The origins of painting

The origins of painting

The origins of painting are lost in the mists of time. A legend tells that a young girl from Corinth, daughter of the potter artist Butades, was madly in love with a young boy. Since he had to leave, to preserve her memory, he outlined her profile on the wall tracing the shape of her shadow; that was how painting was born, the fruit of a woman's love for a man. The birth of painting took place starting from a line, from a drawing that, from the beginning, forms the foundation of all the arts. Beyond the myth, with its enormous spectrum of application, drawing is the main tool of every design, both artistic and industrial. In this capacity we can find the archetype for every formal elaboration.


Painting is born in a moment of profound dismay before the world, in a moment in which the sensible world exists with a power, a force that is extraneous and, therefore, not human. Every painting is a deal with a world of clarity or a deal with dark, occult powers forced to come out into the light. Also for this reason, in every painting there is violence. Painting is a way of violating the secrets of the world, visible secrets, secrets for the eyes, fundamentally, although painting gives us gifts for other senses.


Painting violated visible secrets. There are two types of secrets: those that are already present but which no one sees until the painter shows them, and those that do not possess a separate corporeity: unrealized forms that the painter creates when he/she discovers them. But there is a moment in which painting no longer holds secrets from the world, a moment in which it has lost its violence aimed at tearing strange secrets and the world has ceased to appear extraneous to the painter; and this because in that moment he (or she), painting, keeps in mind what the artwork has already conquered. The painter does not stand before unknown landscapes, but is preparing to give us something that is already a result, a consequence, a term, a perfection.


When we talk about painting, we say that we can start from an unpainted world to reach the painted world.


The unpainted world can be real, imagined, dreamed or extracted from reality; in any case, however, its elements belong to reality or come from it. This means that the painted world can refer directly to the real world, without intermediaries, only in one case. In other cases, the painted world can refer to a world taken from reality, with elements of the real world, but not real itself. This refers to the structure of the unpainted world. In the first case, there is no doubt that we find ourselves in the presence of realistic painting, given that it refers, without intermediaries, to the real world.


Painting that goes directly to the real world, needless to say, evidently assumes that the painter's vital attitude is of acceptance of reality as it is. Now we do not care about this attitude only as a preliminary condition; much more is the interest with which we look at how the painter turns to this reality and elaborates it, because inspiration comes from within.

Posted on 12/23/2018 Art Blog 2046