Much theory of art is connected with painting.
In 1890, the Parisian painter Maurice Denis famously asserted:
"Remember that a painting – before
being a warhorse, a naked woman or some story or other –
is essentially a flat surface covered with colours assembled
in a certain order." Thus many twentieth century developments
such as Cubism, were reflections on the business of painting
rather than on the external world, nature, which had previously
been its core subject.
A recent contribution to thinking about oil
painting was offered by Julian Bell, in
his book What is Painting?. A painter himself, Bell
discusses the development, through history, of the notion
can express feelings and ideas.