Using examples, I will attempt to show the different ways in which painters moved away from the realistic forms of what can be seen towards the forms of what we know about an object, a person or a landscape and the way we perceive them emotionally. It will be a subjective review of the deformed, schematic, stylised or idealised forms in the painting of the 20th century. We will discuss the basis of many trends in painting (among them cubism, abstraction, fauvism, zonism) using the examples from the European and Polish painting, with particular focus on the artists from our region. We will analyse such formal measures as line, colour, solid and shadow as an important indicator of making things real. Using several painters as examples, we’ll present the way from a real object to an enigmatic memory of that object the intentional object.