An introduction to monochromatic painting


An introduction to monochromatic painting. On our e-commerce, you can buy hundreds of different colors. Oil paints, colored pencils, markers, watercolors, chalks, and so on, in the wealthiest ranges, bring any object, landscape, or sensation to the canvas, paper, wall, or any other support. However, it must say that several artists would do very little of these vast color ranges. Or rather, even nothing. We are talking about those artists dedicated, continuously or momentarily, to monochromatic or monochromatic painting. What is it about? Let’s find out together!

What is monochrome painting?

What is monochromatic painting? In itself, it is not at all challenging to give a quick definition of this type of art: it is a painting made using only one color. Therefore, a work that can be defined as monochrome will be made from start to finish using only one color that is only blue, only red, only green, and so on. Of course, you could have a blue that is now lighter, now darker in a blue painting: you would still have a monochrome painting. Monochromatic painting and cool drawing ideas stop when another color intervenes, even if only for a single detail of the work.

Sometimes, the monochromatic painting finds concretization only in abstract works, and therefore in works that have completely renounced to portray figures realistically and that have renounced the very concept of the figure. However, it should be emphasized – as we will see shortly – that there are also many monochromatic works that, on the contrary, reproduce figures, and that indeed can be ascribed in all respects to realistic painting.

Monochrome abstract painting

Let’s start with abstract monochrome painting, and let’s start with portraits that put color at the center of everything, effectively eliminating every other element from the artistic work. Therefore, we are talking about canvases painted totally with the same color, from top to bottom, without reproducing anything other than the color itself. Alongside paintings that have gone down in history for the abundance of details, for the perfect perspective, for the ability to tell a story or distort reality, we, therefore, have worked equally famous globally while giving up everything. Outlines, shadows, perspective, lights, and composition: in the abstract monochrome paintings, we can find the total cancellation of the figure.

We are therefore talking about canvases covered in a single color, without outlines or figures. Speaking of these paintings, we talked about the zero degrees of painting, a real artistic work where the idea takes absolute precedence. The abstract monochrome painting with the renunciation of the figure was, as we will see shortly, a distinctive trait for several great authors of the twentieth century, first of all, the Russian Kazimir Malevich, who with his Black Square launched his famous Suprematism: “by suprematism I mean the supremacy of pure sensibility in art “explained Malevich, adding” from the point of view of the supremacists the outward appearances of nature offer no interest; only sensitivity is essential. The object itself means nothing. With supremacism, art reaches pure expression without representation”.

Realistic monochrome painting

Those who think that monochromatic painting can only be abstract are wrong. On the contrary: whoever decides to portray a landscape, a face, or an object with the same color from start to finish is composing a monochrome work. Let’s think of grisaille – known internationally as “grisaille” – which indicates a painting and drawing technique based only on the use of various shades of gray. Work done in black and white in pencil or charcoal, technically speaking, can therefore be defined as a grisaille, and therefore as a monochrome work. Why choose to create a monochrome realistic work?

To convey a sense of absolute simplicity, to emphasize the immediacy or purity of the work. But also for virtuosity, to play with the full scale of color, or on the contrary to keep the same color from start to finish, at the same degree. More: trying monochromatic painting could be helpful for many budding artists to become familiar with the very concept of color and the need to deal with a single tube.

Examples of international monochrome painting

Kazimir Malevich was not the only one to try his hand at monochromatic painting in its most complete form. Please think of the famous works by Yves Klein, of which we have already spoken extensively in our article dedicated to the International Klein Blue, or the color developed in the 1950s by the artist and patented in 1956. In general, it is possible to say that the total renunciation of the image in monochromatic painting was a primarily American affair in the following years. We think of the famous white canvas by Robert Rauschenberg inspired by John Cage’s 4’33”, but we also think of the works of Mark Rothko, Ad Reinhardt, and Barnett Newman.

Even about realistic works, the examples are many. Let’s think, for example, of many – but not all of the works – by Picasso in his Blue Period, marked precisely by the predominant and often unique presence of blue in the paintings, with this monochrome lightened and darkened according to the needs of the portrait. In these cases, blue, red, green, or the chosen color are used like gray in black and white works.

Examples of Italian monochromatic painting

Certainly also in Italy, there have been some exciting examples of monochromatic painting. Let us think of specific works by Boetti, Castellani, and Fontana, who, like other artists, also dealt with this idea of ​​making art. In Italy, even more than elsewhere, the monochromatic choice has been interpreted – and taken initially – as an act of solid break with tradition, to express a transparent and not otherwise interpretable position: a sort of cry from the side of the artist. After all, from a historical point of view, our artistic tradition has always had an enormous symbolic value: proposing paintings without figures meant affirming that, to genuinely reborn, painting first had to cancel itself out.

Also Read: Paint A Stream With Superfine Oil Colors

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