The history of art is immense, the earliest cave paintings pre-date writing by almost 27,000 years! Art has been used to express how we feel, documentation of historical events, and to “simply” capture creativity. Art history spans across centuries to chronicle a multitude of movements, styles, and media.
The oldest known examples of art date back to the Upper Paleolithic era. During this period people were hunter-gatherers and created art as part of their spiritual rituals. Cave paintings were made with earth pigments and depict animals such as bison and mammoths.
The Ancient period is often divided into three periods; Ancient Near East (3000 BCE-500 CE), Ancient Greece (800 BCE-200 CE) and Ancient Rome (500 BCE – 500 CE). During this time most works were religious in nature or served a political purpose.
The mediums used during this time included painting on walls, stone sculptures and mosaics.
The Middle Ages saw a shift towards more secular works such as illuminated manuscripts in monasteries. This period also saw the introduction of oil paints allowing for greater detail in portrait paintings. It was during this period that the Gothic style emerged with its emphasis on intricate linear designs.
The Renaissance, which began in Italy in the 14th century and spread across Europe over the next two centuries, was a period when art became more secular once again with a focus on realism and perspective in painting. This was also the period when Michelangelo created his iconic works such as the Sistine Chapel ceiling.
Baroque, which originated in Italy during the late 16th century, was characterized by its dramatism and intensity with an emphasis on motion, color and light/dark contrast. Key works from this period include Caravaggio’s The Calling of Saint Matthew.
Modern Art, which began at the turn of 20th century, is characterized by its rejection of traditional styles such as Realism or Impressionism in favor of experimentation with new styles such as Cubism or Abstract Expressionism. Key artists from this era include Pablo Picasso and Jackson Pollock.
Contemporary Art, which started at the end of World War II up until today, is an ever changing field where new media are constantly being explored such as video installation or interactive digital pieces.
From cave paintings to video installation art has always been an important part of our culture that reflects our collective values throughout time. By understanding different periods within art history we can gain a better appreciation for how far we have come along our creative journey.
Conclusion: In conclusion, art history spans across centuries to chronicle a multitude of movements, styles, and media from cave paintings to video installation pieces.