The History Of Art

The multifaceted and complex intricacies that are woven throughout the centuries in art are unrealistic to attempt in this format. Therefore, because the focus for the majority of the focus throughout history has been on the humanistic form the concentration will be on that.
Art was the first written language and to study the history of art is to study the history of civilizations and humankind. The Paleolithic cave paintings in France, when viewed in the modern western perspective can only be speculated at as to the intent and/or purpose of the original artisans. Perhaps the paintings of animals were the focal point of a religious ceremony or ritual, surveyed before the hunt, to bring success or perhaps part of a celebration or documentation after the successful hunt. It appears that art from the earliest history into the Renaissance focuses around religious ceremonies of some type.
Plato believed art to be a form of communication on a metaphysical level. The modern western view of art appears to support his supposition in this regard. However, his student Aristotle felt that art was a reflection and invocation derived from the scientific forms of nature. Clearly, his ideology does not fit into the Ancient World’s artistic representations. As art evolves throughout history it intersects with Aristotle’s philosophy although not for many centuries will we begin to see his naturalistic/scientific theory evolve.
Human beings are born, live, and held prisoners of their bodies. Since the beginning of time, the human form has been represented in pictorial depictions. Representation of animals and nature appear to only be depicted in ways to enhance the human race; either through religious, mystical, hunting charms, or whatever the themes all center around humans.
The form does take on specific significance when viewed in the context of history and culture. The Venus of Willendorf is the earliest officially dated sculpture know to the modern western world yet she is far different from the Aegeans’ Cycladic figures known as the Minoan age. Yet both figurines the full-figured Willendorf and the slender Cycladic figure are interpreted by modern scholars to represent their cultures mythological belief in aiding the deities if their time period in reproduction. Without the scientific knowledge of later generations, it is assumed that these figures were representations to invoke fertility.
Mesopotamia art was centered in what are now Iran and Iraq. The developing cultures (Assyrians, Sumerians, Babylonians, etc) in the area, between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, which is sometimes called the Cradle of Civilization or the Fertile Crescent, are credited with the invention of cuneiform writing which is shown to us in the Stele (law code) of Hamarabi. Within these cultures, rulers often conferred with the religious leaders and religion was an important part of their society.
The unique character of Sumerian art is exemplified by a group of votive statues from the Abu Temple, at Tell Asmar. The identities of these statues are unclear. However, it is an educated theory that they served Abu, God of vegetation, and they represent priests, and worshipers. There is no indication that these figures were intended to represent a naturalistic scheme. It is important to note that the symbolization is that of the human form and representative of some form of authoritarian hierarchy. Tracking the human form and its relationship to art, history, and culture as the human figure evolves through the centuries as artists perfect their talents is an effective way to establish how art has evolved throughout all culture and eras.
The architecture form the ancient world throughout history also reflects the cultures religious beliefs and in most civilizations was designed with humankind in mind. The erection of the citadels during the Mesopotamia historical era is built to provide protection of the temples and palaces. They are decorated in relief and personify power, religious themes, and the cultural beliefs about the human form and its relationship to the universe.
The Human-Headed winged lion from Nimrud is the perfect example. The tremendous stone slabs are carved into enormous human-headed winged beasts, a bull, and a lion. The lion wears a horned cap indicating divine status, while the animal’s body is endowed with a device unique to the Mesopotamia art style. It has five legs, so that from the front it appears motionless. However, from the side view