The development process of oil painting has gone classical, modern and contemporary ears. The paintings of different periods take on different aspects, affected by the constraints of domination and techniques of artistic ideas.
The historical conditions of the painting of early age laid the realistic tendency of classical painting. During the European Renaissance of the 15th century, humanist thought paid more attention to the social reality against the religion. Many famous painters gradually emerged from the creation of a single Christian theme. They began to observe and describe the figures, landscapes and items in life, which included realistic secular factors. The artists of the Renaissance inherited the art notion of Greek and Roman. That is not only focus on the description of events or facts but also reveals the causes and consquences of events or facts. Therefore the artistic techniques which focus on how to conceive typical plot and how to create typical characters turned up.
At the same time, artists were also exploring the usage of anatomy and perspective in painting and brightness distribution, which formed the scientific principles of shape. The application of anatomy developed the accurate proportion, shape and structural relationship. The establishment of focus lens create the deep space of illusion for painting through composition. The scene in the painting create the same feeling as the instant reality. Chiaroscuro unifies the image in the painting in the main light source, forming a clear hierarchy from near to far. The reason that the art theme and modeling concepts in other kinds of painting can’t be completed, is constrainted by tooling and material. But the properties of oil painting tools and materials can reflect both of them. Thus, classical oil painting produced long-term created and realistic look.
Classical oil paintings on the whole is the result integrated by painting language factors. But the artists from different countries and different periods focused on different factors, therefore they created different styles. For example, the Italian artists of the Renaissance emphasised on the use of chiaroscuro. The dark objects in a painting is shrouded in the shadow. The boundary line of light and darkness were transited softly, which created an effect of focused and unaware. The “Madonna of the Roacks” from L. da Vince is a representative of this style. Titan from Italy is the first artist who especially emphasized on the performace of color. He apinted on the dark foundation, and used bright color to constitute a magnificent golden tone.
The 17th century was a period of rapid development of European classical paintings. Different regional and national artists explored in the painting language based on the social background of their own lives and national temperament. The types of paintings are divided by subjects into history painting, religious story painting, group portraits, individual portraits, landscpaes, still lifes, and genre paintings. The painting technique is also becoming more and more abundant. Started from the 18th century, the art of oil painting had a big change under the impact of multiple factors such as society, culture and technology. More schools, more thinking, more creation, and more profound and broader impactive theory were flourjishing. According to Zhou Li, Han Shu and other literature, 2000 years ago, China has a history of oil painting. The usual argument is China didi not have oil painting until 1587 Ricci brought Madonna to China. A piece of works “Wood Beauty” which lasted for five hundred years is still faintly visible in the style of ancient beauty.