Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Art & Design


The artist throughout history has had difficulty in communicating to the mass of people. Most art has been made for special classes of people who represent authority. There has always been a need for a meaningful visual communication with a"VI the people because there is a need for a fine art which can fill the gap left by the passing of folk art. Painting is the easiest of the art forms for the public to understand and grasp because it has the greatest storytelling possibilities. There is a real need for artists to try and communicate with the broad mass of people Instead of just the privileged. All of the major nations of the modern world are rapidly moving towards collectivization. The people of Russia and the United States are beginning to share in all the benefits of their nations. The people should be encouraged to participate in the fine arts and artists and painters should try to offer them a form of visual vocabulary. Public painting of a monumental soale, which can be viewed by large groups of people at a time, could provide the visual communication needed.

Most artists today think that public art is bad art. I have tried to trace the development of painting as a public art in hopes of either proving or disproving that supposition. I have emphasized several public paintings and painters I personally consider excellent.

I have not attempted to write an all encompassing history of public painting nor have I tried to look at the smallest portion of each movement. I have traced a concept across history. That is the concept of a quality public painting and the conditions that are necessary for it to arise,

I have found several paintings which I consider excellent that were produced under massive art programs. The most successful public art programs were those immediately following the Russian and Mexican Revolutions of the twentieth century.

Broad conclusions indicated that a good public art is dependent on an enlightened government and skilled painters who are willing to put much of their creative drive into painting for the public. The educational system of the country could responsibly give the public and artists a greater understanding of each others needs. Ultimately the balance between the artist*s creative spirit and the oublics understanding and grasp of visual statements can be reached when good public art is achieved.