You’ve probably heard of figurative language — writers and poets have been using simile, metaphor, and personification to convey complicated meaning since the dawn of humanity.

But did you know that artists also use figurativism to represent deeper ideas in their work?

Figurative paintings are at the heart of the contemporary art world, with artists across the world using the method to create truly stunning and original works.

In this article, we’re giving you everything you need to know about figurative paintings, then giving you some suggestions as to where to find the best ones.

Let’s bring the power of artistic metaphor into your home!

What Are Figurative Paintings

Amor Fati by Lupu
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Figurative paintings are artworks that are clearly derived from a real object source to represent a larger feeling or emotion.

Not to be confused with figure painting — which refers specifically to art that represents the human form — figurativism was one of the earliest forms of artwork, appearing in 17,000-year-old cave drawings.

While figurative paintings aren’t strictly confined to the human form like figure painting, humans and animals are common subjects for figurative works.

Figurative paintings are also commonly confused with abstract paintings, and while there are certainly opportunities for overlap between the two art forms, they follow a different set of rules.

Namely, abstract artworks don’t have to be derived from figures or objects. They don’t even have to be representational, and can tap into surreal spaces that have no foundation in reality.

In order to make a metaphor, the artist must draw on something real.

That’s why figurative paintings are so powerful, because they combine elements of the known with the unknown. It’s one of the hardest artforms to pull off effectively, but can make for some of the most stunning pieces on the market today.

The Story of Modern Figurative Paintings

Encirclement by Sebastian Osterhaus
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Figurativism has undergone much evolution since its inception on cave walls.

With science working to understand so much of the known world, artists can use figurative paintings to push back into spiritual realms that dive deeper than what is quantifiable.

The modern artist uses figurativism to investigate the true meaning of the human form, express the intangible or unexplainable, and push against realism through associations with the sublime.

The most famous modern figuartivist is Pablo Picasso, who is largely accepted as the greatest exemplar of modern figurative paintings — especially when you consider the blue period.

Figurativism also has discovered deep roots in sculptures, as artists draw inspiration from or manipulate real-world objects into something brand new.

For example, a sculptor might base a piece of work off a dog, but manipulate it through metaphor to represent something that cannot be literally defined.

Overall, modern figurativism seeks not to explain the world, but to question it.

What might we discover when we mine into the undiscovered depths of human and animal form? For artists who create figurative paintings, it’s not answers that they are hoping to uncover, but rather an interrogation of the universe as we ‘know’ it.

What Makes Figurative Paintings Noteworthy?

Day Dream by Sasha Oratz
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Outstanding figurative paintings can cause the viewer to reinterpret their understanding of existence.

While at first this might not sound all that pleasurable — it’s the foundation of what makes us so infatuated with art.

What good is a painting that doesn’t teach us? Cause us to look inward? Provoke us into a larger contemplation of our existence?

We are so confined with rules, with standardized education, with the literal.

Great figurative paintings permit us to go beyond our everyday sensory input and understand the profound longings of the soul. They use dimensionality and call upon other artistic elements such as texture, photography, and art history.

Metaphor is a limitless pool of associations that surprise and intrigue our minds. That’s why writer’s will never run out of them — you never know what association might provoke new understanding of the mundane.

And artists are tapping into the same well. Figurative paintings are beautiful because they are infinite, with new creations always ready to be uncovered.

What figurative paintings will strike you?

You never know what story will most resonate — which is what makes the buying process so rewarding.

Where to Find Figurative Paintings

Intimate Arguement by Vera Moise
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If you’re looking to add figurative paintings to your art collection, look no further.

Here at Gallerima, we believe that paintings should make you feel something. And when you feel something — your life changes forever.

Our incredible pool of artists from around the world are using metaphor in unprecedented ways to tap into a whole new strain of consciousness, pioneering the re-emergence of figurative paintings in the modern art landscape.

Whether you have a taste for watercolor, oil paintings, or acrylics, Galleria has the selection of figurative works that you are looking for.

Browse figurative paintings today!

You’re sure to find a piece that ignites your soul. And who knows — you might just find that special artwork that revolutionized your worldview for ever.

What could be more exciting?