Monday, February 22, 2010

Bravo for Art... or Not?

When I was studying art at the university, my painting instructors encouraged non-objective or abstract art. They were often critical or dismissive of those students who were interested in capturing fine details of a still life or model.

Since the advent of photography, there's been an ongoing discussion whether realistic painting's time has passed. Perhaps it's no longer necessary to chronicle life and time in paintings. I was considering this when a "Google" search led me to the art of Claudio Bravo (1936 to present), a very famous and successful realistic painter. (Self-portrait above.)

Brav0 was born in Chile and studied art in Santiago. (He has lived in Morocco since 1972.) His first exhibition was held at age 17. Although Bravo gained international fame as a portraitist, he is also an accomplished still life painter.

His works are found in the prestigious museums and galleries in the world. Several books have been written about his art. Yet, art schools, critics and many curators are moving away from promoting realistic work - leaving that to photography.

Looking at the few examples below of Mr. Bravo's often described "hyperrealistic" painting style, do you think in our digital world this type of painting is passe'? (click on image to enlarge)


  1. Wow! What an artist! I'd love to see his work in person. I never heard of him before... No, I don't think anyone who paints this well could ever be disregarded. It's too bad if they're not teaching basic composition etc in school. Even Picasso started with the basics and developed from there. Sylvia

  2. I don't agree that photography could ever take the place of realistic painting. There's something about the way the pigments capture light that photo paper could never do. If photography had existed in the past and all those great portraits had been done with the camera instead of the brush, I would frankly find them boring rather than fascinating. Also, a photo takes a second, whereas a painting can take weeks of living with and observing the subject. The artist always puts little interpretations and ideas into a painting that can't be captured by mechanical means. I think it is a disservice to art students to reject realism outright.

    Check out one of my favorite realism painters: Scot Fraser

  3. I don't think it's passe` at all, but I imagine there are a lot of people who do. I think they are short-sighted, and probably unconcerned digital's lack of longevity.

    Recently I watched a TV program about everything digital that the mostly young people are using. They claim to be able to multi-task as much as five things at once. I believe they can't do any of them well. They are losing the ability to concentrate on anything for more than mere minutes. They don't read books.

    There was an article in the RG about the future of school yearbooks. Already many schools are opting for the digital version. I have to wonder if they have thought, or even care, that digital images can vanish as quickly as they come. Just think, if those old masters hadn't used paints on durable surfaces they wouldn't be here for us to enjoy.

    I wonder sometimes if in the future there will be any way for us to see what's on all of the CDs were making now. Rmember 8-track tapes? LP records? 45s? Even the audio tapes we all have so many of. It's hard to find a tape player now.

    I hope we will continue to have art that can be seen and touched.


  4. Well, you all have expressed my sentiments, so there is little I can add. I will say it is a remarkable talent that capture such realism and I am always in awe of such artists and their work. Good subject and great comments.

  5. Thanks again for the Weds. art info. This guy is really good! Connie

  6. He is a most amazing artist. When an artist "captures" reality, it's much more than a camera can do. The artist can improve on reality. In art, not only God can create a tree.


  7. I didn't know his name, but I like his work and would enjoy seeing his originals. Sylviane