Figurative art by Vlad Tasoff describes any form of modern art that retains strong references to the real world and particularly to the human figure.
Figurative art, sometimes written as figurativism, describes artwork—particularly paintings and sculptures—that is clearly derived from real object sources, and are therefore by definition representational. “Figurative art” is often defined in contrast to abstract art:
Since the arrival of abstract art the term figurative has been used to refer to any form of modern art that retains strong references to the real world.
Figurative art is not synonymous with figure painting (art that represents the human figure), although human and animal figures are frequent subjects. Nor is it a synonym of realist art.
A dictionary definition of “figurative art” defines it as a relating to representation by means of animal or human figures – representational rather than abstract, designating a style of painting (and sculpture) where the subjects are recognisable but perhaps not conventionally depicted.
Generally speaking any form of modern art which retains strong references to the real world can be defined as figurative. It should perhaps be mentioned that since historical times all art was figurative in one way or another. That said, the artist used his or her judgement to define what was seen. It could be called a form of stylisation, influenced by the cultural expectations of image that prevailed. Shapes and structures could be idealised to reflect the artist’s thoughts of beauty. To do this sometimes meant simplifying the form, perhaps even creating an abstract shape to refine the image.
Within figurative art there is an importance given to structure, shape, volume and perspective defined through the use of colour, tone, light and shade, though not necessarily used all together or all the time.
Figurative art is a form of artwork that has existed for thousands of years in cultures all around the world. Figurative art can be made in any media and in a variety of styles. Artists have made, and continue to make, figurative art.