What is a Painting?

What is a Painting?

Painting is a kind of fine art. The historic instances, made by prehistoric humans, are on the walls of the cave Altamira in Spain. The human civilization is rich with its various forms. To maintain originality of the creations over ages painters kept on changing subjects, forms, media and base. Thus after Altamira, India got murals and frescos in Ajanta and Ellora caves.

Painting is the practice of applying paint, pigments, colors, or any liquid, semi-liquid substance on a surface called base. A medium is generally applied to the base with a brush but other objects can be used. Even fingertips belong to the category of these other objects. In art, both the act and the result are described as painting. These can be made on surfaces such as walls, paper, canvas, wood, glass, clay or concrete. They can also be decorated with gold leaf. Even some modern creations incorporate other materials such as sand, clay and scrap papers or pieces of cloths. These are called collages.

Like other branches of art, it is a form of expression, and its forms are numerous. Drawing, composition or abstraction and the aesthetics of these works can be used to manifest the expressive and conceptual intention of the practitioner. They can be naturalistic and representational as in landscape or portrait or Still Life. Abstract forms of it may be loaded with narrative content, symbolism, emotion or political views and statements.

Part of the history of this branch of art as well as Eastern and Western art has been dominated by spiritual motifs and ideas. Examples are the mythological scenes depicting the stories of the Bible on the inner walls and on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Scenes from the life of Buddha or other religious scenes of murals and frescos are of Eastern origin.

A painting is the representation of perception. Every point in space has different intensity that can be forged in black to white and all shades of gray in between. In practice, painters can create figures putting together surfaces of different intensity, using only the color having the same intensity in reality. These figures can only be symbolic. Exemplary evidence is the relatively larger figures of Buddha in murals of Ajanta. Often the basic means of thee creations are distinct from the ideological means, like geometrical figures, lines of variant thicknesses and special characters. As base the white walls are usually avoided for its different intensity at each point because of the shadows and reflections from nearby objects, but a white wall remains visible even in darkness. Such contrasts in different viewpoints have been eternally adding new dimensions to this branch of art.