Art Through The Ages
Art is a skill acquired by experience, study or observation. From Egyptian wall paintings and Greek sculptures to the emergence of abstract painting and Pop Art, art has evolved a long way. It requires dedicated research to study and analyze frescos and hieroglyphs, to learn how mankind went from creating art on limestone walls to spray painting canvasses that is sold for millions of dollars.
Art has been classified into different ages. However, there is disagreement among scholars as to the span of a particular age of art as they varied in different geographical regions. So, leaving the dates and beginning with the ancient followed by popular trends we make our journey of art through time.
Paleolithic art concerned itself with either food i.e. hunting scenes or animal carvings on the rocks or walls of caves or fertility e.g. Venus figurines. Its principle theme was animals. Other forms include small sculptures and monumental paintings, incised designs and reliefs, engraving in clay, bone, antler, stone or ivory and musical instruments like flute.
Neolithic period announced the beginning of civilization and witnessed a massive change in lifestyle across the world. As people began to adopt a more settled existence based on agriculture, cave art gave way to the rearing of domesticated animals. What happened in everyday life had a major impact on the art of this period. Ancient pottery including terracotta sculpture, murals and ceramic art were notable art forms of this period.
Egyptian art prominently created as gifts for the dead deserve a special mention. The Egyptian people in the lower Nile valley decorated tombs and temples built in honour of the dead through their art to promise a pleasant afterlife. Rough stone walls were treated with mud plaster and whitewash. Paints were mostly mineral based to maintain their pigment under long sun exposure. Resin was applied to protect and preserve those paintings as we find some in good condition even today.
Greek and Roman art provided monumental coliseums and perfectly sculptured gods and goddesses. In paintings they use layering techniques. For the first time, these paintings communicated emotions and character and used shading and contour lines to introduce dimension. By this time, painting became recognized as a liberal art and it was displayed in public places. For the first time in history, a civilization wrote about its artists and their contributions to the field. Architectural, landscape, and narratives were prominent paintings under Roman rule.
Art in the Middle Ages i.e. from early Christian and Byzantine to the Gothic period had one subject matter – faith in Christ. Christian architecture created endless blank canvases in the form of walls and domed ceilings which were decorated with paintings that are treasured even today. The paintings depicted Christ, the Virgin Mary, and other Christian icons and figures. Churches bore impressive wall mosaics made of colored, reflective glass and magnificent hand-painted stained-glass windows in Cathedrals.
The Renaissance rejected the confines of the middle ages and returned to the classics by placing emphasis on art outside of a religious framework. While striving to return to the ancient classics, Renaissance artists in fact promoted the beginning of a new age - a rebirth and the beginning of modern art. Renaissance paintings were unique for skills, advanced materials and details. The introduction of oil colors to blend and shade was an important progression. Notable contemporaries include Leonardo Da Vinci, Botticelli, Michelangelo, and Raphael.
Next came the Age of Enlightenment in which traditional, social, religious and political ideals were replaced with an emphasis on reason and rational thinking. Several movements emerged, from Neoclassicism and Romanticism to Impressionism to Symbolism.
The Romanticism movement emerged as an expression of emotionalism. Romantics believed in the freedom to follow human desire. Artists were attracted to the uncontrollable wildness of nature, as is reflected in dramatic landscape paintings from artists like Joseph Mallord William Turner and John Constable. Others, like William Blake and Philipp Otto Runge, expressed emotion through epic, mystical scenes.
Expressionism, Abstraction, Cubism, Fantasy, Color Field Painting and Action Painting formed 20th Century Art, something that we've never seen before. While Realists represented their subjects with precision and accuracy, Impressionists were free with their brushstrokes and moved their easels from the confines of their studios to the outdoors, where they could capture the reflection of natural light.
The subjects were simple, too. Scenes of picnics, dancers, and cafes were common. Modern art begins with the heritage of painters like Vincent van Gogh, Paul Cézanne, Monet, Auguste Renoir, Paul Gauguin, Pablo Picasso, Georges Seurat etc.
Pop Art, one of the latest trends is an artistic representation of meaningless objects or popular icons such as product labels and celebrities. Paintings became simple and often consisted of mere geometric shapes, repetitious patterns, and monochrome colors. Andy Warhol is the most iconic of them all for his trademark silkscreen art.
The journey of art is so fascinating and exhaustive that it is very difficult to fit it into a few pages. We have attempted to provide an outline into it. Explore our gallery to satisfy your taste of art and take home your choice to immerse yourself into a soulful expression.