Van gogh painting dating may 1889
Easel and panel forms include still life, portraiture, landscape, and genre subjects and permit the representation of ephemeral effects of light and atmosphere that the more intimate forms of Asian art had already allowed the painters of scrolls, screens, and fans to express.
Although easel paintings are occasionally commissioned for a special purpose, they are generally bought as independent art objects and used as decorative focal features or illusionary window views in private homes.
Among the earliest surviving forms of manuscript painting are the papyrus rolls of the ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead, the scrolls of Classical Greece and Rome, Aztec pictorial maps, and Mayan and Chinese codices, or manuscript books.
European illuminated manuscripts were painted in egg-white tempera on vellum and card.
Mural painting has its roots in the primeval instincts of people to decorate their surroundings and to use wall surfaces as a form for expressing ideas, emotions, and beliefs.
In their universal manifestation in graffiti and in ancient murals, such as cave paintings and protodynastic Egyptian frescoes, symbols and representational images have been spread freely and indiscriminately across walls, ceilings, and floors.
They are also collected as financial investment, for social prestige, for the therapeutic escapism their subject may provide, or purely for the aesthetic pleasure they afford.
Portrait miniatures, or limnings, were originally painted in watercolour with body colour on vellum and card.
Pantographs (reducing and enlarging copying instruments made on the lazy-tongs lever principle) might be used to transfer a drawing.
Among the exponents of this naturalistic style were Francisco Goya, Fragonard, Samuel Cooper, and François Dumont.
The medieval Gothic style of illumination, in sinuous, linear patterns of flattened forms isolated against white or gilded grounds, had developed, by the end of the 15th century, into exquisitely detailed, jewel-like miniatures of shaded figures and spatial landscapes.
These were often framed by gilded initial letters as vignettes or by margin borders in simulated half relief.
Their flat designs, richly textured and minutely detailed, often incorporated allegorical and gilded heraldic motifs.