Rocks, caves. Date earlier than 40 000 years. Painted pictures of everyday life such as hunting and wild game. Venus of Willendorf sculpture carved from stone depicts pregnant woman. Aegean art also shares same abstract figurative elements. Prehistoric refers to those cultures which have left no written records of their society. Judged as objects in their own right. Interpretation of this art is done primarily in the context of aesthetics tempered by what is known of various tribal societies still in existence.
This period began with the form of written language. Originated from Mesopotamia and Egypt. Their arts as survived and their influence have been transmitted to other cultures and later times. Also provided first records of how artists worked. Ancient roman art depicted gods as idealized human, shown characteristic distinguishing features.
Post –ancient Western art
Byzantine and Gothic art of the Middle Ages, the dominance of the church insisted on the expression of biblical; and material truths. Glory of heavenly world especially through the extensive use of gold in paining which also presented figures in idealized patterned (ie. Flat forms). The Renaissance is the return to valuation of the material world – art forms show the corporeality of the human body and the three dimensional reality of landscape.
Post –ancient Eastern art
Eastern art had a similar style to Western medieval art namely a concentration on surface patterning and local colour – plain colour of an object, such as basic red for a red robe, rather than the modulation of that colour brought about light, shade and reflection. A characteristic of this style is that the local colour is often defined by an outline (a contemporary equivalent is the cartoon. This is evident in the art of India, Tibet and Japan. Religious Islamic art forbids iconography, and expresses religious ideas through geometry instead.
Narrative of endless possibilities and the search for new standards, each being torn down in succession by the next. Parameters of Impressionism, expressionism, fauvism, cubism, Dadaism, surrealism, etc cannot be maintained very much beyond the time of their invention. Increasing global interaction during this time saw an equivalent influence of other cultures into Western art, such as Pablo Picasso. Japanese woodblock prints (influenced Renaissance draftsmanship) had an immense influence on impressionism and subsequently development. African fetish sculptures were taken up by Picasso and to some extent by Matisse.
The idealistic search for truth, gave way in the latter half of the 20th century to a realization of its unattainability. Relatively was accepted as an unavoidable truth, which led to the postmodern period, where cultures of the world and of history are seen as changing forms, which can be appreciated and drawn from only with irony.