From Prehistoric to Modern

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By jwblackwell



9 Questions

What is the significance of Confucianism, Daoism, and Buddhism in East Asian art?

Which era is considered one of the most vibrant and abundant for Chinese artwork?

What is the genre of Japanese woodblock prints and paintings produced between the 17th and 20th centuries called?

Which country has the oldest known surviving paintings in the Philippines?

What is the cultural movement associated with Baroque painting?

Which 20th-century art movement revolutionized the Paris art world with 'wild', multi-colored, expressive, landscapes and figure paintings?

What is the name of the genre of Indian paintings that historically revolved around religious deities and kings?

Which art movement emphasized the effect of light and color in the 19th century?

What is the name of the oldest known Indonesian cave paintings?


Historical Development of Painting

  • The history of painting dates back to pre-historic times and spans all cultures.

  • The oldest known paintings are approximately 40,000 years old and can be found in various locations around the world.

  • The meaning of prehistoric paintings remains largely unknown, but they may have represented animistic beliefs or served practical purposes.

  • Eastern and Western painting developed concurrently, with influences from various cultures and religions.

  • Painting initially served utilitarian and religious purposes, and later found audiences in the aristocracy and middle class.

  • Chinese painting is one of the oldest continuous artistic traditions in the world and was initially ornamental before artists began to represent the world around them.

  • Japanese painting is highly refined and encompasses a wide variety of genre and styles, with a long history of synthesis and competition between native aesthetics and imported ideas.

  • Korean painting began around 108 B.C. and evolved into various styles characterized by landscapes, Buddhist themes, and celestial observation.

  • Traditional East Asian painting is characterized by water-based techniques, stylized subjects, and a preference for landscape as a subject.

  • Confucianism, Daoism, and Buddhism played important roles in East Asian art.

  • Classical Chinese landscape painting is accredited largely to the Eastern Jin Dynasty artist Gu Kaizhi, and portrait painting reached its classical age maturity during the Ming Dynasty.

  • The Yuan Dynasty became one of the most vibrant and abundant eras for Chinese artwork, with many Confucian-educated Chinese turning to the arts of painting and theatre.Overview of Asian Painting Styles

  • Classical Chinese painting continued into the early modern Qing Dynasty, with realistic portrait paintings.

  • Oil painting techniques began entering China in the 19th century, becoming prevalent among Chinese artists in the early 20th century.

  • Japanese painting developed through a long history of synthesis and competition between native Japanese aesthetics and adaptation of imported ideas.

  • Ukiyo-e is a genre of Japanese woodblock prints and paintings produced between the 17th and 20th centuries.

  • Korean painting began around 108 B.C., characterized by a combination of Korean-style landscapes, facial features, and Buddhist-centered themes.

  • Indian paintings historically revolved around religious deities and kings, with variations from large frescoes of Ajanta to the intricate Mughal miniature paintings.

  • The Bengal School of art arose as an avant-garde and nationalist movement reacting against academic art styles previously promoted in India.

  • Modern Indian art typically shows the influence of Western styles, but is often inspired by Indian themes and images.

  • Indonesian cave paintings are the oldest known, with the oldest undisputed examples of figurative cave paintings close to 35,000 years old.

  • The oldest known surviving paintings in the Philippines are the rock art found in caves and on rock shelters on the island of Palawan.

  • Thai painting has a strong Buddhist influence, with many temples featuring murals depicting the life of Buddha and Buddhist stories.

  • Vietnamese painting is heavily influenced by Buddhism and Confucianism, with many works featuring landscapes, people, and historical events.

  • Singaporean painting is a diverse mix of styles, influenced by the country's multicultural society and its history of colonization.A Brief History of Painting

  • Painting has been an art form for thousands of years, with examples found in caves in Indonesia dating back at least 43,900 years.

  • Indonesian paintings include decorative art based on natural motifs, wood carvings, and paintings depicting legends and religious scripts.

  • Filipino painting is an amalgamation of cultural influences, with early examples found in pottery, tattoos, and elaborate designs in the arts and architecture.

  • Byzantine art is characterized by its hieratic feeling and emphasis on retaining traditional iconography and style, while also evolving over the course of the Byzantine Empire.

  • The Renaissance was a cultural movement spanning the 14th to mid-17th century, characterized by the study of classical sources, scientific advances, and a new way of painting established in the Low Countries.

  • Italian Renaissance painting emphasized the ideal and was characterized by precision in drawing, while the Venetian school was less concerned with precision and more focused on color and effect.

  • Flemish, Dutch, and German painters of the Renaissance were more realistic and less idealized in their approach.

  • Genre painting became popular among Northern painters.

  • The Baroque period was characterized by grandeur, drama, and theatricality, with artists such as Caravaggio, Rembrandt, and Velázquez.

  • Impressionism, which emerged in the 19th century, emphasized the effect of light and color, with artists such as Monet and Renoir.

  • Modern art movements include Cubism, Surrealism, and Abstract Expressionism.

  • Contemporary painting continues to evolve and encompass a wide range of styles and techniques.A Brief History of Western Painting

  • The High Renaissance gave rise to a stylized art known as Mannerism characterized by instability, artifice, and doubt.

  • Baroque painting is associated with the cultural movement of Absolutism and the Counter Reformation, characterized by great drama, rich, deep color, and intense light and dark shadows.

  • Rococo followed as a lighter extension of Baroque, often frivolous and erotic, epitomized by religious and mythological paintings in the Grand Manner.

  • Neo-classicism turned its attention toward landscape and nature, as well as the human figure and the supremacy of natural order above mankind's will.

  • Romanticism saw landscape painting as an important genre to express the vanity of mankind in opposition to the grandeur of nature.

  • Impressionists eschewed allegory and narrative in favor of individualized responses to the modern world, sometimes painted with little or no preparatory study, relying on deftness of drawing and a highly chromatic palette.

  • Post-Impressionists led art to the edge of modernism, with Vincent van Gogh predicting Expressionism and Fauvism, and Paul Cézanne seen as a precursor of 20th-century art.

  • Symbolist painters mined mythology and dream imagery for a visual language of the soul, seeking evocative paintings that brought to mind a static world of silence.

  • At the beginning of the 20th century, Fauvism revolutionized the Paris art world with "wild", multi-colored, expressive, landscapes and figure paintings.

  • Pablo Picasso made his first cubist paintings based on Cézanne's idea that all depiction of nature can be reduced to three solids: cube, sphere and cone.

  • The 20th century brought various movements such as Expressionism, Surrealism, Abstract Expressionism, Pop Art, and Minimalism.

  • Contemporary painting has become diverse and difficult to define, with artists exploring new techniques, styles, and themes.

  • Despite the challenges of the digital age, painting continues to be a relevant and significant art form.


Test your knowledge of the historical development of painting with this comprehensive quiz. From prehistoric cave paintings to contemporary art, this quiz covers a wide range of topics including Eastern and Western painting, classical Chinese landscape painting, Japanese ukiyo-e prints, Indian miniature paintings, and much more. See how much you know about the major art movements and styles such as Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo, Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, and Modernism. Challenge yourself and expand your knowledge of

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