Illustrated first page: ‘THE BATHING PARTY’ by Viktor Rebernak, The Ljubljana Academy of Fine Art
In modern art to what extent does painting maintain its figurative aspect within the ‘contemporary painterly abstraction’?
Willem de Kooning claimed that “Flesh was the reason oil paint was invented”. And for Goya, Velazquez, Tizian, Poussin, Cezanne, Renoir, Bacon, this was certainly the case.
In contemporary painting the colour of flesh can be depicted through the whole colour scale depending on the composition and the prevailing tonality of the painting.
The depiction of flesh could range from green to grey, allowing the painting to retain the so called “cold temperature” (Marlene Dumas, Luc Tuymans to name only a few examples).
The drama of a painting can also lead the flesh to be painted in bright pink, orange or red to achieve an almost Haptic experience such as in the work of Renoir, Bacon, Picasso and Cecily Brown.
It could be said, therefore, that ‘flesh’ in terms of painting is ART’S jewel in the crown.
Image source: google images