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Home >> Popular Painting Styles >> Theorem Paintings

Theorem Paintings

The first half of the 19th century saw many important scientific inventions, most of which changed human life forever. However it also saw innovations in the field of art too and Theorem Painting is one of the most important innovations of that period. The word Theorem, according to Websterís New World Dictionary means ďan expression of relations in an equation or formula." And as the name suggests this paintings style adopts a certain formula of execution. A well-integrated piece of art is achieved with the help of meticulous stenciling.

The fine art of Theorem Painting

This exquisite art form was seen as the best way to produce aesthetically pleasing artifacts without much training. In fact, it was very popular among women of all ages during the early 1800s who pursued it diligently in their free time. Its Unique Selling Point was the fact that it provided non-professional artists with the opportunity to create acceptable art forms for their own use.


Stenciling is the chosen technique of a Theorem Painter .A sequence of lines cut each other such a manner that no two areas immediately next to each other can be placed on the same stencil in Theorem Painting. Therefore obviously any theorem painting will employ the use of two or more stencils or overlays.

A stencil is a painting tool. It is a template that helps artists create repetitive designs. It is made by removing sections from the stencil material. When a stencil is used, the pigment leaves a mark on the painting surface, in the shape of the removed area.

Once the stencil is prepared, the stencil artist uses it to either draw out pattern outlines which he will later fill in, or to directly fill in the area that has been removed. The shapes cut out in the stencil can be used in a variety of combinations, to create unique and attractive designs.

Theorem Painting has had a long chequered history on both sides of the Atlantic, however it is now an almost dying art form. Most critics feel that this art form has never reached its fullest potential. It suffers from the stigma of being an art form with somewhat reduced creative merits. As a result Theorem Painting has generally been relegated to the shadows as a colonial period craft or art form.

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