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Fantastical painting

Fantasy painting is a style of art which explores the supernatural, depicting fantastical elements such as legends, ancient myths and divine figures. Mythical creatures are also prevalent in this genre where elves, fairies, dragons and wizards are often depicted alongside deities, angels and demons.

Fantasy painting grew in popularity after the invention of photography replaced the demand for Realism in the 19th century. The 20th century saw the introduction of new idealistic movements such as Expressionism, Cubism, Abstraction and Surrealism, where artists abandoned portraying subjects truthfully and embraced the implausible and supernatural. Although Fantasy Painting can technically be traced back to antiquity, it wasn't until the 20th century that it became an accepted art form. Artists of the Italian Renaissance were equally inspired by mythological characters in Greek and Roman culture. However, religious mythology was a highly sophisticated and incredibly important topic during the Renaissance, and is therefore not an example of fantasy painting. 

Contemporary fantasy art has certainly been influenced by a surge in demand for science fiction and whimsical literary plots. This pushed artists to explore the darker corners of fantasy art, employing vampires and werewolves into their artwork. In 1923 the first all-fantasy fiction magazine was created called “Weird Tales", which helped bring fantasy painting onto a contemporary platform. As a result, fantasy painting became a powerful tool in the marketing of fantasy literature and film. Robert E. Howard's comic book hero “Conan the Barbarian" was a prominent feature in Weird Tales magazine. However, when the stories were re-released in 1960 with cover art by notable fantasy painter, Frank Frazetta, over 10 million copies were sold. This success lead to the creation of other fantasy art magazines. French magazine, “Métal Hurlant" (howling metal) was created in 1974. Due to its huge readership and demand, it was translated and republished in the United States as “Heavy Metal" in 1977. The late 70s also saw a boom in computer games and blockbuster films, which only furthered the popularity of fantasy painting. Hugely successful films like Star Wars, The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, The Hobbit and Twilight were paramount in fantasy painting's not only rise to prominence, but also increasing acceptance as an art form. 

Despite the skill of artists that produce fantasy paintings, it is still not considered canonical. Since it is not an example of “high art", the genre is generally not exhibited in galleries or taught in art schools, which many claim is due to the popularity of fantasy literature and film. However, as fantasy painting's reputation grows, so does the acceptance for a wider variety of art forms. Therefore, we can't eliminate the possibility that this massively prominent genre won't be considered highbrow one day. 

Discover our selection of original paintings by contemporary artists and painters who have been inspired by all things supernatural, mythical and divine.

Collector’s Guide: Collecting Paintings

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price,500 facet,10503*Oeuvres d’artistes best sellers|icon-bestsellers*bestsellers facet,10503*Werke von Bestseller-Künstlern|icon-bestsellers*werke-von-kunstlern-bestseller facet,10503*Artworks by best-selling artists|icon-bestsellers*bestsellers facet,10503*Obras de los artistas más vendidos|icon-bestsellers*obras-de-los-artistas-mas-vendidos price,1001:5000 price,501:1000 facet,10500*Oeuvres d'artistes émergents|icon-youngtalents*jeunes-talents facet,10500*Werke aufstrebender Künstler|icon-youngtalents*werke-von-jungen-kunstlern facet,10500*Young Talents|icon-youngtalents*youngtalents facet,10500*Obras de artistas emergentes|icon-youngtalents*obras-de-artistas-emergentes category,6*Peinture*peinture category,6*Pintura*pintura category,6*Painting*painting category,6*Gemälde*gemalde facet,8259*Nos recommandations|icon-recommendations*recommandations facet,8259*Our recommendations|icon-recommendations*recommendations facet,8259*unsere Empfehlungen|icon-recommendations*unsere-empfehlungen facet,8259*Nuestras recomendaciones|icon-recommendations*nuestras-recomendaciones facet,1629*Abstract*abstract facet,1629*Abstraite*abstraite facet,1629*abstrakt*abstrakt facet,1629*abstracto*abstracto facet,8274*Moyen (\u003c 115 x 115 cm)|medium*moyen facet,8274*Moyen (\u003c 45 x 45 inch)|medium*moyen facet,10497*Oeuvres d'artistes célèbres|icon-masterpieces*artistes-celebres facet,10497*Artworks by famous artists|icon-masterpieces*masterpieces facet,10497*Werke berühmter Künstler|icon-masterpieces*werke-beruhmter-kunstler facet,10497*Obras de artistas famosos|icon-masterpieces*obras-de-artistas-famosos facet,8277*Grand (\u003c 200 x 200 cm)|large*grand facet,8277*Grand (\u003c 80 x 80 inch)|large*grand facet,1635*arte callejero*arte-callejero facet,1635*Straßenkunst*street-art facet,1635*Street art*street-art facet,1671*Paysage*nature facet,1671*Landscape*nature facet,1671*Natur*natur facet,1671*Naturaleza*naturaleza facet,8277*Large (\u003c 200 x 200 cm)|large*large facet,8277*Large (\u003c 80 x 80 inch)|large*large facet,1686*Arte pop*arte-pop facet,1686*Pop-Art*pop-art facet,1686*Pop Art*pop-art category,5*Escultura*escultura category,5*Sculpture*sculpture category,5*Skulptur*skulptur facet,1644*Portrait*portrait facet,1644*Porträt*portrat facet,1644*Retrato*retrato category,9*Photographie*photographie category,9*Fotografie*fotografie category,9*Fotografía*fotografia category,9*Photography*photography facet,1641*Nus*nus facet,1641*Nude*nude facet,1641*Akt*akte facet,1641*desnudos*desnudos price,1000:501 facet,1830*Landscape|landscape*orientation-landscape facet,1830*Paysage|landscape*orientation-paysage facet,1830*Paisaje|landscape*orientation-paisaje facet,1830*Landschaft|landscape*orientation-landschaft facet,8274*Medium (\u003c 45 x 45 inch)|medium*medium facet,8274*Medium (\u003c 115 x 115 cm)|medium*medium facet,8280*Très grand (\u003e 200 x 200 cm)|very-large*tres-grand facet,8280*Très grand (\u003e 80 x 80 inch)|very-large*tres-grand category,15*Print*print category,15*Druck*editionen category,15*Edición*edicion category,15*Edition*edition category,23*Fine Art Drawings*drawing category,23*Dessin*dessin category,23*Zeichnung*zeichnung category,23*Dibujo*dibujo facet,1827*Portrait|portrait*orientation-portrait facet,1827*Hochformat|portrait*orientation-portrat facet,1827*Retrato|portrait*orientation-retrato facet,8301*Special offers|icon-promotions*promotions facet,8301*Oeuvres en promotion|icon-promotions*promotions facet,8301*Special Offers|icon-promotions*vergunstigte-werke facet,8301*Trabajos en promoción|icon-promotions*trabajos-en-promocion facet,1674*Scène de vie*scene-de-vie facet,1674*Everyday life*everyday-life facet,1674*Etchleben*etchleben facet,1674*Escena de la vida*escena-de-la-vida facet,8271*Petit (\u003c 50 x 50 cm)|small*petit facet,1680*Animal*animal facet,1680*Animaux*animaux facet,1680*Tier*tier facet,1680*Animales*animales facet,1668*Schwarz und weiß*schwarz-und-weiss facet,1668*Black and white*black-and-white facet,1668*Noir et blanc*noir-et-blanc facet,1668*Blanco y negro*blanco-y-negro facet,8280*Very large (\u003e 80 x 80 inch)|very-large*very-large facet,8280*Very large (\u003e 200 x 200 cm)|very-large*very-large facet,1632*Architecture*architecture facet,1632*Die Architektur*die-architektur facet,1632*Arquitectura*arquitectura price,50001 facet,1659*Floral*floral facet,1659*Flores*flores facet,1659*Flore*flore facet,1659*Flora*flora price,5001:10000 facet,1650*Urban Landscape*urban-landscape facet,1650*Paysage urbain*paysage-urbain facet,1650*Städtische Landschaft*stadtische-landschaft facet,1650*Paisaje urbano*paisaje-urbano facet,1692*Géométrique*geometrique facet,1692*Geometric*geometric facet,1692*Geometrisch*geometrisch facet,1692*Geometría*geometria facet,11634*Pop culture Street-artistes*pop-culture-street-artistes facet,11634*Pop Culture Street Artists*pop-culture-street-artists facet,11634*Popkultur Straßenkünstler*popkultur-strassenkunstler facet,11634*Cultura pop Street-artistas*cultura-pop-street-artistas facet,12*Black|050002*black facet,12*noir|050002*noir facet,12*schwarz|050002*schwarz facet,12*negro|050002*negro facet,1656*Graphique*graphique facet,1656*Graphic*graphic facet,1656*Grafik*grafik facet,1656*Gráfico*grafico facet,1833*Square|square*orientation-square facet,1833*Carré|square*orientation-carre facet,1833*Quadrat|square*orientation-platz facet,1833*Cuadrado|square*orientation-cuadrado facet,8277*Groß (\u003c 200 x 200 cm)|large*gross facet,8277*Groß (\u003c 80 x 80 inch)|large*gross price,5000:1001
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