The History of Art Essay

4153 Words 17 Pages
The History of Art


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
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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…

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