Acrylic paints for sale

531 Original Paintings For Sale: What is the origin of the Acrylic[...]

531 Original Paintings For Sale:

What is the origin of the Acrylic technique?

Acrylic paints use traditional pigments mixed with synthetic resins. The use of acrylic paint in Art developed from the second half of the twentieth century, popularized by artists like Willem de Kooning, Kenneth Noland or Mark Rothko who were the first to use this material in their canvases. Composed of pigments of natural or artificial origin based on resins and binders composed of polymers, acrylic paint is particularly appreciated by contemporary artists because of its characteristics: easy to dilute, to apply, painless, resistant and durable. Unlike oil paint, acrylic paint dries quickly and allows for many effects of shine and texture effects in the painterly works of artists. This explains why acrylic paints are probably the most commonly used today.

How to define Tribal Art style?

What is meant by pictorial manifestation of tribal art?

Tribal art is the visual art and material culture of people who live in tribal communities (indigenous people). Tribal arts have been collected for a long time by Western anthropologists, private collectors, and museums, especially ethnographic and natural history museums. They are also called non-Western art, ethnographic art, and, in a controversial way, primitive art. Some people say that the word "primitive" is too Eurocentric and negative.

What does the term indigenous mean?

Indigenous peoples[a] are culturally different ethnic groups whose members are directly descended from the first people who were known to live in a certain area and still keep some of their language and culture. In its modern sense, the word "indigenous" was first used by Europeans. They used it to distinguish the people who were already living in the Americas from the Europeans who came to live there and from the people from Sub-Saharan Africa who were brought there as slaves.

The term may have been used for the first time in this way by Sir Thomas Browne in 1646, when he said, "and although in many parts of it there are at present swarms of Negroes serving under the Spaniard, yet they were all brought from Africa since Columbus found America, and are not native or proper natives of America." People are usually called "Indigenous" when they keep traditions or other parts of a culture from when they were the first people to live in a certain area.

Not all Indigenous people have this trait, because many have taken on big parts of the culture of the people who came after them, like their clothes, religion, or language. Indigenous peoples may be sedentary (living in one place), nomadic (moving around a large territory), or resettled, but they usually have a long history with a certain territory on which they depend. Indigenous groups live in all climate zones and continents where people live except Antarctica.  Around the world, there are about 5,000 different Indigenous nations.

Indigenous peoples' homelands have always been taken over by larger ethnic groups, who did this because they thought they were better because of their race or religion, how they used the land, or because it was a good way to make money. Around the world, thousands of Indigenous people live in countries where they are not the majority ethnic group.

Indigenous peoples still face threats to their sovereignty, economic well-being, languages, ways of knowing, and access to the resources that their cultures depend on. The United Nations, the International Labour Organization, and the World Bank have all put indigenous rights into international law. In 2007, the UN released the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) to help member states make national policies that respect the rights of Indigenous peoples as a whole. This includes their rights to protect their cultures, identities, languages, ceremonies, and access to jobs, health care, education, and natural resources. Most estimates put the number of Indigenous peoples in the world between 250 million and 600 million.

Different countries have different official names and terms for people who are considered indigenous. In settler states that were colonized by Europeans, like the Americas, Australia, New Zealand, and Oceania, Indigenous status is usually given without any problems to groups that are directly descended from the people who lived there before Europeans arrived. Indigenous population numbers are less clear in Asia and Africa, where most Indigenous people live, and can change a lot because states tend to underreport the number of Indigenous people or use different words to describe them. 

The word "indigenous" comes from the Latin word "indigena," which means "from the land" or "native." The Latin word indigena comes from the Old Latin words indu, which means "in" or "within," and gignere, which means "to give birth to or make." The word "Indu" comes from the Proto-Indo-European word "en," which means "in." Indigenous is a word used to describe people. It has nothing to do with the word Indian, which has also been used to describe Indigenous peoples of the Americas. Autochthonous comes from the Greek words autós, which means "self" or "own," and v chthon, which means "Earth." It comes from the Indo-European root word dhghem- (earth). The first time this term was used in writing was in 1804.

The first people to use the word "Indigenous" to describe a group of people were Europeans. They did this to tell the Indigenous peoples of the Americas apart from Africans who had been taken as slaves. Sir Thomas Browne may have been the first person to use it in this way. Browne wrote in Chapter 10 of Pseudodoxia Epidemica (1646), which was called "Of the Blackness of Negroes," "and though in many parts of it there are now swarms of Negroes working for the Spaniards, they have all been brought from Africa since Columbus's discovery, and they are not native or real Americans."

In the 1970s, the term was used to connect the experiences, problems, and struggles of groups of colonized people from different parts of the world. At the same time, the term "indigenous people" started to be used to describe a legal category in Indigenous law that was created in international and national laws. Putting a "s" in "peoples" shows that there are real differences among Indigenous peoples. Former Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, James Anaya, said the following about Indigenous peoples: "living descendants of people who used to live on lands that are now controlled by others. They are culturally different groups that are surrounded by other settler societies that grew out of empires and wars ".

Throughout history, different nations have used different words to talk about the groups that they consider to be Indigenous and who live within their borders. Definitions are usually based on whether or not a group of people is descended from people who lived in the country before people from non-Indigenous cultures and religions came or before the current state boundaries were set up, and who still have some or all of their own social, economic, cultural, and political institutions, but may have been forced out of their traditional domains or moved outside of their ancestral domains. When compared to the majority groups or the nation-state as a whole, the status of the Indigenous groups in the subjugated relationship can be described as a group that is effectively left out or isolated.

Most of the time, it is hard for the Indigenous group to have a say in and take part in outside policies that may affect their traditional lands and ways of life. This can happen even if the number of Indigenous people in a region or state is larger than the number of other people living there. The key idea here is that Indigenous people are cut off from decision-making and regulation processes that have some, at least formal, control over their community and land rights.

External laws, claims, and cultural norms may or may not affect how and what an Indigenous society does. Even when a society is mostly ruled by its own traditions and customs, these limits can still be seen. The limits may be put in place on purpose or by accident when people from different cultures interact. They may have an effect that can be measured, even when other outside influences and actions that are seen as good or that support Indigenous rights and interests work against them.


How did tribal painting come about?

Most tribal art is made for ceremonies or religion. Tribal art is the style and subject matter of artifacts from tribal cultures. It usually comes from rural areas.

There are three main types of tribal art in museum collections: African art, especially arts of Sub-Saharan Africa, art of the Americas, and Oceanic art, originating notably from Australia, Melanesia, New Zealand, and Polynesia.

The Western myth of the "noble savage" has long been a source of inspiration for the collection of tribal arts, and the lack of cultural context has made it hard for the Western mainstream public to understand tribal arts.

In the 19th century, most Western art experts didn't think non-Western art was art at all. Instead, these things were seen as artifacts and cultural products of "exotic" or "primitive" cultures, which is still the case with ethnographic collections.

In the second half of the 20th century, however, both indigenous and non-indigenous people have fought for more objective scholarship on tribal art. This has changed how people think about tribal art.

Before Post-Modernism came along in the 1960s, art critics looked at tribal art from a purely formalist point of view. This means that they only looked at the visual parts of the work and didn't care about its cultural or historical context, its symbols, or what the artist was trying to say. Since then, tribal art like African art in Western collections has become an important part of international collections, exhibitions, and the art market.

What about Indian Folk and Tribal Art?

India is divided into states and association regions, each of which has its own interesting social and traditional traits. Each area has its own style and way of making things, which is called "society craftsmanship." Aside from society craftsmanship, there is something called "court craftsmanship," which is usually done by people from rural and indigenous communities. These Indian crafts are simple but lovely. They talk about how expensive the country's history has been.

Ancestral craftsmanship shows the creative energy that comes from being born and raised in a place. India's inborn and people-made specialties include a wide range of works of art, such as artistic creations, makes, and crafted works. Some of them are written down below:

Tanjore art is art from Rajasthan, Bengal, and Gujarat that shows the dreams and legends of saints and gods from the area. The pictures in these works of art tell stories. Their stories are made up.

Mithila art, which is another name for Madhubani painting, is a big part of the area of Bihar. It is a line drawing full of bright colors that stand out from each other. It is done on walls made of natural stone or mud.

The largest clan to the north of Bombay is where Warli Painting comes from. People know Maharashtra for its Warli work. These works of art don't show imaginary characters or gods. Instead, they show what the people were doing in public. The work of art is made up of spots that are mostly white in color. These pieces of art are sacred, and a wedding couldn't happen without them.

As the name suggests, Patachitra or Pattachitra painting is done on canvas. Patta means "canvas," and "Chitra" means "artwork." It is the oldest and most well-known form of art that came from Bengal and Odisha. It can be seen in the use of rich, vivid colors, the use of imaginative themes and plans, and the way that simple subjects are usually shown in a way that isn't real.

The Mughals brought the small paintings from Rajasthan to India. These works of art are made with the utmost care, and every single detail is taken care of. It has lines, details, and beautiful, bright colors set in an excellent example. Today, many artists make miniature pieces on silk, ivory, cotton, and paper.

Kalamezhuthu is the drawing that is often called rangoli or kolam and is made at the entrances of temples and homes. It is work that is drilled into the floors and walls of the sanctuaries to show the god who lives there. In each painting, the examples of subtleties, measurements, and shading choices are chosen with high standards in mind. The examples vary a lot depending on what is going on.

What about Indian Tribal art?

Folk art in India has a long history of art and culture that goes back 30,000 years. India is home to many tribes, and most of them show who they are through art and music. Over time, art has moved from walls made of stone and mud to canvases. Most Tribal artists still have to fight to stay alive. A middleman is often the one who beats them up. Tribal Art India gives all tribal artists a place where they can sell their work directly to customers.

We're happy to have customers in India, the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Switzerland, Singapore, and many other places. India has many types of folk art, such as Gond Art, Bhil Art, Warli Folk Art, Tanjore Paintings, Madhubani Paintings, Saura Paintings, Pattachitra Paintings, Kalamazethu Art, Khovar Art, and Kavad or Kawad Art.

Which are the types of Folk and Tribal Paintings in India?

India's art and buildings have always been well-known. In terms of art, India has a very long and rich history. Almost every state has art that is unique to that state. And the art made by India's tribal groups is the most colorful. There were a lot of symbols in these tribal arts because they had very specific rituals and traits. Ten kind of Tribal Arts of India are: Warli Folk Paintings, Tanjore Paintings or Thanjavur Paintings, Madhubani Art, Saura Paintings, Bhil Art, Gond Pattachitra Paintings, Kalamazethu Art, Khovar Art, Kavad or Kawad Art.

Warli Folk Paintings

This tribal art comes from the state of Maharashtra and is known for its simple wall paintings. It is one of the best folk paintings ever made. In this, simple geometric shapes like a square, circle, and triangle are used. On a dark red background, these paintings are carved in white using bamboo as a brush. The painting shows scenes of hunting, fishing, farming, dancing, and other things that people do every day.


Tanjore Painting or Thanjavur Painting

This tribal art comes from the town of Thanjavur in the state of Tamil Nadu. It is a celebration of the rich artistic history of the area. This art form was first made in the late 1600s. This traditional style of painting from South India is known for its use of bright colors, glass, stones, and gold foils. They are made on a board made of either teak wood or jackfruit wood. Most of the people in these paintings are Hindu Gods and Goddesses. The gods' faces are made so that they have round faces and eyes that are oval-shaped. The main body of the god is then enclosed by an arch, a curtain, or something else.


Madhubani Art

Indian women from Mithila created the art of Madhubani. It comes from Bihar and is sometimes called Mithila art. The paintings are made on walls that have just been plastered with mud. They usually show scenes from nature or have religious meanings. It has pictures of Shiva, Krishna, Saraswati, Rama, Durga, the Sun, the Moon, trees, flowers, animals, wedding scenes, etc. Brushes, twigs, fingers, matchsticks with natural dyes and pigments, etc. are used to finish the painting. The main goal of this painting is to fill every inch and space with all patterns, shapes, and designs that are possible.


Saura Paintings

Saura is a style of wall painting that comes from the Odisha tribe of the same name. Also from the state of Orissa, these paintings can also be found in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, and Jharkhand. Ikons is another name for them. The background of the painting is made of red or yellow ochre that is painted on with a bamboo brush. There are very simple pictures that show how a village farmer lives a simple but important life. The style of these paintings is like that of Warli paintings. The only difference is that geometry is used in one but not in the other. When someone gets married, has a child, or celebrates another important event, these paintings are made.


Bhil Art

The Bhils are India's second largest group of tribal people. They also teach Bhil art. From the states of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, and Maharashtra. This piece of art shows how Bhils lived. This tribe used dots to show the bright colors of life. They try to show how their Gods, Goddesses, and nature are connected to their art and paintings. This includes carving pictures of the Sun, Moon, nature, Gods, and other things on walls or paper using natural and herbal colors. The story behind the painting is easy to figure out.



This art is carved on mud walls and comes from the state of Madhya Pradesh and other nearby states. There are lots of details, lines, colors, mysteries, and funny things in these paintings. They are also drawn on paper, canvas, fabrics, etc. Lines, dots, and dashes are all very important parts of these paintings. This picture is made during big celebrations like Holi, Diwali, etc. The quality of these paintings is so high that they can last for about 20 years without being touched.


Pattachitra Painting

Traditional Pattachitra paintings come from the Indian states of Odisha and West Bengal. It is a painting on fabric that shows Gods and Goddesses with sharp, fine lines in bright colors and floral designs around the edges. In the past, these pictures were used to tell stories. The way clothes are shown is what makes this art different from other kinds. "Patta," which means "canvas," is what these paintings are carved on. It is one of India's oldest forms of tribal art. People say that an original Pattachitra painting uses only natural colors and can take months to finish.


Kalamezhuthu Art

The ritual art of Kalamezhuthu comes from God's own country, Kerala. "Picture" is "kalam," and "drawing" is "ezhuthu." This is a painting that was done on the floor. You can see it at festivals and other special events. It has a way of pulling people in. First, the sacred deity is made. During this process, different remedies are thought about, such as the deity, natural pigment, size, color, etc. After that, people worship him and sing songs about how great he is. The drawing is finally erased by dancing on it in a certain way.


Khovar Art

During the harvest season, this traditional wall art is made. Cave is what Kho or Koh means, and husband is what Var means. The women of the house make this art to decorate the wedding rooms of newlywed couples. Jharkhand is where Khovar art came from. First, a layer of black mud is spread on the background, and then a layer of white mud is spread on top of that. The coating is then peeled off with a tool to make the design. Most of the time, tribal people who live in the forest carve animals like Tigers, Snakes, Peacocks, etc., while tribal people who live on plains carve animals like Cows, Goats, Pigeons, etc.


Kavad or Kawad Art

Jangid Brahmins of Chittorgarh still use the art of Kavad or Kawad, which is about 500 years old. It's a three-dimensional box with many panels that can be opened out. It is a portable temple on which are painted different Gods and Goddesses. These panels are made of light wood and show stories from epics like Ramayana, Puranas, Bhagavad Gita, and many others. People are very proud that the Tribal Arts of India are still used in many places and that people have kept them going for so long. 


What about African tribal art?

African art includes paintings, sculptures, installations, and other forms of visual culture from native or indigenous Africans and the African continent, both from the past and the present. The definition may also include the art of the African diasporas, such as African American, Caribbean, or South American art that is influenced by African traditions. Even though there are so many different kinds of art from Africa, there are some common themes that run through all of it.

African pottery, metalwork, sculpture, architecture, textile art, and fiber art are all important forms of visual art that can be studied as part of African art. Most of the time, the art of the North African areas along the Mediterranean coast is not included in the term "African art." This is because these areas have had different traditions for a long time. Since more than a thousand years ago, the art of these areas has been part of Berber or Islamic art, even though it has many unique local features.

Ethiopian art is also different from the art of most of Africa because it has a long Christian history. Traditional African religion, with Islam in the north, was the main religion in most of Africa until the 20th century. African art includes ancient and prehistoric art, Islamic art from West Africa, Christian art from East Africa, and traditional artifacts from these and other parts of the continent. A lot of African sculpture in the past was made of wood and other natural materials that haven't been around for more than a few hundred years. However, some rare older pottery and metal figures can be found in a few places. Some of the oldest decorations, like shell beads and signs of paint, have been found in Africa.

They are from the Middle Stone Age. Masks and human figures are important parts of the art of many people, and masks are often very stylized. There are a lot of different styles, which often change in the same place of origin and based on what the object is used for. However, there are clear regional trends. Sculpture is most common among "settled cultivators in the areas drained by the Niger and Congo rivers" in West Africa. Masks, in particular, are often made for ritual ceremonies and are sometimes made to look like deities. Since the end of the 19th century, Western art collections have been getting more and more African art. The best pieces are shown as part of the history of colonization.

African art had a big impact on European Modernist art, which liked to show things in an abstract way and was influenced by African art. European and American artists and art historians think that the idea of "African art" comes from the way people like to look at African sculpture.

From the 12th to the 14th centuries, people in West Africa used bronze casting to make reliefs like the famous Benin Bronzes. These were used to decorate palaces and make very realistic royal heads in the Bini town of Benin City, Edo State, as well as in terracotta or metal. Akan gold weights are small metal sculptures made between 1400 and 1900. Some of them seem to be proverbs, which is unusual for African sculpture. The royal regalia also had some impressive gold sculptured pieces.

Many figures from West Africa are used in religious ceremonies and are often covered with things that are given to them as part of ceremonies. People who speak Mande and live in the same area make things out of wood that have wide, flat surfaces and cylindrical arms and legs. In Central Africa, on the other hand, the main things that set them apart are faces in the shape of a heart that curve inward and have patterns of circles and dots.


African art History

African art is the art that has been made on the African continent from the beginning of time until now. Even though African art is very different, it often has a strong religious sense that comes from the spiritualism of the different religions there. The most common colors are red, which stands for fertility and life, white, which stands for eternal life, and black, which stands for darkness. At the beginning of the 20th century, many European avant-garde artists started to combine African masks and statues. Most of the time, they left out the masks' symbolic meanings, religious myths, and ideologies, and only looked at how they looked from the outside, how their planes and volumes looked. 

Myths were usually shown not by a made-up image of the god, but by real people, including ancestors, or masks that were used in rituals to protect people from the hardships of life and at public events. The first people to like African art were members of the Fauvist movement, like André Derain, Henri Matisse, and Maurice de Vlaminck. From then on, the impact of this art would make it impossible to try to renew plastic.

In the first half of the 20th century, the "Negro Arts," which was a term for tribal art from Africa and the Oceanic continents, caused a lot of arguments between European artists and art historians. This led to a revolution in the plastic arts, which was inevitable.

African art taught a lot about how to find new ways to look at things that were inspired by movements like Cubism, German Expressionism, Italian Futurism, and French Fauvism.

Cubism, in particular, wanted to break away from classical ways of representing things. Its main goal was to organize volumes to create a new sense of "three-dimensionality" in the work. It found in African plasticity a concept of balance that, rather than being based on an aesthetic logic, is based on an intimate logic, in a harmonious unity of parts.

The universal exhibitions on colonialism in Brussels in 1897 and Paris in 1907 (and later in 1917 and 1919) had a big impact on the most famous European artists and made them want to collect things from Africa to use as inspiration for new works.

First, Pablo Picasso, who went to many exhibitions and was drawn to the "fetish masks" from the black continent, but before Picasso, Henri Matisse was the first of the Fauves to see in black art a strength and a formal essence of absolute extremity. Soon, there was a need in Italy to go beyond the historical avant-garde and go back to tradition. This was done by simplifying patterns through a primitive synthesis that was based on black art.


From Prehistory to Nok Art

Neolithic cave paintings are mostly found at the ends of the continent. For example, the Tassili deposits in the Sahara date back to the beginning of the sixth millennium B.C. The paintings and engravings almost always show animals. They come from two different art cultures: the older one is called hunter's art, and the newer one is called herder's art. This area must have been much wetter and full of more animals in the past, because there are a lot of wild animals (elephants, giraffes, buffaloes, and hippos) and domestic animals on display (rams, oxen, camels...). There are lots of families, young people diving, and other signs of life and hope in the scenes.

More recent Bushman paintings from the 3rd millennium were found in South Africa. They showed scenes of hunting, dancing, fighting, and magical rituals, such as the famous "Cattle grazing scene." This scene shows a group of hunters moving quickly, making them look small in front of the large animals, which were signs of wealth in the Bushman village. There is a detailed study of the natural pattern, where the use of different colors creates the feeling of volume. After Egyptian sculptures, the oldest African sculptures are from the village of Nok in Nigeria, where interesting pieces like busts were already being made. 

Here, we can see how Negro-African sculpture tends to get simpler: the eyes are big, the eyelashes are arched, and the shapes are soft and round. They used a special mixture of mud and goat's milk to make the eyes shine. Sculptural art seems to have started around 500 B.C. and ended around 900 A.D., but its influence can still be seen in Ife, the oldest capital of the Yoruba people. There, they created a very realistic style of art that can be seen in the busts they made. These figures were probably used in funeral ceremonies and consisted of a head stuck on a pole and then covered with clothes. When the first of these sculptures came to the West in 1910, people thought they were from a Greek colony far away, or that they were made by Roman or Egyptian artists.


Focus on West Africa

With the exception of Senegal, the western part of the continent still has a tribal pattern. This is due in large part to the strong resistance to the spread of Islam. This isolation has led to the creation of more personal and unique art. The Bidyogo live outside of Guinea-Bissau. Their art is very similar to that of their neighbors, the Baga. In fact, they make large masks that are somewhere between realism and abstraction and have a wide range of themes and a good sense of mass. 

Masks made for the Axiol spirits and statues that look like people with drums attached to them stand out. The Nalu are from the upper part of Niger. Their social and religious lives are controlled by a priestly caste. Their most important work is the Banda mask, which is also bigger than two meters. It has different animal-like designs on it, like the jaws of a crocodile. These were made to scare people who didn't know what they were, and they represent the spirit of the water, which is also called the same thing. The mask is usually worn horizontally on the head. The artist starts by drawing inspiration from a human face, which he then stretches out, stylizes, and decorates with geometric patterns and bright colors.

In the southern part of Sierra Leone, the Mendi are known for their Bundu masks, which are used in women's initiation ceremonies. These masks have a large head, a wide forehead, and a lot of hair that stands out, as well as a lot of decorations. Dan-Ngere is a name for a group of ethnic groups with a lot in common. Most of them live in Liberia, Guinea, and the eastern part of Côte d'Ivoire. Instead of making statues, they made rich masks that were figurative with fantastic elements and stylized to the point of abstraction.

The Senufo live in the humid savannah in the middle of Côte d'Ivoire. They are not a single political group, but instead are made up of a number of separate tribes that work together. Artists in the area are taught how to make art and are highly respected by the people because they are seen as the gods' messengers. They live in round houses made of wood, with walls made of mud and stone and thatched roofs. There are three main kinds of statues: deblè, which are tall and elegantly long and used in fertility rites, degelè, which are more simple and used in funerals, and sandongo (with more angular profiles). On the other hand, they made very few masks that were called ponyungo when they showed animals and gpelye when they showed people.

The Senufo live in the humid savannah in the middle of Côte d'Ivoire. They are not a single political group, but instead are made up of a number of separate tribes that work together. Artists in the area are taught how to make art and are highly respected by the people because they are seen as the gods' messengers. They live in round houses made of wood, with walls made of mud and stone and thatched roofs. There are three main kinds of statues: deblè, which are tall and elegantly long and used in fertility rites, degelè, which are more simple and used in funerals, and sandongo (with more angular profiles). On the other hand, they made very few masks that were called ponyungo when they showed animals and gpelye when they showed people.

The Baulé queen and all of her people left the Ashanti Confederation at the beginning of the 18th century and moved to the Ivory Coast. They are good goldsmiths, like the Ashanti, but they don't know how to carve wood. They will learn this skill from the Gur. Their art is surprising because it is refined and delicate, and especially because of how carefully it is finished. These are qualities that make them popular in the West. It has a round face, a triangular hairstyle, and the eyes and eyebrows are curved in a way that makes them stand out. 

The artist carves the figures of ancestors, which will later be worshipped as symbols of their dead. When the human figure is shown, it keeps its solemn beauty, as seen in the masks of a man and a woman. With their naturalism and Sudanese influences, the sculptures are detailed and three-dimensional. They took a long time to make and show great skill in polishing and patinas. Unfortunately, the Baulés' art has become very boring and just keeps doing the same things over and over again.


Focus on Gulf of Guinea and Nigeria

It is the area that has had the most contact with the rest of the world. At the end of the 15th century, the first Portuguese sailors came to Ghana. This started a busy trade in gold and slaves that lasted until the 19th century. In the 18th century, Osei Tutu (1695–1731) started the Ashanti Confederation, which had its capital in Kumasi and lasted until the end of the century. This is how the Ashanti came to power in Ghana. Gold was used to make jewelry and weapons, especially helmets, which was a part of the courtly art. There are a lot of akwa'ba, or fertility-bringing dolls, made by hardworking folk artists. 

The trunk and arms are in the shape of a cone, and the head is very big, with a large circle decorated with geometric shapes and very expressive eyes. Masks were not used at all in this culture, which is surprising. However, the activity that stood out the most was making small bronze sculptures of people going about their daily lives in a realistic way. They also made sculptures of animals and geometric shapes with meanings, designs, or proverbs.

The Yoruba, who come from Lake Chad, have a strong power center in Nigeria. Their art is a mix of courtly and folk art, and it shows the influence of Benin in the many images of women, like the famous "Woman Carrying Her Child," which shows how important women are as protectors of tribal society, as shown by the child. It is very typical of the Yoruba to worship twins, which they call ibeji, so much that if one of them dies, the mother makes a statue of him to represent him and protect him as much as she protects the other child.

The important Kingdom of Benin was built with the help of the Yoruba people. Its history goes back to the 13th century. Around the year 1400, they met the Portuguese, who said that the capital was surrounded by a ten-foot-high wall and had luxurious buildings inside. This is an interesting example of courtly art, which is dominated by bronze casting. People dressed in European clothes are shown in the bas-reliefs and large bronze plaques that decorate the royal palace. Between the 14th and 15th centuries, art was at its best, and the beautiful Ora heads are a result of this. Very close to the realism of Ife art, these pictures are used during annual festivals. The smoothness of the face and the decoration of the hair make for a stark contrast.

Along the path of the Niger River in southern Nigeria, people like the Igbo, Ibibio, and Ekoi live. The Igbo are fishermen who live in the Niger delta. In their culture, the color white represents death and the new spiritual life of the afterlife. This is why most masks and figures of ancestors have whitewashed faces. The Ibibio, on the other hand, are mostly farmers and live in a very hierarchical society. The Ekoi live near the border with Cameroon. They are very realistic artists, to the point where they cover statues with antelope skin, like in the work "Human Heads." Their statues are big and impressive, like their akwanshi, which is a bell-shaped stone that can be up to two meters tall and is decorated with reliefs of ntoon king-priests.

The Fang are well-known in the equatorial jungle. In their ancestor worship, they use male or female figures called "bieri" as handles on a chest that holds the skulls of their most important ancestors. The bieri, which are guardian spirits of the chest, are based on the most crude models, right down to showing the whole body. The fang masks are very simple and abstract, and they may combine several images into one. This is the case with the four-sided finish: the head is disproportionate because it is where intelligence and spirit meet, so the details of the wide forehead and the triangular hair are emphasized.


African traditional art

Masks made of wood that look like people, animals, or mythical creatures are one of the most common types of art in western Africa. Ceremonial masks are used in their original places for celebrations, initiations, crop harvesting, and getting ready for war. The masks are worn by dancers who have been chosen or trained. During the mask ceremony, the dancer goes into a deep trance and "communicates" with his ancestors. 

The masks can be worn in three different ways: vertically, covering the face; as helmets, covering the whole head; and as crests, resting on the head, which was usually covered with cloth as part of the disguise. People in Africa believe that the spirit of their ancestors lives in the person who wears a mask that represents a spirit. Most African masks are made of wood and can be decorated with: The masks are also made of ivory, animal hair, plant fibers (like raffia), pigments (like kaolin), stones, and semiprecious gems.

Statues, which are usually made of wood or ivory, often have cowrie shells, metal studs, and nails inlaid into them. Decorative clothing is also very common and makes up a big part of the art of Africa. Ghana's colorful, strip-woven Kente cloth is one of the most complicated African textiles. Mudcloth with big patterns is another well-known method.

African art comes in many different styles and is made from a wide range of things. Most African art is made out of wood, which is probably because wood is so common. Jewelry is a popular form of art that can be used to show rank, belong to a group, or just look nice. African jewelry is made from many different things, like ebony wood, tiger's eye stone, haematite, sisal, coconut shell, beads, and sisal. Sculptures can be made of wood, ceramic, or stone, like the famous Shona sculptures. Sculpted or decorated pottery comes from many different places. There are many kinds of fabrics made, such as chitenge, mud cloth, and kente cloth. In west Africa, people like to make mosaics out of butterfly wings or colored sand. Early African sculptures are made of terracotta and bronze, which can be used to tell them apart. 

Traditional African religions have had a big impact on the art of the whole continent. African art is often based on religious symbols, functionalism, and utilitarianism, and many pieces are made for spiritual reasons rather than just to be beautiful. In many African cultures, ancestors are seen as the link between the living, the gods, and the supreme creator. Art is seen as a way to communicate with these ancestor spirits. Art can also be used to show gods, and it is valued for what it can do. But it's important to remember that the arrival of Christianity and Islam has also had a big impact on the art of the African continent. Traditions from both religions have been incorporated into the beliefs and art of traditional African religion.


African Art and the Avant-Garde

During and after the colonial times of the 19th and 20th centuries, Westerners often called African art "primitive." The word sounds bad because it sounds like underdevelopment and poverty. During colonization in the 1800s, people in the West came to believe that African art was not technically skilled because it was made by poor people. At the beginning of the 20th century, important works on the subject were written by art historians like Carl Einstein, Micha Sobeski, and Leo Frobenius. These works gave African art the status of an aesthetic object, not just an ethnographic object.

At the same time, artists like Paul Gauguin, Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, André Derain, Henri Matisse, Joseph Csaky, and Amedeo Modigliani learned about African art and were influenced by it. When the established avant-garde was struggling against the limits of serving the world of appearances, African art showed the power of extremely well-organized forms. These forms were made by responding not only to the sense of sight, but also and often mainly to the sense of imagination, emotion, and mystical and religious experience. 

These artists saw in African art a combination of formal perfection, sophistication, and a very strong ability to express emotion. At the beginning of the 20th century, artists studied and responded to African art. This led to a huge interest in abstraction, the organization and reorganization of forms, and the exploration of emotional and psychological areas that had not been seen before in Western art. By doing these things, the value of art changed. Art stopped being just and mostly about beauty and started being a real way to talk about philosophical and intellectual ideas. As a result, it became more truly and deeply beautiful than ever before.

The Modernist inspiration

From the end of the 19th century to the middle of the 20th century, major shows of tribal art introduced Western art to non-Western art. The Museum of Modern Art held important shows like Africa Negro Art in 1935 and Indian Art of the United States in 1941. Many modern artists, like Expressionists, Cubists, and Surrealists, were influenced by tribal art. Max Ernst, a Surrealist, and Pablo Picasso, who said that "primitive sculpture has never been surpassed," are two examples.

Cultural impact

Western anthropologists, private collectors, and museums of natural history and ethnography have collected and kept tribal arts for a long time. Tribal arts have been collected for a long time because of the Western myth of the "good savage." However, the lack of cultural context has made it hard for the Western public to understand tribal arts. In the 1800s, Western art professionals didn't think of tribal art or non-Western art in general as art.

Before postmodernism became popular in the 1960s, critics looked at tribal art from a purely formalist perspective, which meant that they only looked at how the art looked and didn't pay attention to its historical context, symbols, or what the artist was trying to say. As indigenous and non-indigenous advocates have worked for a more objective ethnographic art culture, the art world's view of tribal creative expressions is becoming less patronizing. People have tried to find similarities or parallels between indigenous art and newer art forms in Western culture. This is especially true of music styles that borrow from the music of marginalized groups, like flamenco and jazz, which come from gypsies and black people, respectively.

Tribal art exhibitions in the late 1800s and early 1900s introduced Western artists to art from other parts of the world. They also inspired many modern artists, especially the Expressionists, Cubists, and Surrealists like Max Ernst. Pablo Picasso, whose cubist style was heavily influenced by tribal art, said that "primitive sculpture has never been surpassed."

What is Primitivism?

Primitivism is an idealization of beauty in the arts of the Western World. Its goal is to recreate the experience of living in a primitive time, place, and with primitive people, either by copying them or recreating them. Primitivism is a school of thought in Western philosophy that says the morals and ethics of a primitive society are better than those of a modern society. In art and philosophy, this is like longing for a golden age that never existed in the Garden of Eden.

Primitivism was a style of art in Europe that copied techniques, motifs, and styles from the art of Asian, African, and Australasian people who were seen as primitive by western Europe's urban culture. In this way, the painter Paul Gauguin's use of Tahitian imagery in his oil paintings was a typical borrowing of technique, motif, and style that was important to the development of Modern art (1860s–1970s) in the late 19th century. Primitivism was a style of art in the West that repeated and spread racist stereotypes. For example, "The Noble Savage" was used by colonialists to justify their rule over non-white people in Asia, Africa, and Australasia.

Primitivism also refers to the techniques, themes, and styles of painting that were most popular in representational art before the Avant-garde. It also refers to the styles of Nave art and folk art made by amateur artists like Henri Rousseau who painted for fun.

What is the Primitivist philosophy?

Primitivism is a utopian style of art that tries to show the natural world and people as they were before society and civilization. There are two kinds of primitivism: chronological and cultural. In ancient Europe, the myth of a golden age, which was shown in the Pastoral genres of poetry and representational art, showed that life in the past was better.

During the Age of Enlightenment, intellectuals used romanticizing native peoples as a way to criticize parts of European culture. However, in the field of aesthetics, as part of the Quarrel of the Ancients and the Moderns, the Italian intellectual Giambattista Vico (1688–1744) was the first to argue that primitive peoples were closer to the sources of inspiration for poetry and the arts than the civilized modern man. Vico emphasized the idea of human diversity, which lets people look at the same needs of life from different points of view.

In the 1800s, the German scholar Friedrich August Wolf figured out what made oral literature unique and found that Homer and the Bible were examples of folk or oral tradition (Prolegomena to Homer, 1795). This was a part of the literary appreciation of primitivism, along with the naturalness, passion, and bardic tradition in poetry and the history of language. Herder took Vico and Wolf's ideas and made them even better at the start of the 19th century. Even though these arguments were important in literature, only a small number of educated people knew about them, and they had little or no effect on the visual arts.

First seen in the 19th century, historicism is the ability to judge different times based on their own circumstances and standards. Because of this, new schools of visual art grew up that tried to create settings and clothes that were historically accurate in ways that had never been done before. One result was neoclassicism in art and architecture. The Nazarene movement in Germany was another "historicist" art movement that was influenced by the so-called "primitive" school of devotional paintings in Italy (i.e., before the age of Raphael and the discovery of oil painting).

Where traditional academic painting (after Raphael) used dark glazes, highly selective, idealized forms, and strict omission of details, the Nazarenes used clear lines, bright colors, and paid careful attention to details. The art styles of the school were similar to those of the Pre-Raphaelites. The Pre-Raphaelites were mostly influenced by the criticism of John Ruskin, who liked the painters before Raphael, like Botticelli, and who also suggested painting outside, which was unheard of at the time.

In the middle of the 19th century, two things happened that changed the world of visual art. The first was the invention of the camera, which may have helped the realist movement in art. The second was the discovery of non-Euclidean geometry in the world of mathematics. This overturned the 2000-year-old "absolutes" of Euclidean geometry and called into question the traditional Renaissance view of the world by suggesting that things might look very different in different dimensions and from different points of view.

The discovery of possible new dimensions had the opposite effect of photography and worked against realism. Artists, mathematicians, and intellectuals now realized there were other ways to see things than what they had been taught in Beaux Arts schools of Academic painting, which had a strict curriculum based on copying idealized classical forms and held Renaissance perspective painting up as the pinnacle of civilization and knowledge. Beaux Arts academies thought that non-Western people didn't have art or that their art was bad.

In order to get away from this dogmatic way of thinking, Western artists started to try to show things that might happen in a world other than the three-dimensional world of classical sculpture. They looked to Japanese and Chinese art, which they thought was learned and sophisticated, and they didn't use Renaissance one-point perspective. Non-Euclidean perspectives and tribal art were interesting to Western artists because they showed the spirit world in a way that was still magical.

They also looked at the art of untrained painters and children's art, which they thought showed emotional truths about the inside that traditional academic painting, which was more like a recipe book, had left out. People who didn't like how restrictive European culture was also liked tribal and other non-European art, just like they liked pastoral art for thousands of years.

Imitations of tribal or ancient art are also a form of "historicism" from the nineteenth century, since they try to look like the real thing. Artists and collectors alike valued real pieces of tribal, ancient, and folk art. People often say that Paul Gauguin's and Pablo Picasso's paintings and Igor Stravinsky's music are the best examples of primitivism in art. Stravinsky's "The Rite of Spring" is considered "primitivist" because its main theme is a pagan ritual: a human sacrifice in Russia before it became Christian. It uses harsh dissonance and loud, repetitive rhythms to show "Dionysian" modernism, which means letting go of inhibitions (restraint standing for civilization).

 Stravinsky was a master of classical tradition, though, and stayed within its limits. Malcolm Cook says that Stravinsky's "The Rite of Spring" (1913), which has elements of folk music and was inspired by the famous Paris riot of 1913, is an example of primitivism in both form and content, but it is still rooted in classical Western music. In his later work, he moved toward a more "Apollonian" neoclassicism, to use Nietzsche's words, but he still rejected 19th-century conventions when he used serialism. Picasso's work, whether it was cubist, neoclassical, or influenced by tribal art, is also seen as a rejection of the expectations of Beaux Arts and an expression of primal urges.

Primitivism grew because people were afraid of how technology was changing, but the "Age of Discovery," which brought the West into contact with people it had never met before and opened the door to colonialism, was the most important factor. [16] During the European Enlightenment, when feudalism fell out of favor, philosophers began to question many fixed medieval ideas about human nature, the place of people in society, and the rules of Christianity, especially Catholicism. [17] They started to wonder about the nature of people and where they came from when they talked about the "natural man," a topic that had interested theologians ever since the first Europeans came to the New World.

What is the origin of Primitivism?

From the 18th century on, Western thinkers and artists kept up the retrospective tradition, which is "the conscious search in history for a more deeply expressive, permanent human nature and cultural structure in contrast to the emerging modern realities."Their search took them to parts of the world that they thought were different from modern civilization.

In the 19th century, the steamboat and other new ways to travel around the world brought the native cultures and artifacts of the European colonies to the cities at the heart of the empire. Many Western-trained artists and art lovers were fascinated by these objects. They thought that their shapes and styles were "primitive" forms of expression, especially the lack of linear perspective, simple outlines, presence of symbolic signs like the hieroglyph, emotional distortions of the figure, and what they thought were energetic rhythms from the use of repetitive ornamental patterns.

Recent cultural critics say that it was mostly the cultures of Africa and the Oceanic islands that gave artists an answer to what they call their "white, Western, and mostly male quest" for the "elusive ideal" of the primitive, "whose very condition of desirability lies in some form of distance and difference." The art of Africa, Oceania, and the Indians of the Americas all had these energizing style traits. You could also find them in the ancient and peasant art of Europe and Asia.

Gauguin and Privitivism

Paul Gauguin wanted to get away from European culture and technology, so he moved to the French colony of Tahiti and lived a very simple life. This made him feel closer to nature than he could in Europe. Gauguin's search for the primitive was clearly a search for sexual freedom. This is clear in paintings like The Spirit of the Dead Wakes (1892), Parau na te Varua ino (1892), Annah the Javanese (1893), Te Tamari No Atua (1896), and Barbarian Tales (1902).

Gauguin's view of Tahiti as an earthly Arcadia with free love, a mild climate, and naked nymphs is similar to, if not the same as, that of the classical pastoral, which has shaped the way people in the West think about rural life for thousands of years. One of his Tahitian paintings is called Tahitian Pastorals, and another is called Where do we come from? What do we do? Where do we want to go?" Gauguin did this to add non-European models to the pastoral academic tradition of the schools of fine arts, which had previously only used idealized European figures copied from ancient Greek sculpture.

Gauguin also thought he was honoring Tahitian culture and protecting its people from European colonization. Critics from the postcolonial feminist movement, on the other hand, don't like that Gauguin had teenage mistresses, one of whom was only 13 years old. The men remind us that Gauguin, like many European men of his time and those who came after him, only saw freedom, especially sexual freedom, from the point of view of the male colonizer.

Using Gauguin as an example of what is "wrong" with primitivism, these critics come to the conclusion that elements of primitivism include the "dense intertwining of racial and sexual fantasies and both colonial and patriarchal power." For these critics, Gauguin's primitivism shows fantasies about racial and sexual difference in a "effort to essentialize notions of primitivism" with the "different." So, primitivism becomes a process similar to exoticism and Orientalism. According to what Edward Said has also said, colonized people and their cultures were defined by European imperialism and the "West's" one-sided and degrading views of the "East." In other words, even though Gauguin thought he was honoring and defending Tahitians by making them look ideal and "different," he actually contributed to the colonial discourse and worldviews of his time.

Fauvism and Picasso

Paul Gauguin wanted to get away from European culture and technology, so he moved to the French colony of Tahiti and lived a very simple life. This made him feel closer to nature than he could in Europe. Gauguin's search for the primitive was clearly a search for sexual freedom. This is clear in paintings like The Spirit of the Dead Wakes (1892), Parau na te Varua ino (1892), Annah the Javanese (1893), Te Tamari No Atua (1896), and Barbarian Tales (1902).

Gauguin's view of Tahiti as an earthly Arcadia with free love, a mild climate, and naked nymphs is similar to, if not the same as, that of the classical pastoral, which has shaped the way people in the West think about rural life for thousands of years. One of his Tahitian paintings is called Tahitian Pastorals, and another is called Where do we come from? What do we do? Where do we want to go?" Gauguin did this to add non-European models to the pastoral academic tradition of the schools of fine arts, which had previously only used idealized European figures copied from ancient Greek sculpture.

Gauguin also thought he was honoring Tahitian culture and protecting its people from European colonization. Critics from the postcolonial feminist movement, on the other hand, don't like that Gauguin had teenage mistresses, one of whom was only 13 years old. The men remind us that Gauguin, like many European men of his time and those who came after him, only saw freedom, especially sexual freedom, from the point of view of the male colonizer. Using Gauguin as an example of what is "wrong" with primitivism, these critics come to the conclusion that elements of primitivism include the "dense intertwining of racial and sexual fantasies and both colonial and patriarchal power."

For these critics, Gauguin's primitivism shows fantasies about racial and sexual difference in a "effort to essentialize notions of primitivism" with the "different." So, primitivism becomes a process similar to exoticism and Orientalism. According to what Edward Said has also said, colonized people and their cultures were defined by European imperialism and the "West's" one-sided and degrading views of the "East." In other words, even though Gauguin thought he was honoring and defending Tahitians by making them look ideal and "different," he actually contributed to the colonial discourse and worldviews of his time.

Anti-colonialist primitivism

Primitivism in art is usually thought of as a Western thing, but you can see the structure of primitivist idealism in the work of non-Western artists, especially anticolonial artists. Here, a critique of the effects of Western modernity on colonized societies is linked to the desire to return to an imagined and idealized past in which people lived in harmony with nature. These artists often criticize the way the West sees colonized people as "primitive," but they also want to get back to the way things were before colonization. When anti-colonialism and the reverse teleology of primitivism come together, they make art that is different from the primitivism of Western artists, which usually reinforces colonial stereotypes instead of criticizing them.

This is especially clear in the work of artists who were part of the Négritude movement. Négritude was a movement of neo-African idealism and political activism that began in the 1930s with intellectuals and artists who spoke French on both sides of the Atlantic. It later spread to Africa and the African diaspora. They liked the best versions of Africa before it was taken over by Europeans. This usually meant rejecting too much European rationalism and the bad effects of colonialism and assuming that African societies before colonialism were more communal and natural. Among Negritude artists, the work of Cuban artist Wifredo Lam is especially interesting. When Lam lived in Paris in the 1930s, he met Pablo Picasso and the European Surrealists. When Lam went back to Cuba in 1941, he was told to make paintings in which people, animals, and nature were all mixed together. Lam's famous 1943 work, The Jungle, is a re-creation of a fantastical jungle scene with African patterns hidden in the reed stems. He shows in a very clear way how the neo-African ideals of Negritude are linked to a history of slavery on sugar plantations. People like Leopold Sedar Senghor, Aimé Cesaire, Leon-Gontran Damas, and Guy Tirolien were part of this movement. The idea of Nègritude was mostly criticized by black authors, who saw it as a way to hide racism or give in to a colonialist way of thinking.

What is neo-Primitivism?

The 31-page pamphlet Neo-primitivizm by Aleksandr Shevchenko gave the Russian art movement Neo-primitivism its name (1913). It is a type of avant-garde movement and is proposed as a new style of modern painting that combines elements of Cézanne, Cubism, and Futurism with traditional Russian "folk art" conventions and motifs, such as the Russian icon and the lubok.

The art of the Blue Rose movement changed into neo-primitivism. People liked the new movement because the one that came before it liked to look back so much that it passed its creative peak. A conceptualization of neo-primitivism describes it as anti-primitivist Primitivism, because it questions the Eurocentric universalism of primitivism. From this point of view, neo-primitivism is a modern version that rejects earlier primitiveist ideas. Neo-primitivist art has a lot of things in common, such as the use of bright colors, original designs, and expressiveness. Paul Gauguin's paintings show this by using bright colors and flat shapes instead of a three-dimensional view. Igor Stravinsky was another neo-primitivist who was known for his Russian folk-inspired pieces for children. Several neo-primitivist artists were also in the Blue Rose group in the past.

Curiosity: the tribal origin of body painting

"Body painting or dermocromy," or body painting in general, but especially tribal makeup on the face, is one of the many things that are part of the world of color. Some people, like the Indians, have colorful faces that are interesting to look at. This is mostly because of the way they paint their faces and bodies, but also because of their customs, rituals with very specific dances, the way they dress, and other things.

Body painting has been around for a very long time. Face and body painting was one of the earliest ways for artists to express themselves. It was used by many different groups of people at ceremonies and rituals for folkloric, religious, hunting, war, or battle, or even sexual reasons.

People say that Neanderthals also knew how to paint their bodies, so it is a very old form of art. Some people thought that painting their bodies was a way to keep bugs away, others thought it was a way to protect themselves from the weather, others thought it was a way to gain strength in battle, others thought it was just a way to look pretty, etc. This body art was only worn for a few days and served a very specific purpose.

In the past, people mixed paint with bear fat to make a more consistent substance, and they sang and prayed while they painted. Mayan people were the first to use oriana to paint their faces for religious ceremonies (deep red in color). On the other hand, Celts painted themselves before going into battle. Aboriginal people in Australia would paint their whole bodies for ceremonies.

The famous "Native American" Indians got their name because they painted their faces red when they went into battle. In North India, people also put oil on their bodies after drawing on them. Sumerians painted the face white and vermilion red. Body painting was done by North American Indians. Both living and dead Egyptians used to have their bodies painted. The Japanese used colors to tell people apart by their social status. So, each group could paint themselves however they wanted, based on their traditions and for many different reasons.

Some people, especially in the past, drew their whole bodies because they were often naked. Later, though, many warriors would paint their faces with pigments or natural colors that had clear meanings.

Some ethnographic museums

Musée du Quai Branly

The French architect Jean Nouvel created the Musée du Quai Branly in Paris, France, to show the art and cultures of Africa, Asia, Oceania, and the Americas. There are more than a million items in the museum's collection, including ethnographic items, photographs, documents, and more. At any given time, 3,500 of these items are on display in both permanent and temporary thematic exhibits. Some items from the museum are also on display in the Louvre's Pavillon des Sessions.

The Quai Branly Museum opened in 2006, making it the newest of Paris's big museums. In 2016, 1.15 million people went there. It is run by the French Ministry of Higher Education and Research and the Ministry of Culture and Communication. It is both a museum and a research center. The Musée du quai Branly is in the 7th arrondissement of Paris, near the Eiffel Tower and the Pont de l'Alma. It is on the left bank of the Seine. Some people have called for the return of the museum's collections, which were taken from other countries during colonial conquest.

The Museum of Primitive Art

The Museum of Primitive Art is no longer open. It was a museum that showed early art from Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe, and Oceania. It was started in 1954 by Nelson Rockefeller, who gave some of the Tribal art from his own collection. In 1957, the museum opened to the public in a New York City townhouse at 15 West 54th Street. The museum's first director was Robert Goldwater, who lived from 1907 to 1973. In 1976, the museum closed, and its art was moved to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The Eskenazi Museum of Art

Henry Radford Hope was in charge when the Eskenazi Museum of Art at Indiana University opened in 1941. Herman B. Wells, who was president of Indiana University at the time, had the idea for the museum to be the center of a "cultural crossroads." The current building of the museum was made by I.M. Pei and Partners and opened in 1982. About 45,000 things are in the museum's collection, but only about 1,400 are on display. The collection has everything from ancient jewelry to works of art by Picasso and Pollock. In May 2016, the museum was renamed the Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art. This was done to honor Sidney and Lois Eskenazi, who live in Indianapolis and have given a lot of money to good causes. The museum is at 1133 E. Seventh Street, which is on the campus of Indiana University Bloomington.


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Painting,  31.5x31.5 in
Primary Shield Painting, 31.5x31.5 in
©2023 Pierre Soufflet

Origins and history of contemporary art

The story of contemporary art unfolds in the mid-20th century, marked by seismic shifts in artistic expression. Post-World War II, around the 1950s and 1960s, artists began experimenting beyond traditional confines, challenging the norms of what art could be. This revolutionary epoch birthed myriad new movements and artistic forms such as abstract expressionism, pop art, and minimalism. Paintings, once confined by realism, embraced abstraction, as artists used color and form to express emotions and ideas. Notable periods like the advent of pop art in the late 1950s and early 1960s saw artworks mimicking popular culture and mass media, reflecting society’s shifting focus.

The sculptural arts, too, witnessed a metamorphosis. Sculptors started to experiment with new materials and forms, often creating artworks that interacted with the viewer and the surrounding space, fostering a sense of engagement. Drawing, a timeless practice, also evolved, with artists incorporating innovative techniques and concepts to redefine its role in contemporary art.

Photography, a relatively new medium, emerged as a powerful tool in the contemporary art landscape. Born in the 19th century, it truly came into its own in the latter half of the 20th century, blurring the lines between fine art and documentation. Printmaking, a practice dating back to ancient times, saw renewed interest and experimentation with techniques like lithography, etching, and screen printing gaining prominence.

The realm of textile art expanded dramatically, as artists began to appreciate the versatility and tactile quality of fabric and fibers. Artists began using textiles to challenge the boundaries between fine art, craft, and design. 

The dawn of digital technology in the late 20th century heralded a new age for contemporary art. Digital art emerged as artists started leveraging new technologies to create immersive, interactive experiences, often blurring the line between the virtual and the physical world.

Through these transformative periods, the essence of contemporary art has remained the same: a dynamic, evolving reflection of the times we live in, continually pushing boundaries and embracing the new, always questioning, always exploring.

Painting,  31.5x23.6 in
African Mask XI Painting, 31.5x23.6 in
©2024 Kosta Morr

Evolutions of theses contemporary works in the art market

As we navigate through the 21st century, the dynamic landscape of contemporary art continues to evolve and expand, reflecting our ever-changing world. Contemporary paintings, once primarily confined to two-dimensional canvases, now embrace a multitude of forms and techniques, ranging from mixed media installations to digital creations, each piece a rich a weaving of thoughts, emotions, and narratives. Sculpture, too, has ventured far beyond traditional stone and bronze, with artists incorporating light, sound, and even motion, embodying the ephemerality and flux of the modern world.

Photography, in the hands of Contemporary Artists, has expanded its horizons, seamlessly blending with digital technology to create breathtaking imagery that challenges our perception of reality. Drawing, as well, has transcended the borders of paper, incorporating multimedia elements and exploratory techniques to redefine its role in the artistic discourse. Printmaking continues to flourish, with contemporary artists using traditional methods in innovative ways to deliver potent social and personal commentaries.

Textile art, once considered a craft, now holds a prominent place in the contemporary art world, with artists using it to explore issues of identity, tradition, and cultural heritage. Meanwhile, digital art, the newest member of the contemporary art family, has revolutionized the way we create and interact with art, presenting immersive experiences that blur the boundary between the virtual and the physical.

These diverse forms of contemporary art hold significant value in the current art market, not only due to their aesthetic appeal but also their ability to encapsulate and communicate complex ideas and emotions. Collectors, curators, and art lovers worldwide seek these works, drawn to their inherent dynamism, their innovative use of materials, and their eloquent expressions of our shared human experience. As a testimonial to our times, these contemporary artworks encapsulate the pulse of our society and the resonance of individual voices, forever etching our collective narrative into the annals of art history.

Painting,  11.8x11.8 in
Serie: Lost Code. Maasai. No. R105. Painting, 11.8x11.8 in
©2024 Artem Usá

Famous Contemporary Artists

As we delve into the vibrant realm of contemporary art, we encounter an array of artists who shape this dynamic field. Each a master in their medium - painting, sculpture, photography, drawing, printmaking, textile, or digital art - they push artistic boundaries, reflecting our era and challenging perceptions. Let’s explore these remarkable contributors and their groundbreaking works.

1. Gerhard Richter - Known for his multi-faceted approach to painting, Richter challenges the boundaries of the medium, masterfully oscillating between abstract and photorealistic styles. His works, whether featuring squeegee-pulled pigments or blurred photographic images, engage in a fascinating dialogue with perception.

2. Jeff Koons - A significant figure in contemporary sculpture, Koons crafts monumental pieces that explore themes of consumerism, taste, and popular culture. His iconic balloon animals, constructed in mirror-polished stainless steel, captivate with their playful yet profound commentary.

3. Cindy Sherman - An acclaimed photographer, Sherman uses her lens to explore identity and societal roles, particularly of women. Renowned for her conceptual self-portraits, she assumes myriad characters, pushing the boundaries of photography as a medium of artistic expression.

4. David Hockney - Hockney, with his prolific output spanning six decades, is a pivotal figure in contemporary drawing. His bold use of color and playful exploration of perspective convey an intoxicating sense of joy and an unabashed celebration of life.

5. Kiki Smith - An innovative printmaker, Smith’s work explores the human condition, particularly the female body and its social and cultural connotations. Her etchings and lithographs speak to universal experiences of life, death, and transformation.

6. El Anatsui - A master of textile art, Anatsui creates stunning tapestry-like installations from discarded bottle caps and aluminum scraps. These shimmering, flexible sculptures blend traditional African aesthetic with contemporary art sensibilities, speaking to themes of consumption, waste, and the interconnectedness of our world.

7. Rafael Lozano-Hemmer - A leading figure in digital art, Lozano-Hemmer utilizes technology to create interactive installations that blend architecture and performance art. His work, often participatory in nature, explores themes of surveillance, privacy, and the relationship between people and their environments.

Painting,  11.8x11.8 in
Serie: Lost Code. Maasai. No. R106. Painting, 11.8x11.8 in
©2024 Artem Usá

Notable contemporary artworks

The contemporary art landscape is a dynamic patchwork of diverse expressions and groundbreaking ideas, each artwork a unique dialog with its audience. Here are a selection of some renowned contemporary artworks, spanning various media such as painting, sculpture, photography, drawing, printmaking, textile art, and digital art, that have profoundly influenced this vibrant movement.

  1. "Cloud Gate" by Anish Kapoor, 2006 - This monumental stainless steel sculpture, also known as "The Bean," mirrors and distorts the Chicago skyline and onlookers in its seamless, liquid-like surface, creating an interactive experience that blurs the line between the artwork and the viewer.

  2. "Marilyn Diptych" by Andy Warhol, 1962 - An iconic piece of pop art, this silkscreen painting features fifty images of Marilyn Monroe. Half brightly colored, half in black and white, it reflects the dichotomy of celebrity life and its influence on popular culture.

  3. "Rhein II" by Andreas Gursky, 1999 - This photographic artwork, a digitally-altered image of the Rhine River, is celebrated for its minimalist aesthetic. It strips the landscape to its bare essentials, invoking a sense of tranquility and vastness.

  4. "Black Square" by Kazimir Malevich, 1915 - A revolutionary painting in the realm of abstract art, this piece, featuring nothing more than a black square on a white field, challenges traditional notions of representation, symbolizing a new era in artistic expression.

  5. "Puppy" by Jeff Koons, 1992 - This giant sculpture, a West Highland Terrier blanketed in flowering plants, explores themes of innocence, consumer culture, and the interplay between high art and kitsch. It’s a delightful blend of traditional sculpture and garden craft.

  6. "Re-projection: Hoerengracht" by Ed and Nancy Kienholz, 1983-1988 - A room-sized tableau representing Amsterdam’s red-light district, this work combines elements of sculpture, painting, lighting, and found objects. It engages viewers in a stark commentary on commodification and objectification.

  7. "Untitled" (Your body is a battleground) by Barbara Kruger, 1989 - This photomontage, combining black-and-white photography with impactful text, explores issues of feminism, identity, and power. Its potent, confrontational message is a prime example of the power of text in contemporary visual art.

  8. "For the Love of God" by Damien Hirst, 2007 - This sculpture, a platinum cast of a human skull encrusted with 8,601 diamonds, probes themes of mortality, value, and the human fascination with luxury and decadence. It’s a compelling blend of macabre and magnificence.

  9. "Physical impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living" by Damien Hirst, 1991 - This artwork, featuring a tiger shark preserved in formaldehyde, blurs the line between traditional sculpture and biological specimen. It prompts viewers to contemplate mortality and nature’s ferocity.

  10. "One and Three Chairs" by Joseph Kosuth, 1965 - A piece of conceptual art, it presents a physical chair, a photograph of a chair, and a dictionary definition of a chair, thus exploring the relationship between language, picture, and referent in art.

These pieces, in their diversity, exemplify the rich tapestry of contemporary art, each piece a unique commentary on our world and a testament to the limitless potential of creative expression.

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