All about Detail!
Have a look at the following paintings, from different periods of Art History.
Ask yourself the question: What level of detail is used in each painting?
Caravaggio, Saint Catherine of Alexandria, 1598, the light is so delicate in paintings by Caravaggio.
Painted by John Constable, c.1826 Parham’s Mill, Gillingham
Woman at the garden – Pierre – Auguste Renoir, 1873, 54.61 x 65.41, oil on canvas
Gustav Klimt: Italian Garden Landscape, 1913
Paula Rego. The Soldier’s Daughter, 1987.
The answer is not too much! No matter the time in which the painting is created the
artist retains an understanding of a sense of distance. We do not see very close up
detail unless we are viewing something up close. This is normally represented in a study
where something is closely observed, for example in a botanical study.
Also, an artist can choose how much exacting detail they wish to represent
(look at Caravaggio then Renoir) depending on the style of painting.
Amateurs not only tend to enlarge detail but also place to much importance on it.
It is better to give equal weight to all considerations when painting and not too dive
in to detail to quickly.