A figure painting is a work of art in any of the painting media with the primary subject being the human figure, whether clothed or nude. Figure painting may also refer to the activity of creating such a work. The human figure has been one of the contrast subjects of art since the first stone age cave paintings, and has been reinterpreted in various styles throughout history.[38] Some artists well known for figure painting are Peter Paul Rubens, Edgar Degas, and Édouard Manet.
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Modern and Contemporary Art has moved away from the historic value of craft and documentation in favour of concept, leading some to say, in the 1960s, that painting as a serious art form is dead.[clarification needed] This has not deterred the majority of living painters from continuing to practice painting either as whole or part of their work. The vitality and versatility of painting in the 21st century defies the previous "declarations" of its demise. In an epoch characterized by the idea of pluralism, there is no consensus as to a representative style of the age. Artists continue to make important works of art in a wide variety of styles and aesthetic temperaments—their merits are left to the public and the marketplace to judge.
Color, made up of hue, saturation, and value, dispersed over a surface is the essence of painting, just as pitch and rhythm are the essence of music. Color is highly subjective, but has observable psychological effects, although these can differ from one culture to the next. Black is associated with mourning in the West, but in the East, white is. Some painters, theoreticians, writers and scientists, including Goethe,[3] Kandinsky,[4] and Newton,[5] have written their own color theory.
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