Art Term


Painterly refers to the application of paint in a 'loose' or less than controlled manner, resulting in the appearance of visible brushstrokes within the finished painting

John Singer Sargent, ‘Claude Monet Painting by the Edge of a Wood’ ?1885
John Singer Sargent
Claude Monet Painting by the Edge of a Wood ?1885
Francis Bacon, ‘Study for Portrait of Van Gogh IV’ 1957
Francis Bacon
Study for Portrait of Van Gogh IV 1957
© Estate of Francis Bacon
Pierre Bonnard, ‘In the Bathroom’ 1907
Pierre Bonnard
In the Bathroom 1907
Lent by a private collector 2005
© ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2018

The term painterly can apply both to the approach or the technique of the artist, as well as the look of the finished work.

Works characterized as painterly can be produced using any painting media.