‘Art is long, life is short’ – we all know these words which date back to the fourth century B.C. Since that time they have acquired even greater importance. Wikipedia gives the following definition of art:
…a diverse range of human activities in creating visual, auditory or performing artifacts – artworks, expressing the author’s imaginative or technical skill, intended to be appreciated for their beauty or emotional power.
Painting relates to the oldest forms of art in the history of humankind due to its powerful expressive means. People perceive the most part of information visually, that is
the main reason for it. The first primitive drawings and paintings appeared thousands of years ago. What we see today in the museums and art galleries is the manifestation of thorough mastery and human thought expressed on canvas or any other surface.
Visual art has changed substantially over the centuries, and it is still changing. It undergoes the influence of modern views, just like any other kind of art. The major trend today is its simplification. There are such artists who daub the canvas with paint in a few minutes and then proudly declare that they have just created a masterpiece. The twentieth century was rich in such personalities; I don’t want to give any examples, it is just enough to search for ‘contemporary art’ on the Internet. I have never been interested in such art, since I believe that the process of creation takes quite a lot of time an effort. My favourite period in painting is the 19th century. I adore landscapes and still-life. As for the portraits, they are interesting, but if I choose what to hang on the wall, I will prefer either a landscape or a still-life composition.
The artists who I am absolutely impressed by are Jan Vermeer van Delft, William Hogarth, Thomas Gainsborough, Claude Monet, Isaac Levitan and Ivan Aivazovski. To tell the truth I like Russian art more than any other. I don’t know the exact reason for it, but I may suppose, that what I see in the pictures is closer to my heart than something that exists abroad. These people managed to create the masterpieces that will live through the centuries.
I am not against modern art, because even today there are great talented painters who work in a classical tradition. They pay much attention to the details and to the technique retaining the best of what has ever been achieved by the generations of artists. Russian contemporary art seems to be much more traditional than abroad. Landscape painting is still the most popular genre. Unfortunately artists have less opportunities to share the joy of art with people around today than they had twenty or thirty years
ago. Of course, you may say everything is accessible on the Internet, but the only problem is that one can’t perceive painting on the screen, it is vitally necessary to see it in reality.
I hope that the interest in painting will be revived in the future, because art is the best way to bring up and teach the next generations and to form their taste.