History of Art, Paintings and Artists. RENAISSANCE ARTISTS, PAINTERS AND INVENTORS. RENAISSANCE ART, PAINTING, SCULPTURE, HISTORY, FAMOUS ARTISTS
About Art History and History of Paintings
History of Art, Paintings and Artists. Art History Resources
RENAISSANCE ARTISTS, PAINTERS AND INVENTORS. RENAISSANCE ART, PAINTING, SCULPTURE, HISTORY, FAMOUS ARTISTS
The history of painting reaches back in time to artifacts from pre-historic humans, and spans all cultures, that represents a continuous, though disrupted, tradition from Antiquity. Across cultures, and spanning continents and millennia, the history of painting is an ongoing river of creativity, that continues into the 21st century. Until the early 20th century it relied primarily on representational, religious and classical motifs, after which time more purely abstract and conceptual approaches gained favor.
The oldest known paintings are at the Grotte Chauvet in France, claimed by some historians to be about 32,000 years old.
They are engraved and painted using red ochre and black pigment and show horses, rhinoceros, lions, buffalo, mammoth or humans often hunting. There are examples of cave paintings all over the world—in France, India, Spain, Portugal, China, Australia etc. Various conjectures have been made as to the meaning these paintings had to the people that made them. Prehistoric men may have painted animals to "catch" their soul or spirit in order to hunt them more easily or the paintings may represent an animistic vision and homage to surrounding nature, or they may be the result of a basic need of expression that is innate to human beings, or they could have been for the transmission of practical information.
In Paleolithic times, the representation of humans in cave paintings was rare. Mostly, animals were painted, not only animals that were used as food but also animals that represented strength like the rhinoceros or large Felidae, as in the Chauvet Cave. Signs like dots were sometimes drawn. Rare human representations include handprints and half-human / animal figures. The Chauvet Cave in the Ardèche Departments of France contains the most important preserved cave paintings of the Paleolithic era, painted around 31,000 BC.
The Altamira cave paintings in Spain were done 14,000 to 12,000 BC and show, among others, bisons. The hall of bulls in Lascaux, Dordogne, France, is one of the best known cave paintings from about 15,000 to 10,000 BC.
If there is meaning to the paintings, it remains unknown. The caves were not in an inhabited area, so they may have been used for seasonal rituals. The animals are accompanied by signs which suggest a possible magic use. Arrow-like symbols in Lascaux are sometimes interpreted as calendar or almanac use. But the evidence remains inconclusive. The most important work of the Mesolithic era were the marching warriors, a rock painting at Cingle de la Mola, Castellón, Spain dated to about 7,000 to 4,000 BC. The technique used was probably spitting or blowing the pigments onto the rock. The paintings are quite naturalistic, though stylized. The figures are not three-dimensional, even though they overlap
The earliest known Indian paintings were the rock paintings of prehistoric times, the petroglyphs as found in places like the Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka, and some of them are older than 5500 BC. Such works continued and after several millennia, in the 7th century, carved pillars of Ajanta, Maharashtra state present a fine example of Indian paintings, and the colors, mostly various shades of red and orange, were derived from minerals...
Art history is not only a biographical endeavor.
Art historians often root their studies in the close scrutiny of individual objects. They thus attempt to answer in historically specific ways, questions such as:
What are key features of this style?
What meaning did this object convey?
How does it function visually?
Did the artist meet their goals well?
What symbols are involved?
and Does it function discursively?
An art movement is a tendency or style in art with a specific common philosophy or goal, followed by a group of artists during a restricted period of time, or, at least, with the heyday of the movement defined within usually a number of years.
Search for Paintings and Art
Antiques of America
|Antiques of America Part adventure, part history lesson, and part treasure hunt|
Leonardo da Vinci Art Gallery
Invention and Science