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Figurative Paintings - The Expressive Art Form

Figurative art or painting describes any form of modern art that takes strong references from the real world, and more particularly human figures. This form of art has existed for more than thousands of years in cultures from all around the world. It owes its lineage to many schools of modern and contemporary art and is a general term used to distinguish representational art from abstract art.

Figurative art has a long history and the earliest example of this style, is the sculptural figure of a woman which was discovered in the Hohle Fels Cave in Southern Germany. This sculpture is carved from the tusk of mammoth and is said to be at least 35,000 years old. Other examples of figurative paintings can be found in Lascaux and France. These paintings depict a wide variety of fauna which was native to the region and date back to 16,000 years. Figurative art does not depict a real subject only; it also reflects the cultural values of the time when it was created. Sculptures, portraitures, genre paintings that have religious and mythological undertones to them can all come under the umbrella term of what figurative art stands for. This art form also holds the capability to depict a particular subject while also alluding to some intellectual concepts. For instance, Ancient Greeks depicted Gods and Goddesses in a way while also giving importance to geometrical precision. The portraiture of the 19th century artist, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, portrayed the likeness of the subject while also maintaining a subtle stylization which helped to convey the standards of beauty of that period.

When you are talking about figurative paintings in the Indian context, you could easily bracket Madhubani art, Phad painting and Gond art under the concept. We all have heard or seen at some point in our lives, the paintings of the very famous Raja Ravi Verma, who is said to be the father of figurative painting in India. Another notable painter was Tyeb Mehta, who was a part of the Bombay Progressive Artists’ group whose famous painting, “triptych Celebration” was sold for Rs. 15 million in 2002. This was the highest sum for an Indian painting at an International auction. His other works are, “Diagonal Series”, “Santiniketan triptych series”, “Kali” and “Mahishasura”.

Figurative paintings are an expressive art form and if you are looking to fill your house with beautiful figurative paintings, Gallery7 could help you with that. With a dream to promote Indian art, we have an amazing set of artists who are exceptional in their own fields and if you are an art collector or an art enthusiast, do come check us out.