Interior in Painting

9,569 artworks, 2,089 artists
Interior painting (fr. interieur — “interior”) is an image of the interior decoration of a room or building on the canvas. Art critics called this genre “chamber art”. In such works, artists show the size, design and function of the room, emphasizing the elements of the era, as well as the national and social affiliation of people. The genre depicts a person’s life through the world of things around him/her. The philosopher Georg Hegel called the interior “a kind of human clothing”.

The elements of the interior art appeared on the canvases of the Renaissance artists and they formed a full-fledged direction at the beginning of the 17th century, primarily in Dutch painting. The bourgeois era created a kind of cult of things and glorified the everyday life of man. After the images of people and saints, “portraits of premises” arose. By the end of the 20th century, interior painting became widespread in Europe and Russia. The subjects, styles and painting techniques developed along with historical events and social changes. The images of the interiors made it possible to see the life of peoples, families or individuals through their household items.

The 17th century artists emphasized the poetry of everyday life in their works when they portrayed their subjects surrounded with furniture. The light from the window or the hearth became the subjects of the paintings, along with static cooks or artisans. Later in the 19th century, interior painting became a chronicle of the time, fixing the life and actions of people. The 20th century brought the intellectual and technical manifestations of the artists’ creative search into the genre, turned the interior from a room portrait into an allegorical portrait of personality and time.

In portraiture and genre painting, the interior acts as a backdrop for the main subject matters, it remains only an additional theme. In historical scenes, it helps to convey the realism of the events depicted, emphasizes drama and enhances the impact on the viewer.

The “chamber art” requires a realistic image of objects and space, so artists improved themselves in applying the technique of light and shadow, volume, texture and perspective depicting. A careful selection of colors and shades makes the interior alive, attracts interest and confidence of the viewer.

Interior genre paintings:
Dutch Girl at Breakfast” 1757 by Jean-Étienne Liotard; “The Old Burgtheater” 1889 by Gustav Klimt; “Interior with a Woman at Piano” 1901 by Vilhelm Hammershøi; “The Billiard Table” 1945 by Georges Braque.

The famous artists who depicted the interior in their works: Cornelis Dusart, Jean-Étienne Liotard, Jacques-Louis David, Pavel Fedotov, Ilya Repin, Henri Matisse.