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painterly


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(German, malerisch)

Originally coined by the German art historian Heinrich Wölfflin (1864–1945) to distinguish Baroque from Renaissance art. According to Wölfflin, the former was painterly and concerned with mass, light, and shade, whereas the latter was basically linear and depicted the world in clearly outlined shapes. Such a distinction is, of course, overly simplistic, though it may function as a useful guide. ‘Painterly’ has acquired wider currency and is now applied to the works of artists such as Titian, Rembrandt, Velázquez, and Goya in which the brushwork and the substance of paint are clearly visible.

Subjects: Art.


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