Artwork – A Comprehensive Study
Artwork often refers to physical or tangible works that have artistic and aesthetic value. The term is often used to describe any concrete material that indulges the emotions in a natural way with its beauty and taste. It is necessary not to confuse artwork with ‘work of art.’ While artwork relates to palpable materials which appeal to the senses of human beings, work of art refers to any work at all – whether tangible or abstract, that stimulates the human mind or senses. However, artwork is an aspect of a work of art, including literature and music.
The artwork is a two or three-dimensional material that is determined or considered to have an independent aesthetic role. Each independent artwork is reviewed to play a part in the context of the art movement that is predominant in the situation the artwork is produced; this determines the genre, culture, aesthetic conventions and other features.
In the quote below, The US law that protects the copyright of a piece of artwork gives a more precise definition of artworks, which it refers to as visual arts;
”The visual arts category consists of pictorial, graphic, or sculptural works, including two – and three -dimensional works of fine, graphic, and applied art. Examples of such works include photographs; original prints; art reproductions; cartographic works, such as maps, globes, and relief models; technical and mechanical drawings; and architectural drawings, plans, blueprints, or diagrams”. To know more about artwork, please click here…
Artworks are tangible substances that involve the use of various techniques and methods to create. There are either two-dimensional or three-dimensional materials that require the creative application of other materials to form. These methods of creation which have begun at varying periods of history have led to the different genre of artworks.
The Drawing means the making of an image by creatively applying lines to a surface through the application of pressure from tools such as pencils, pen, graphite, etc. The techniques involved in the drawing are hatching, cross hatching, blending, amongst others. Drawings are either finished artworks or function as the initial stage for other artworks such as painting and sculpture.
Drawing is one of the earliest means of expression, in fact, it is older that writing. Early drawings and paintings go as far back as 30,000 BC. Drawn pictures were found in caves in Spain and France. These drawings were later referred to as pictograms and were later simplified into written language.
Early Egyptian beautified the walls of their place of worship with linear and flat drawings of their professional lives. Ancient Greeks also decorated their vases and pots with finely drawn lines since 1000 BC.
In the period of the middle ages, art mainly functioned for religious purposes. The Bible and prayer books contained illustrative drawings and paintings which were hand drafted in calf skins and later, paper. Drawings with pen and ink were made for the not-so-rich people while paintings decorated with gold was meant for royalty.
Some artists mainly worked with animal skins as the paper had not yet been invented, and even after it was, it was expensive and difficult to acquire. Other artists worked on cheaper materials like wood slates and wax which help keep records of the frequently used images that the artist would need. Instead of drawing from nature directly, most artists would refer to these records. Following, the popularity of paper from The Renaissance period, drawing became more familiar and became an investigative medium for other artwork mediums, drawing inspiration from philosophy, geometry, and architecture.
The Renaissance brought about the early stage of modern drawing. Drawing had become more familiar and the initial stage of other visual art mediums, especially painting and sculpture as students of visual art first had to learn to draw. The portrayal of human body characters became more pronounced in drawings as at this period; the artists began to study human anatomy to represent human features in drawings realistically. The use of ink was still predominant Although the 1400s brought the use of softer materials in drawing like chalks and charcoal and shading was introduced to suggest three-dimensional qualities.
During the late 16th Century into the 17th Century, Pencils had been manufactured and many draftsmen preferred to use a pencil to draw. The end of the 1800s began to doubt the training in drawing that The Renaissance period had brought. Drafters began to draw without preparatory drawings. Hence, the emergence of ‘freestyle’ drawings. This started with the impressionist movement.
Drawing has since been separated from conventions since the 1900s. Modern Artists have continued to express themselves through drawings without paying attention to past traditions.
The painting was known to have started about 40,000 years ago with prehistoric paintings being found in caves around the world. The purpose of these paintings might seem decorative, but research has shown that they were created in a religious and magical context.
Early Egyptian civilization was the first to be noticed to have come up with a distinct style of painting which started around 3000 BC. Paintings in Ancient Egypt were less prestigious and were done on flat surfaces like the walls of temples and tombs, using pigments that are durable and can resist the effects of sunlight.
The style of painting was constant all through, with side views of the face, legs, and arms but the eyes and shoulders had a frontal view. The purpose of the paintings which portrayed the journey of the dead to an ethereal world was to show the requirements for the journey. Hence, the paintings fulfilled a more religious than a decorative role in the Egyptian society.
Later in 1600 BC, The Aegean civilization (Greece) came out with the mural style of painting which is done so that the characteristics of the flat surfaces in which the painting is done is embedded in the painting. Murals were adopted by the Romans and also in the practice of Buddhism in the 1st – 8th Centuries. While the original Mural paintings had both religious and decorative implications, the Roman paintings had only decorative functions. Mosaic paintings on floors were also part of this vocation.
The Roman Empire began to wane in the 4th Century, and Christianity started to grow popular when Emperor Constantine became a Christian. Artists were employed to decorate the Church walls with mosaic paintings and frescoes. They also decorated church books with figurative paintings. The objective was to make clear the Christian teachings. This marked the beginning of Byzantine art. Although not as realistic as the mosaic of Greece which it was adapted from, the Byzantine paintings were highly decorative and was mainly used to beautify the church.
Byzantine form of painting was seen as a reflection of the divine and involved abstract depictions. Later in the 10th century, there were variations of Byzantine paintings that became more flexible.
Portable Paintings started being developed from the 7th Century, initially, beginning with paintings of Christian icons and being hefty to carry about as their support was made of wood. This later evolved into the use of Panels to Paint. Panel Painting was predominant at the beginning of the Renaissance and then developed into the use of canvas. Book illumination and miniature paintings which have been practiced since the late Roman era got popular in the middle ages. Both Book illumination and miniature paintings were used to design textual documents, and illumination involved the designing of texts, initial capital letters and drawing of patterns around the texts while miniature paintings referred to small paintings on the edge of the pages.
The Renaissance which involved the 14th century to the mid-17th century was filled with innovations in painting. In Italy, artists used studies in human anatomy, perspective and new techniques in drawing and painting to enrich their artworks. In Europe, the style of painting that came with Renaissance reflected a different pattern. Paintings of this period in Europe were more realistic, carried scenes from everyday life and were called Genre art. Oil Painting had been adopted making realism possible to achieve in the paintings. This era was the time for reformation and humanism and was reflected in the paintings. The artists were also thinkers who expressed their ideas and the world around them through their artwork and slowly, painters started ignoring religious subject matters and directing their artworks towards secular themes. It was during this period that art styles like Mannerism which was a perfect contrast to the stable and perspective-rich paintings that characterized early Renaissance, and Baroque Paintings lasting until the 18th century.
Art in the neoclassical periods focused on nature and the superiority of the natural order of things above humankind. It opposed enlightenment and painted humankind in a pessimistic light.
Modern paintings started from the 20th Century with the paintings of France that was wild and bold, called Fauvism. Later, towards 1910 and the end of World War I, cubism came in vogue. Other styles of painting of this era include Orphism, Futurism and abstract art.
Traditional painting in the east depicted less realism, stylized subjects, landscape depiction rather than human beings and the presence of white space, that is, space in the artwork which is left bare. The artists painted on silk which was an expensive medium and meant only for royalty, until 1AD when the paper was invented making the painting more accessible to the public. Buddhist idea was an important aspect of classical eastern painting as an artist of this area and era sort to infuse religious ideas into their painting depictions.
Early Chinese paintings started in 481 BC and included paintings on silk and/or murals on stones and rocks. They portrayed mythical creatures or sceneries that reflected their culture like palace scenes with court attendance. The artwork of this period had religious functions and was made as an aspect of funeral rites. Around 300-400 AD, the painting had evolved into a pastime activity for typical Chinese gentlemen who involved themselves in painting and poetry competitions.
Later, Chinese paintings took a more realistic approach in the 17th to 19th centuries. Europe’s Baroque style influenced Chinese paintings so that they were highly valued in Europe.
As with the later form of Chinese paintings, Japanese paintings evolved through rivalry among Japanese aesthetic enthusiasts and the adoption of foreign ideas in their paintings. One Of the oldest form of art which later developed into Japanese woodblock printing in the 17th Century encompassed a wide variety of styles. In the 19th Century, Japanese printing was developed. It had astounding influences on the paintings in France.
Categories of Artwork
Poster and Prints
This is a category of artwork which is 2-D related and is meant to be on a vertical surface. The development of Poster Art has been closely linked to the evolution of Printing. Posters consist of images, images, and text or in rare cases, only text. Posters which have been significantly influenced by advances made in Photographic and software methods (Lithography) are useful in several ways including the reproduction of artworks, advertisement, and political uses.
Jules Cheret, in the 19 century, was the first artist to use poster art in his artwork. He invented the lithographic poster after he developed the 3-colored lithographic process. The art style was influenced by Japanese woodblock printing and started out as a means to advertise products and theater performance. In the 1860s, lithographic posters became the predominant means of communication among developing cities in Europe. Images and graphics designed by artists were commissioned by Publishers and Advertising Agencies and turned them into finished artworks which became so popular.
Also, Posters have been used to reproduce famous artworks since the 1960s when offset lithography started being developed brought about by the advancement of photography and computerized printing techniques. The artwork of famous painters like Aubrey Beardsley, Alphonse Mucha,Toulouse-Lautrec, Tamara de Lempicka, Andy Warhol, Van Gogh, Georges Seurat, Henri Rousseau, Marc Chagall, Gustav Klimt, Matisse, Kandinsky, Modigliani, Egon Schiele, Picasso, Edward Hopper, Norman Rockwell, Rene Magritte, Salvador Dali, Bridget Riley, and Roy Lichtenstein were all reproduced in this period.
In the 20th Century, Poster art began to be used for Political functions. The American James Montgomery Flagg’s poster of 1917 titled the army recruiting poster was a huge example. In Britain, Alfred Leete’s picture of Lord Pointer to the spectator which was captioned ‘Your Country Needs You’ was also an example of the use of posters for propaganda.
Today, with the tremendous advancement in computerized printing, art posters have become quite popular and acceptable owing to their vibrant colors, durability, and lightweight. Art lovers have decorated their homes and other areas with printed posters to suit their personality and their lifestyle and are widely known as artwork for home.
Oil Painting is the process of using dry oil in the pigment used to paint artworks. Dry oil is a kind of oil that dries or toughens when exposed to air. To create gloss, the oil may be boiled with resin. Also, more than one kind of dry oil may be used during the process of creating one particular artwork to give it the desired effect and make it adapt to the properties of the pigments used in the coloring.
Oil Painting began in the 5th Century when Indian and Chinese painters when it was used in Buddhist painting. However, it did not become popular until the 15th Century when it was adopted in the paintings in Netherlands and the heights of the Renaissance, Oil painting had replaced the paintings predominant in Europe in which pigments were mixed with egg yolk or other water-soluble binders, otherwise known as egg tempera painting.
Mona Lisa by Florence painter, Leonardo Da Vinci, is an example of Oil painting.
Drawing is one of the oldest forms of artwork medium. It involves putting pressure through drawing instruments on flat surfaces to create marks or lines that collectively would form a picture that impresses the mind. Many instruments can be used to achieve a well-drawn artwork, and consequently, this has led to the different categories of drawing:
Pastel Drawing which involves the use of Pastel powder as a pigment, making the artwork glow with a subtle texture.
Ink Drawing is the use of ink to create pictures or general aesthetic impression on a flat surface.
Charcoal Drawing involves the use of Charcoal as a dry art medium in the drawing.
Pencil Drawing is the use of graphite, in whatever form, to draw. It can be used in creating artwork as a finished work or as a preliminary stage of artwork creation.
Chalk Drawing is the type of drawing that involves the use of a white or colored substance which mostly consists of calcium sulfate or calcium carbonate. They use on drawing on hard and rough surfaces such as sidewalks and walls.
The Value and Influence of Artworks
Artworks, as earlier stated, are concrete aesthetic substances that have astounding effects on man’s senses. For this reason, artworks have been greatly valued as they do not only stimulate the emotions of people but also have embedded in them the culture, history, and ideas of individual peoples. We can realize the historical occupation of the Japanese or Europeans by just looking into their artworks and experience the environmental conditions that influenced the artists of this time. In this session, we categorize artworks based on their values in the global society and how they have influenced modern man.
Most Expensive Artworks
Famous artworks are placed in museums around the world and are priceless. Vase with Fifteen Flowers by Vincent Van Gogh is not only the earliest artwork to be sold but also the artwork to introduce the era of top art sales, being sold at 83million dollars; it tripled its first sale. Before then, the highest price paid for an artwork was by Paul Getty Museum who bought Mantegna’s Adoration of the Magi in London at $23 million in 1985. Leonardo da Vinci’s Ginevra de Benci was purchased by the National Gallery of Art in 1957 for the current value of $35million.
While Van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, and Andy Warhol are frequent in the current list of the most expensive artworks, it is supposedly known that Andy Warhol sold only one painting while he was alive, The Red Vineyard. The artwork was sold for about $1600, a 2011 value. Later, his paintings were sold for as high as $722 million dollars. Here is the list of the most expensive artworks of all time:
When Will You Marry Me by Paul Gauguin
When Will You Marry? Translated from Tahitian: Nafea faa ipoipo is an artwork by French artist, Paul Gauguin in 1892. The artwork which is an oil painting was sold for almost $300 million in 2015 to Al-Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani who is the sister of Qatar’s ruling Emir. She is ArtReview’s Most Influential Person, is on the Time 100 list and is also on Forbes’ list of 100 Most Powerful Women. This is the highest price any artwork has ever been sold for.
“When Will You Marry?” is a painting of two Tahitian Women, one dressed in a traditional outfit, the other dressed in Western attire. Paul Gauguin had traveled to Tahiti in 1981 to make Primitive pure artworks that were in contrast to the type of artworks predominant in France. Tahiti was, however, not as he imagined as the place was already being colonized and their primitive culture was on the verge of extinction. He started painting some naked Tahitian women and also Tahitian women dressed in both native and western attires.
When he got back to France, his artworks received little attention. He attempted to sell When Will You Marry Me at 1,500 France but was met with indifference by the art community. In was later bought in 1912.
The Card Players, by PAUL CÉZANNE
This series of artwork by French artist Paul Cezanne was painted in 1890. Each painting which is different in size portrays Provencal peasants playing cards and smoking their pipes. The Card Players include an adaptation of 17th Century Dutch and French motif in which drunken men are depicted playing cards. In Paul Cezanne’s version, however, there is the lack of drama that is famously known to be a feature of the 17th Century artworks. The is also the absence of the portrayal of drinking except in one of the paintings where there is an unused bottle of wine.
In 2011, the artwork was sold to the royal family of Qatar at $250 million making it the second most expensive artwork ever sold.
Most Remarkable Artwork
Artworks have been widely recognized to be a depiction of our surroundings. Some artists have gone farther and created artworks that not only appeals to our aesthetic tastes but also educates and informs us of things not yet conceived by a man at their various point of creation. Here are a few of the most remarkable artworks ever:
The Studies of Fetus in the Womb by Leonardo da Vinci
The Studies of Fetus of the Womb by Leonardo da Vinci are two colored sketches that depict the
human fetus in a dissected uterus. Painted in 1510, long before the ideas of X-Rays ever came to man, The Studies of the Fetus of the Womb shows the Uterus with one chamber and a correct depiction of the uterine artery and the vascular system of cervix and vagina. The artwork takes Leonardo da Vinci about 2-3 years to create (1510-1512/13), in which he portrays several depictions of the embryo through studies through studies in Embryology.
While the first study showed a dissected uterus, the second study depicted the female genitalia and different views of the embryo. Leonardo postulated that the umbilical cord was meant to transport the urine of the embryo outside the uterus. Since 1690, the studies have been held in the Royal Collection, UK.
This is a kind of paint that dries quickly and is water soluble. After it dries, it is resistant to water. The Acrylic paint can look like watercolor or oil paint or even possess unique characteristics that are not common to any other artistic media depending on the mixing process. The first usable Acrylic paint was first developed in 1935 and first used in 1940. By 1046, the soluble Acrylic paint was invented, and since then, the substance has become a household name for creating a distinct form of artwork.
The airbrush is a simple device that sprays paint, dyes or ink onto the artwork in the process. It is a device that works by passing compressed air through an aspirator which reduces the pressure of the air. The air moves at a very high velocity which makes the paint into tiny drops which pass through a mesh-like substance. The airbrush was first used in 1876 and since then, has been used to create high rendered images and a high level of realism. Airbrush technique today is used in comic books, book cover designs, graphic novels, and general advertising.
This is a device used to apply paint or ink to an artwork. It consists of bristles which are made of nylon, polyester or both. They come in different shapes to allow easy application methods.
Canvas is woven durable fabric used in making sails or other materials that are meant to be sturdy. Since 1410, Canvas has been a reliable support for painters replacing the cumbersome and dense wooden support. It is stretched on a stretcher. Gesso may be applied before use.
This is a sedimentary Carbonate rock that is made of Calcium Carbonate. It is a form of limestone. Usually, chalks are solid used to draw on hard surfaces, but they can also be liquefied by grinding them and mixing them with gel and used for painting.
Crayons are sticks of colored wax used for both writing and drawing. When it is mixed with pigments, and a dry binder is added, it becomes a pastel. Crayons are easy to work with as they are suitable for a more organized artwork creation process than paints, ink or dyes. The method of using wax and pigment for art’s sake was employed thousands of years ago by the Egyptians and till present day, Crayons suitable art materials.
Easels are upright support used by painters to support artworks while they are painting. They are also used to display finished artworks, especially paintings. They have been used by the 1st Century Romans and the ancient Egyptians. The use of Easels in painting has led to Easel painting which is used to describe portable paintings as opposed to paintings executed on walls.However, Easel painting only became popular in the 13th Century.
This is a type of paint that hardens when exposed to air.Even though they tend to be more messy to use, It stands out from other paints because of its gloss.
This is a liquid that is sprayed over a dried finished artwork to preserve it and to prevent it from being smudged. Modern fixatives have hydrocarbon propelled and made from alcohol. They have are highly developed in quality so that sunlight does not have an effect on them.
The glaze is a strong liquid applied to paint to create that luminous feel in it. It has been used since the time oil painting was invented. Glazing involves the use of a brush to apply the glaze which is a
transparent layer of paint over a dried opaque paint in order to create the desired effect.
Ink is a liquid that contains pigment or dye which is used to color, design, make a duplicate, or/and write. Inks can be pigment based or dye based. The dye-based ink is far stronger than the pigment based ink and is denser. However, dyes are soluble in water which causes the dye based ink to soak into the paper making it unfit for paper use.
Medium generally refers to the materials used for the production of artworks. They include oil paints, tempera, acrylic paint, pencil, charcoal etc.
This is a natural pigment containing hydrated oxide ion. It is used to produce colors ranging from yellow, orange to deep brown. It was used by painters of the Renaissance to give their paintings a natural color, hence, it was used to paint mountains, deserts, floors and even hairs.
This is a slow drying paint which is made of pigments and oil that hardens after exposure to air (dry oil). It can be made dense by the adding turpentine. To make it more glossy, glaze, otherwise called varnish is applied.
(dry oil). It can be made dense by the adding turpentine. To make it more glossy, glaze, otherwise called varnish is applied.
This is a liquid that is used to color, protect or provide texture to a surface layer. It could be a water solution or a paste-like liquid that forms a layer when applied on surfaces. Paintings have been found in caves in Africa and various parts of the world that are 40,000 years old. Researchers and experts have marveled about the freshness in these paints.
Paints are water or oil based and was mixed with egg yolk to make them adhere to the surfaces they are spread on.
Today, paints do not include egg yolks anymore but more reliable binders (natural or synthetic resins).
Simply put, a paint box is a box that contains dried paints used in painting.
The instrument used in spreading paint on an artwork. It comes in different shapes and sizes that aid easy application of paint on an artwork, creating the desired effect.
This is a wooden board which a painter places his paint for mixing. It can also be ceramic or plastic and it consists of two types; wet and parallel palette. Wet palette involves an absorbable substance like a foam or sponge which would carry water for mixing paints. The parallel palette is flat and used to mix oil paint.
Palette knife is a steel blade used in mixing colors or applying them on the artwork.
Pastels are art medium which consists of pigments and a binder. The binder does not have any color and is low saturated. There are three types of pastels; dry pastels, oil pastels, and water-soluble pastels.
A portfolio is a collection of edited work by an artist to show their style of work and their versatility.
This is a protective medium. It is a preparatory substance coated over a previously unpainted canvas or wood to prevent absorption of the paint.
Sepia is a reddish brown color used solely in painting and writing. It was very common in the 19th century through to late 20th century. Leonardo da Vinci used it in painting as well as writing.
Stencils are images or designs that are made by applying paint or pigment on a flat surface with designed gaps which is placed on the surface the design is supposed to reflect on. The process is referred to as stenciling.
Turpentine is a liquid gotten from distilling resin and used as a solvent for mixing and making oil based paints. It is also used for producing varnishes.
This is the type of paint that is made from pigments that are soluble in water. It is also used to refer to the resulting work.
White spirit, otherwise known as mineral turpentine is a substitute for turpentine. It is a colorless fluid used in making oil painting less dense by mixing.
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