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Life is too short to let it pass quickly and not appreciate the moments of joy that we can have. The only break from so much work is only provided by those moments of joy that we feel when we are close to what we love or doing what we like. That’s when we recharge our batteries and we can continue. The painting shows us how to remember the joy of life.

Steen, The happy family
The merry family by Jan Steen.

How to paint joy?

A subject like this, the joy of life, it deserves hundreds of beautiful paintings in the history of art. And many are the artists who have expressed the joy and the happiness with everyday and simple scenes. Others do it with portraits of people who feel like this, happy, which is transmitted to the viewer, producing a pleasant connection with the work. And painting, especially, has that ability to paralyze a beautiful feeling, making it almost eternal.

Joy has been very well portrayed by many pictorial styles throughout history. Painters like Renoir, Monet and Matisse stand out as the most famous. Paintings where light and color signify life and joy.

For example, in 1906 Matisse painted this painting called Joy of life. It is a style of its own, with clarity but at the same time multiple forms even related to each other, sensual protagonists and soft undulations that carry a calm rhythm.

Matisse, Joy of life
Joy of life by Matisse

Matisse, Joy of life.

Matisse is a good example of an artist dedicated to expressing love, life, and joy. And he did it by painting activities like dance, music and movement. Because joy moves the human being, makes him dance and sing, makes him be creative and unites him with his environment.

In a general way, as art is a human expression, artistic works function as a thermometer that takes the temperature of human well-being and happiness of an era. The baroque works loaded with fear, loneliness and pain that were reflected in an excessively religious Middle Ages are not the same as the times when human beings have won in human rights and freedom, such as the beginning of the 20th century, for example.

But in a more particular way, the artist’s vision can be independent of his society. There are many painters who have expressed the joy of life although the time they lived was hard, including wars. And there are also painters who have been able to express joy in their paintings when they had health problems and their conditions were very difficult.

The Yellow Cow, by Franz Marc
The Yellow Cow, by Franz Marc

The Yellow Cow, by Franz Marc, one of my favorite painters. This cow exudes joy not only because of her figure but also because of her golden color and moving lines.

More paintings where the joy of life is reflected or there is a joyful atmosphere

Titian, the Bacchanal of the Andrians
Titian, the Bacchanal of the Andrians

A painting by Titian, the Bacchanal of the Andrians. It is about the Bacchus’s party, the god of wine.

Steen, Happy company
As the Old Sing, So Pipe the Young,

Another painting by Jan Steen, called “As the Old Sing, So Pipe the Young“, a c.1668–1670 oil-on-canvas painting. Both paintings, this one and Merry Family (on the top of the post) are family groups sitting at the table, being very happy eating in an interior space.

Franz Hals - Cheerful drinker
The Merry Drinker by Hals

Franz Hals painted The Merry Drinker, another way of painting joy.

A joyous welcome

A joyous welcome by George Bernard O’Neill

Happy family

Eugenio Zampighi –  Happy family.

Painting called "The joy of life"

Painting called “The joy of life” by Douglas Girard.

Merry Mischief, by Paul Emile Chabas

Merry Mischief, by Paul Emile Chabas.

Today, the expression of joy can be expressed very well and with great freedom. Many contemporary artists have chosen this theme with strength and determination, featuring in their paintings the joy and love of life.

If you are a painter who has lost inspiration, try this topic in one of your paintings. If you know what you love, get closer to it, because it is your source of energy. It is the joy and the illusion that increase our energies and to remember it, painting can capture that joy of life.

Those persons who have a painting that expresses the joy of life are very fortunate and have chosen one of the best pictorial subjects that we can enjoy.

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