In Western cultures oil painting and watercolor painting are the best known media, with rich and complex traditions in style and subject matter. In the East, ink and color ink historical predominated the choice of media with equally rich and complex traditions.
Aesthetics and theory of painting :
Aesthetics tries to be the "science of beauty" and it was an important issue for such 18th and 19th century philosophers as Kant or Hegel. Classical philosophers like Plato and Aristotle also theorized about art and painting in particular; Plato disregarded painters (as well as sculptors) in his philosophical system; he maintained that painting cannot depict the truth—it is a copy of reality (a shadow of the world of ideas) and is nothing but a craft, similar to shoemaking or iron casting. Leonardo Da Vinci, on the contrary, said that "Pittura est cousa mentale" (painting is an intellectual thing). Kant distinguished between Beauty and the Sublime, in terms that clearly gave priority to the former. Although he did not refer particularly to painting, this concept was taken up by painters such as Turner and Caspar David Friedrich.
Hegel recognized the failure of attaining a universal concept of beauty and in his aesthetic essay wrote that Painting is one of the three "romantic" arts, along with Poetry and Music for its symbolic, highly intellectual purpose. Painters who have written theoretical works on painting include Kandinsky and Paul Klee. Kandinsky in his essay maintains that painting has a spiritual value, and he attaches primary colors to essential feelings or concepts, something that Goethe and other writers had already tried to do.
Iconography has also something to say about painting. The creator of this discipline, Erwin Panofsky, tries to analyze visual symbols in their cultural, religious, social and philosophical depth to attain a better comprehension of mankind's symbolic activity.
Beauty, however, a concept to which painting is essentially linked, cannot be defined as an objective matter, purpose or idea. Much aesthetics and theory of art is connected with painting.
In 1890, the Parisian painter Maurice Denis famously asserted: "Remember that a painting – before being a warhorse, a naked woman or some story or other – is essentially a flat surface covered with colors assembled in a certain order." Thus, many twentieth century developments in painting, such as Cubism, were reflections on the means of painting rather than on the external world, nature, which had previously been its core subject.
Julian Bell (1908-37), a painter himself, examines in his book What is Painting? the historical development of the notion that paintings can express feelings and ideas:
"Let us be brutal: expression is a joke. Your painting expresses – for you; but it does not communicate to me. You had something in mind, something you wanted to ‘bring out'; but looking at what you have done, I have no certainty that I know what it was...."
Painting media :
Different types of paint are usually identified by the medium that the pigment is suspended or embedded in, which determines the general working characteristics of the paint, such as viscosity, miscibility, solubility, drying time, etc.
Examples include: Acrylic, Encaustic (wax) , Fresco, Gouache, Ink, Oil, Heat-set oils, Water miscible oil paints, Pastel, including dry pastels, oil pastels, and pastel pencils, Spray paint (Graffiti), Tempera, Watercolor
Painting styles :
'Style' is used in two senses: It can refer to the distinctive visual elements, techniques and methods that typify an individual artist's work. It can also refer to the movement or school that an artist is associated with. This can stem from an actual group that the artist was consciously involved with or it can be a category in which art historians have placed the painter. The word 'style' in the latter sense has fallen out of favor in academic discussions about contemporary painting, though it continues to be used in popular contexts.
Abstract, Abstract expressionism, Post-Abstract Expressionism, Art Brut, Art Deco, Baroque, CoBrA, Color Field, Constructivism, Contemporary Art, Combined Realism, Cubism, Expressionism, Fauvism, Figuration Libre,
Folk, Graffiti, Hard-edge, Impressionism, Lyrical Abstraction, Mannerism, Minimalism, Modernism, Naïve art, eo-classicism, Op art, Orientalism, Orphism, Outsider, Painterly, Photorealism, Pluralism, Pointillism, Pop art,
Postmodernism, Post-painterly Abstraction, Primitive, Pseudo realism, Realism, Recto version, Representational Art, Romanticism, Romantic realism, Socialist realism, Stuckism, Surrealism, Tachism.