Large-Scale Painting


Enveloping the viewer and dominating interior spaces, large scale paintings create an impact. Artists and their patrons have utilized size to display power and prestige to impress their audiences. In 18th century Europe, history painting was considered to be the most important genre, above portraiture, still life, and landscape, and thus was executed on bigger canvases by artists like Jacques-Louis David and Benjamin West. Inspired by their the large-scale public murals for the Work Progress Administration (WPA), abstract expressionist artists like Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner painted on large scale canvases that could take up entire walls, interpreted by some to represent the freedom of American expression. Contemporary artist Kehinde Wiley paints monumental portraits of young black men in scenes and poses appropriated from western art history to critique and reclaim the identity politics of the genre.

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