Welcome to Gallery Sorelle Sciarone's selection of Figurative Paintings. If you already know the term figurative art, skip to the second part of this text. The first part will explain figurative art in the broadest concept, many of our collectors are buying their first or second pieces and would like to immerse themselves into art in an accessible way.
Figurative Art in the broadest of terms
Figurative art is a style of art that depicts recognizable objects or figures in a representational manner. You recognize the vase for a vase and a face for a face. This means that the artwork looks like something you might see in real life, such as people, animals, or landscapes, rather than being completely abstract or non-representational. At the gallery, we make a distinction between figurative artwork and landscape and seascape paintings. This is because we have a large selection of land- and seascape paintings, but also traditionally in Art History understood as a different category of painting. Figurative art = recognizable.
Figurative art is not about one-on-one reproduction it is about capturing the essence of the figure.
In figurative art, the artist often seeks to capture the essence or spirit of the subject matter, rather than simply rendering a realistic representation. This can be done through various techniques such as the use of color, line, and composition. An artist does not simply depict what they see in front of them, they interpret the world into a visual language in an art work. Failing to do so, often leads to paintings or sculptures that fail to capture the imagination past the art work being pretty or well executed. "Art" needs to capture the imagination past technique or aesthetic. That is why there was such a long debate wether or not photography was art as it directly replicates what is in front of it.*
(*The debate has been settled for a few decades, yes photography is art. As soon as we are done with the article: when is art Art. We will link it and you can further read how photography meets the criteria of Art with a capital A.)
Figurative Art has always been popular
Figurative art has been a popular style throughout history, and can be found in many different cultures and time periods. It can be seen in a variety of mediums including painting, sculpture, and drawing. Daresay figurative art has always been the main form of art, until Abstract art was fully developed. Art Historian Wouter Maas, wrote an excellent piece of abstract art, which you can read on our Abstract Paintings page. Like this text it is under the paintings.
Overall, figurative art is a way for artists to express themselves and communicate with their audience using recognizable imagery, and is a vital part of the world of art.
Figurative Art: more specifically at Gallery Sorelle Sciarone
The figurative art pieces at Gallery Sorelle Sciarone can be put into two categories. One is a more traditional and technical iteration of figurative art, represented by Negar Rashidi and Marko Klomp. And on the other side we have Adéle du Plessis, Thea van Doorn and Fiona J. Williams with more abstracted figurative pieces. Adéle's art pulls heavily from the Art History canon pre and post-Modern eras. Thea's artwork falls into a more Cobra-like tradition and Fiona's figurative art pieces fall into a more Expressionist style of Figurative artwork. The big distinction can also be that Negar and Marko's art has thrown a contemporary jacket on figurative painting as understood by the pre-Industrial Revolution. Whereas Fiona and Thea's spectacular figurative styles are heavily influenced by art movements from the 20th century. Adéle's art pulls from both sides, while looking stylistically more influenced by art from the 20th century.
Traditional Figurative Techniques
Figurative art is a style of art that portrays recognizable figures or objects in a representational manner. It contrasts with abstract art, which aims to create non-representational images that are not based on real-life subjects.
Negar Rashidi paints fine and delicate miniatures on oyster shells, that are excellently executed in technique. Her figurative pieces are realistic and can border into surrealistic pieces. Negar combines traditional technical expertise with organic matter. Playing with novelty and tradition. On her page at Gallery Sorelle Sciarone we go into depth on what makes her artworks so amazing.
Marko Klomp uses 'sfumato' a soft focus technique in his painstakingly rendered oilpaintings. 'Sfumato' is a painting technique used by the Italian Leonardo Da Vinci in the corners of the Mona Lisa's smile to the large parts of art pieces of Dutch Rembrandt Hermanszoon van Rijn. It is an old painting technique, that many also recognize from a blurrily shot photo. Many a person mistaking his pieces for photographs or prints in real life. Marko Klomp also has a large body of land-and seascapes, which also utilizes this technique.
20th century and Figurative Art
In the 20th century, figurative art underwent a transformation with the emergence of modernism and abstract art. However, many artists continued to create figurative works, often incorporating elements of abstraction and other styles to create new and innovative approaches to representation.
Figurative art can also be aesthetically pleasing, with its use of color, composition, and form. The human figure, in particular, has long been considered a subject of beauty and fascination, and many artists have used it as a means of exploring ideas about identity, culture, and society. Which is where Adéle, Thea and Fiona's figurative pieces excel at.
Adéle du Plessis's painting themes and material use can always be directly connected to Art History. The actual depicted pieces are closer to home. They are cups, flowers, seeds, family members. Small intimate objects and moments framed in the style or material of the Art History Canon. She takes a bit of Impressionism brush strokes, traditional egg tempera together with art philosophy and uses that to capture everyday life.
Fiona J. Williams artwork are very large pieces with recognizable faces and human figures in her artwork. In some cases you can feel the vibration of the person in a painting. In other more abstracted figurative pieces the figures become the embodiment of abstract concepts around navigating the human condition. The slightly more abstracted figures through large brushstrokes and slight abstraction of the figures is what allows the artwork to convey and evoke powerful emotions.
Thea van Doorn's large paintings draw directly from her background in illustration and first love of drawing. The large paintings mimic in paint to her smaller bodies of art: made with drawing. Drawing from Art History her paintings have a distinct Cobra-esque aesthetic. The Cobra movement, was International, but largely spearheaded by Dutch and Belgium artists. However Thea defines the parameters of her subjects more distinctly in lines. Also her subjects are firmly placed within a space, like a home, a terrace or even theatre stage. The home or the garden is easily recognizable, but the colouring and proportions of the depicted figures frames are not realistic, but allows the evocation of more emotion this way.
Why we like figurative art
We love figurative art because we as humans enjoy recognizing things. That is the short answer. The more detailed answer is that figurative art can be relatable and accessible, as it often depicts recognizable objects or figures that we can easily understand and connect with. Figurative art can evoke a wide range of emotions, much like abstract art, but with physical focal points. It can also convey a sense of time and place, capturing the essence of a particular moment or era. Although Gallery Sorelle Sciarone strives to curate art that is timeless and not only captures an 'era' or a zeitgeist but also can be re-interpreted and admired through the decades and centuries in different contexts. As this is how we define 'real art'. Real Art is an art that continues to be relevant and thought-provoking years after it has been made.
Finally, figurative art can be thought-provoking and challenging, pushing us to see the world in a way we have been unable to. Gallery Sorelle Sciarone aims to represent artists that broaden our worlds.
Today, figurative art continues to be a vital and dynamic part of the art world. Most art from history can be grouped with figurative art. Representing our world theough the artists eyes, them exploring new techniques, materials, and subject matter. It remains an important understanding in the arts and means of communication and expression, allowing artists to explore the human form, the natural world, and the complexities of the human experience. We hope you can enjoy the art we curate here to explore not only art but understand the world around you.
If you enjoyed this explanation of figurative art or any of the art pieces, please share it within your network. We greatly appreciate you taking the time to read this and look at the art at Gallery Sorelle Sciarone.
The art is curated by Art Historian Tascha Sciarone. This piece is also written by Art Historian Tascha Sciarone. All texts on this website is written by Art Historians, Museologists and Art Journalists and in some cases artist-curators. We aim to compensate other art professionals fairly. However, this text on Figurative Art has gone unwritten for almost 3 years. Due to the generalised theme. This is the first piece we have usen ChatGPT to cover any holes in our texts.
As experts we often overlook certain aspects of our field as it seems redundant information. Or on the other end of the spectrum often overcomplicate our texts to be able to include nuances or niches that most art collectors and art lovers really do not care about. For this text none of knew how to distill all our specialised knowledge to a more general audience. We are aware of the Human Rights Abuses that was incurred in creating this AI technology by Kenyan workers. It is one of the reasons we have held of on using this technology. As well as paying our colleagues in the arts for their contributions and work. Right now all we know what to do, is note that we have made use of this technology to help write this piece in the planning and oversight of discussing this topic.