Exposure to the art of painting is both the reception of the content and the form of a work of art. The reception of the content depends on the quality of the form, but the content is often only a pretext for saying something implicitly.
Looking at paintings on the subject of landscape, still-life, portrait we can see only the outward symbols which constitute the literary and artistic content. The visual transmission based on the mimetic treatment of the subject is often a cover for some deeper content, revealing in many ways the condition of the artist.
The significance of some hidden details, the aura of colours, the emotional excitement or dryness and the variety of other elements of the painting reveal the artist’s inner reality, his spiritual condition, and the inner mechanism of creating. In case of abstract painting the form and content are elements which merge into each other to become one. The form is the content and the content is the form.
Of course, it all concerns the genuine, original art, disregarding commercial success and public applause.
Not every artist wants to talk about himself, and not all of them are honest. Manners, fashion and the excessive aestheticism of a work of art, the artist’s self-dishonesty, hiding behind different masks, which are often part of artistic creation, can be misleading.
The model of the ideal artist is a child playing aimlessly with paints, unaware of what he is doing, but deriving satisfaction, joy and comfort from it. He identifies with his work but it has no material or market value for him because it isn’t an end in itself but a trace, a recollection of play. He can abandon it for another pastime without considering how he can benefit from it.
This straightforward art, if a child’s painting can be treated as art, reveals more about the artist than a direct interaction with him.
Encounters with a genuine work of art, that is to say with one which was not created for reasons different from artistic ones, develops a special relationship with the artist, whom we may not know personally. It may help to reveal the secrets of his soul, the inner world we are sometimes ashamed of, which we conceal or are even unaware of.
Abstract painting disregards the aspect of outer shapes of nature and allows us to follow the artist directly to his inner world.