According to official Fine Art History education, there are five accepted “genres” or classifications of paintings as defined in the 17th Century – History, Portrait, Genre (everyday life), Landscape and Still Life. Each day this week Susan Omand picks a well known painting from one of these genres. Today is day 6 of 5 ...
Wait, you shout, I thought there were only five genres in the “official list.” Well yes, there are but you have to remember that that list was decided upon in the 1600’s and there’s a whole different genre of painting that hadn’t even been thought of at that point. I’m talking about Abstract art. Love it or hate it, you can’t ignore it, and I think it deserves just as much recognition as the more classical fine art genres despite, or maybe because of, the differences in interpretation of the artworks.
The word abstract strictly speaking means to separate or pull something out from something else and a lot of abstract art does this, pulling lines, shapes and colours out of real life and giving them an emphasis to represent the original object without actually showing it realistically which is why you get women with blue skin and one eye or mandolins painted only as the strings. Of course not all abstract can be traced back to a visual source and I’ve written in the past about Abstract Expressionism, where I believe the artistry lies in the creation of the work rather than the end product itself.
I could (and will) go on at much greater length about various forms of Abstract art another time but, for now, see what you make of one of my favourite pieces of abstract work, Piet Modriaan’s Composition B with Red.
Images - Wikimedia and Tate