288,705 artworks, 28,659 artists
Painting rightfully claims to be the most ancient art. Among the definitions, the dominant formulation belongs to the Brockhaus and Efron encyclopaedic dictionary: “Painting is the art of depicting objects on a surface with paints, in order to make an impression on the viewer similar to what he would receive from real objects of nature, as well as to cause a certain mood in the viewer or express any artistic idea by means of the combination and nature of the objects depicted...

Theorists classify types of painting by their scale and scope. The most common are examples of easel painting: the artist makes the image with paints on canvas, paper, cardboard or wood using a brush and an easel. This type has many techniques, styles and genres and it has remained a fundamental subject in art schools and universities for five centuries. Monumental painting spread in Europe back in antiquity and has survived in the form of frescoes, church and palace wall paintings, and requires diligence and exclusive mastery of technique from the artist. Decorative art exists in human dwellings in the form of drawings on objects and details of the interior, furniture and dishes. The virtuoso painting technique singled out the art of miniature in a separate direction. The digital image appeared with the development of computer technology in the second half of the 20th century.

The first painted works have come down to us in the form of rock paintings. Images of animals, plants, hunting scenes conveyed the human perception of the surrounding world and the desire to share it. In the days of antiquity, images acquired the accuracy of details, the beginnings of volume and perspective. The paintings of the Middle Ages became flat and stylized, and the artists mainly focused on the brilliance, clarity of contours, emphasized the spirituality and religiosity of the worldview. The art history remembers the Renaissance era as a turning point in the development of pictorial art. There appeared painting genres, including genre sceneportrait and landscape; painting techniques went beyond tempera painting. During that period, masters began to paint in oil and they tended to move away from religious subjects, paying more attention to the beauty of nature and aspects of human life. The Renaissance era laid the foundation for the emergence of classicismmannerism and baroque, the organization of art schools. In the 19th century, painting became an integral part of the cultural life of society, and the painting subject matters vividly reflected human moods and ideals. With the development of technical progress, society lost interest in the art of academic painting schools. This made artists look for individual, tough and provocative ways of self-expression: that was how avant-garde, expressionism, abstractionismcubism appeared.

Since early 16th century, subject matter and compositional rules for constructing an image were formed, and over two centuries the paintings were divided into painting genres. The portrait was a realistic depiction of a person. The artists strove for external resemblance to the original and emphasized the aesthetically advantageous features of the model’s appearance. Landscape painting transported the viewer to inaccessible places; the paintings conveyed the state of nature and its subjective perception by the painter. With the development of cities, architectural painting and urban landscape appeared, and the artists of the Dutch school created magnificent examples of the marina — sea landscapes. Animaliers dedicated their work to animals and birds, both existing and fictitious. The economic prosperity of the European countries in the 17th century glorified luxury goods, jewelry and elements of the comfortable life. The “king” of baroque painting, still life, appeared: paintings with inanimate objects, flower compositions, dishes, fruit and vegetables. Poor and unknown artists could not afford the hired models and equipped workshops. Asceticism contributed to the development of genre painting: the artists captured the scenes of everyday life, and in the 17th century, they created images with underlying themes, idealized heroes and filled their subjects with sublime emotions.

Artists of antiquity were content with drawings on multi-layer plaster as they created light and airy frescoes. The materials for the religious paintings of the Middle Ages were wood panels, primed boards and egg tempera. The masters of the Late Renaissance enriched the tempera technique with oil and varnish additives. The 17—18th centuries brought a triumph for multilayer oil painting: the artists created large-scale images on canvas, improved the palette of tones and shades, the rendering of volume, the chiaroscuro, and strove for extreme line precision. With the advent of chamber fine art, artists used simple techniques more often: ink, pastel and watercolor. Synthetic acrylic paints brought vibrant colors to the visual arts and helped preserve the canvas coverage. However, in the 21st century, oil painting remains the favourite technique of artists.

Famous pictures:
The Last Supper” 1498 by Leonardo da Vinci; “The Garden of Earthly Delights” 1510 by Hieronymus Bosch; “The Nightwatch” 1642, “Danaë” 1647 by Rembrandt van Rijn; “Girl with a Pearl Earring” 1665 by Jan Vermeer; “Luncheon on the Grass” 1863 by Édouard Manet; “The Hunters at Rest” 1871 by Vasily Perov; “The Memory of the Woman-Child” 1932, “Dream Caused by the Flight of a Bee Around a Pomegranate a Second Before Awakening” 1934 by Salvador Dalí.

Famous painters:
Leonardo da Vinci, Hieronymus Bosch, Albrecht Dürer, Anthony van Dyck, Francisco Goya, Vincent van Gogh, Ivan Aivazovsky, Claude Monet, Salvador Dalí.