Abstract Paintings

If you think abstract paintings are a phenomenon of the 20th century, you can not be further from the truth. Islamic and Jewish religions have from their very beginnings prohibited the depiction of human forms. As a result, these religions developed a high skill in decorative art. And artists as early as James McNeill Whistler had begon talking of art as a depiction of visibly appealing colors, just as music was a presentation of appealing sound. Perhaps, Pablo Picasso and his style of painting, known as cubism (which used geometric figures to simplify or exaggerate complex structures such as the human form), were formally established and set in motion a trend of what came to be known as abstract painting.

Synonymous with abstract painting, cubism developed as a backlash to the impressionist era, which highlighted light and color. Painters of abstract art believed they could show, through the use of geometric figures, views of an image that can not actually be seen in real life. Famous among the many abstract paintings, are Pablo Picasso's Guernica and The Guitar Player.

Georges Braque was another cubist. He used to shade his cubes in a way that made them look both flat and three-dimensional at the same time. His famous paintings include The Fruit Dish and Violin and Pitcher.

Abstract paintings thrived with artists such as Piet Mondrain, who took cubism a step further and established what came to be called neoplasticism. The underlying belief of this art form was that art should not reproduce real forms, but express the absolutes of life, which, according to them, were only vertical and horizontal lines and primary colors.

After neoplasticism came abstract expressionism, an art form that celebrated not forms, objects or images, but colors and brush strokes. Mark Rothko's painting Red, Orange, Tan and Purple is one of the best abstract paintings in this from.

Abstract paintings, in essence, moved away from depicting life forms as they appeared, towards depicting them as interpretations, and showing emotions through colors.