Difference Between Representational and Nonrepresentational Art

Buying art can be daunting, especially if you’re unsure where to start.

But fear not!

You may encounter two main categories of art: representational and non-representational.

Let’s dive into the appeal of each type and discover tips for choosing the perfect artwork for your home or office.

Representational Art: What It Is & How To Identify It

Unlike non-representational art, which relies on abstract shapes, colors, and textures, representational art aims to depict familiar people, objects, or scenes from reality.

From Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa” to Vincent van Gogh’s “Starry Night,” and Edvard Munch’s “The Scream,” the most famous examples of representational art are known for their detailed and accurate representations of people, landscapes, and objects.

To identify representational art, keep an eye out for pieces that depict recognizable subject matter. In galleries, search for works featuring figures, objects, or scenes from the physical world. When browsing online, use filters to narrow your search down to representational styles or subject matter.

But, bear in mind that some artists may blend representational and non-representational elements in their work. For instance, a landscape painting may feature stylized shapes and colors that deviate from reality. In such cases, identifying representational art may require a more nuanced understanding of the artist’s style and intent.

The Appeal of Representational Art

As an art enthusiast, I am captivated by representational art, a style that has been popular for centuries and continues to entice many buyers today. The emotional and aesthetic qualities of representational art are among the main reasons for its enduring appeal.

For many people, the emotional resonance of representational art lies in its depiction of recognizable subject matter that they can connect with on a personal level. A portrait of a loved one or a landscape that evokes fond memories can evoke strong emotional responses. Additionally, representational art’s attention to detail and realism can be aesthetically pleasing, making it a preferred choice for art buyers who appreciate fine craftsmanship and technical skill.

Another draw of representational art is its historical significance. Representational art has been a cornerstone of many art movements, including Renaissance portraiture and Impressionist landscapes. Thus, it offers a sense of tradition and continuity that links art buyers to the broader art world.

Non-Representational Art: What It Is & How To Identify It

Non-representational art, or abstract art, is a captivating style that prioritizes the exploration of color, form, and texture, rather than trying to depict recognizable objects from reality. In contrast to representational art, which focuses on real-world subjects, non-representational art is all about the abstract elements that create a visual language of their own.

Some of the most influential abstract artists include Jackson Pollock, Wassily Kandinsky, and Mark Rothko. Pollock’s drip paintings, for example, feature intricate webs of colors that he achieved by dripping, pouring, and splattering paint onto his canvases. Kandinsky, on the other hand, was fascinated with the spiritual and emotional aspects of color and form, using bold geometric shapes and vivid hues in his works. Rothko’s large color-field compositions, meanwhile, invite the viewer to immerse themselves in the power of color, using abstract shapes to create a sense of depth and intensity.

While identifying non-representational art can be a bit challenging, there are some key characteristics that can help you recognize it. For instance, abstract art tends to be devoid of recognizable objects or scenes, instead featuring a focus on the abstract elements like color, shape, and texture. There is often a sense of ambiguity or openness that can lead to multiple interpretations.

When viewing non-representational art in galleries or online, taking the time to immerse yourself in the artwork and observe its unique qualities can be a valuable way to appreciate it. Reading the artist’s statements or other contextual information provided can also give you more insight into the artwork’s purpose and meaning. In this way, you can gain a deeper appreciation for the intriguing and captivating world of non-representational art.

The Appeal of Non-Representational Art

As an art style, non-representational art – also known as abstract art – sets out to stir emotions and convey meaning through shapes, colors, and lines, without accurately representing reality.

For many art buyers, the allure of non-representational art lies in its potential to evoke emotions, create moods, and allow for personal interpretation. By not using recognizable subject matter, viewers can connect with the art in their own way, making the experience subjective and intimate. Moreover, non-representational art celebrates the formal elements of art, such as color, shape, and texture, rather than replicating reality.

Throughout art history, non-representational art has been a part of several movements, including cubism, futurism, and abstract expressionism. These movements prioritized art as a means of exploring emotions and ideas rather than imitating reality. Artists like Piet Mondrian, Wassily Kandinsky, and Jackson Pollock are renowned for their contributions to non-representational art’s development.

Conclusion: Choosing Between Representational vs Non-Representational Art

Selecting between representational and non-representational art can seem like a daunting task. However, with a few key considerations, you can confidently make an informed decision that suits your personal taste and design style.

First and foremost, it’s crucial to choose art that evokes an emotional response and resonates with you. Whether you prefer the lifelike imagery of representational art or the abstract forms of non-representational art, selecting artwork that you love is key to creating a space that brings you joy.

Another important factor to consider is how the art complements your interior design. Whether you have a specific color scheme or design style in mind, choosing art that enhances your space can help tie everything together. Additionally, you should consider the intended mood or message of the artwork when selecting art for a space. For example, representational art may be better suited for a relaxing, tranquil environment, while non-representational art may be better suited for a more lively or energetic space.

It’s worth noting that you don’t have to choose between representational and non-representational art – mixing and matching both types of art can create a visually interesting and dynamic space. By pairing a vibrant, colorful abstract piece with a classic, lifelike painting, you can create a striking contrast that adds depth and intrigue to a room.

In the end, when choosing between representational and non-representational art, it’s important to consider your personal taste, interior design, and the intended mood or message of the artwork. And don’t be afraid to mix and match both types of art to create a visually dynamic and captivating space. Above all, select artwork that brings you joy and speaks to your soul.