Figurative art is the term given to all art that is representational of figures, animals, and other natural or man-made objects.
It is an art style which is strongly connected to the rules of perspective, proportion, anatomy and volume.
Life drawing with a nude model is regarded an important foundation to figurative art.
In many respects figurative art can be seen to act as the opposite to abstract art, which distorts figures and objects so that they are not strictly representational.
Noteworthy Figurative Artists
Acting as the most reputable approach to art making, famous artists such as Michelangelo, Rembrandt, Peter Paul Rubens, Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso best epitomise the figurative style, and have helped to further establish its name.
The Figurative Art Style
With the human form employed by an artist as a sign of personal/social and ideological belief, figurative art acts as a key vehicle of expression and reliable source of historical documentation.
Providing an insight into how its creator thinks about scale, beauty, mortality and consciousness itself, the approach taken to depict the human form and the stylistic conventions used can strongly reflect the values of the artist’s time and place.
Figurative Art in Australia
With regard to the Australian art scene, the human figure often represents the real, ideal and symbolic.
Reflecting the concerns of human nature during a time of mass production, figurative art provides a vital link between the past and present in a way that portrays a historical insight to the world of the artist and the subject.
In many ways this is demonstrated in the colonial painter, John Glover’s treatment of the figure, the expressionist Albert Tucker and modernist painter Euan Macleod.
Contemporary Australian artists often use the human body as symbol of alienation. Examples of this can be seen in the work of Deborah Klein and Graeme Drendel, who use the body to express feelings of psychological alienation.
On the other hand, as the figure is used as a symbol of cultural assimilation, Dean Bowen and Terry Bratt both reflect this notion in their art.
Other Art Movements
- Abstract Expressionism
- Academic Art
- Art Deco
- Art Nouveau
- Conceptual Art
- Figurative Art
- Naive Art
- Pop Art
- Surrealism / Surrealist Art