July 6, 2017

Historical development of major art forms essay sample



Painting is known to be the oldest type of art. It emerged when neither architecture nor applied arts were practiced. The first paintings were pictures of animals presumably drawn yet by Neanderthals about 30,000 years ago. Examples of pre-historic painting can be found all over the world in the caves that erstwhile humans used for rituals. Through the Paleolithic times, picturing humans and symbols became common alongside the drawings of fauna. Painting developed almost equally in Eastern and Western civilizations including Americas. Tribes of the African continent did not take interest in traditional painting as face and body paintings were much more important for local rituals.

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In the Eastern tradition, Chinese painting is the oldest expression of art. Early Chinese pictures expressed domestic and labor scenes or funerals performed on silk, murals or stones. Eastern countries always put emphasis on calligraphy and printmaking. They were influenced by Confucianism, Daoism, and Buddhism. In the Middle Ages, most artists were inspired by religious motives. Though Eastern and Western civilizations mutually influenced one another, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean paintings have always been performed in characteristic Eastern tradition in terms of shapes, colors, and motives. The exception is Filipino painting that took European tradition in art as early as in the 18th century.

The history of Western painting can be traced back due to Egyptian pictures and manuscripts that preserved till today. Later, paintings from the times of Roman empire made a large bulk of Western art. Through the Middle Ages, artists were mainly inspired by religions – Christianity and Catholicism. In the 14th century when Western societies were rich, painters were commonly paid to decorate churches and cathedrals with frescoes. The Renaissance brought new painting techniques that helped artists depict human proportions. Science evolved, and art reflected the progress in anatomy, geography, and astronomy. Through the 18 – 20th centuries, styles succeeded one another quickly making way to new forms of expression and more up-to-date motives in painting.

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