also conjure strangeness, as in the symbolist movement, with Gustave Moreau. Impressionism coincided with the availability of painting sold in tubes. The movement experimented with perception, with the playful use of light and colours. Many painters try to escape the bounds of figurative art by exploring colour. Sisley, Monet, and Pissaro are some examples. In the 20th century, expressionism went even further, with violent tones, altered reality and powerful styles. There are multiple figurative styles. As technology advances, with the microscope, cinema, with photography and psychoanalysis, etc., artists are increasingly called upon to question reality and representation. There is an immense field of possibilities in figurative painting, bordering on abstraction. Figurative painting also encompasses artist's own interpretations of the real world, such as cubists like Picasso, Braque, Jean Metzinger, Albert Gleizes, Juan Gris, Marie Laurencin, Fernand Léger, Francis Picabia, Marcel Duchamp and Raymond Duchamp -Villon. Figurative artists wish to represent what they see using their own graphic solutions, their refusal or not of traditional creative processes , their way of analysing problems linked to figuration, their artistic quest in general and their own style.


These paintings strive to represent models as they are in real life. When an artist endeavours to faithfully replicate what he sees, he is engaged in naturalistic art. The painter wants to amplify what he sees by focusing on the essential, using geometrical patterns and playing with shapes... He creates new shapes or alters what he sees, stylises the object represented to show it as it is. Naturalism plays with the coherence of altered shapes and the harmony of compositions of reorganised shapes.

Figurative painting is different from abstract art

Figurative painting is often contrasted with abstract art. From 1910 onwards, with the painter Vassily Kandinsky, painters no longer saw the attempt to represent nature as something essential. Abstract art is art which makes no attempt to represent real life objects. Abstract art is defined as non-objective or non-figurative art. However, abstract art depends on the sort of subtle,precise observation skills which allow an artists to attempt its deconstruction. Paul Cézanne, Piet Mondrian andPablo Picasso managed to achieve this feat.

Francis Bacon, the last of figurative artist?

Francis Bacon's work, often covering large triptychs, describes his life, his relationship with his relatives and his inspiration from figurative painters, such as Diego Vélasquez, Vincent van Gogh or Pablo Picasso. He took figurative painting to a new level, by questioning his tortured portraits. His paintings represent nudes or faces as if they were folded into the very texture of the canvas. Francis Bacon's painting, inspired by great artists of the past, breathed new life into portrait art in the 20th century.

Chromo painting and figurative painting

Although Pablo Picasso is the artist known internationally for having thrust historical figurative art centre stage, Francis Bacon is the most famous artist of the 20th century, in that he lent continuity to the abstract movement. Picasso and Warhol broadened the scope of figurative art. Figuration is often disparaged and neglected by art critics. If the transavantgarde of the 80s made art lovers believe that figurative art had disappeared, the contemporary figurative style was born again from its ashes thanks to chromo painting.

Contemporary and figurative artists

Today, contemporary artists are increasingly interested in figurative art and hyperrealism. The split between abstraction and figuration no longer exists. Philippe Bluzot, for example, has produced many striking figurative paintings… Some of Eric Zener's oil paintings show a woman diving into water. Marek Okrassa, Jeffrey Palladini, Arnaud Liard, Francine Van Hove, Andrzej Borowski are other contemporary figurative artists who constantly explore the limits between abstract and real, figurative and visible. Carré d'artistes invites you to discover figurative paintings by the following contemporary artists: Eva Petkova, Niankoye Lama, Franz Alias, Cécile Colombo, Geiry ...


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8171 Artworks



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