When it comes to our evolution, an appreciation of art is part of humankind’s development. The oldest discovered animal cave painting is of a bull, staggeringly dated at over 40 000 years, at Lubang Jeriji Saléh cave, East Kalimantan, Borneo, Indonesia. The oldest example of discovered figurative art is on the Indonesian Island of Sulawesi of a pig deer which was once common in Indonesia.
A good definition of ‘Art’ can be found in Dictionary.com,
Art definition, the quality, production, expression, or realm, according to aesthetic principles, of what is beautiful, appealing, or of more than ordinary significance.
We don’t happen to be the only species that seems to have developed creative skills and the ability to appreciate art. According to National Geographic, many species of birds decorate their nests to attract a mate and even after they’ve found a mate:
Kites already have partners when they build nests. Still, the ornamentation on kite nests suggests “that there’s something they want to show off,” says Sergio, who works for the Spanish National Research Council.
However, humankind has a higher plain of thinking when it comes to art. The ability to make tools and produce detailed art helped us to survive in harsh conditions and conquer new lands by sharing ideas. It also opened the possibility of imaginary realms, spirit worlds, and a range of intellectual and emotional connections. Art allowed people to make visual representations of things that they could remember and imagine. As techniques become more sophisticated it opened the door to scientific concepts such as Leonardo Da Vinci’s flying machine which he designed in 1505.
Art has been around in various formats, be it ochre paintings on ancient cave walls to bronze sculptures, and it has certainly inspired many to try and imitate art. In fact, a high proportion of extant classical sculptures found in Rome are but imitations of the Greek originals, which have been long lost. In fact, were it not for these imitations we would have no versions available today.
- It should be pointed out that art had undergone an evolution of sorts as our society developed; for example, the best evidence of this would be the classical side portraits of some of the earliest pharaohs. While most preferred their images to be displayed in a certain style, without free expression but Akhenaten and Nefertiti certainly brought about a revolution in art where images were painted realistically and sculptures designed to resemble the real model. This only underscores the fact that art like everything else is subject to change, and naturally, over the ages, the very art is bound to evolve new styles and the way it is appreciated.
The Nefertiti Bust is a painted stucco-coated limestone bust of Nefertiti, the Great Royal Wife of Egyptian Pharaoh Akhenaten. The work is believed to have been created in 1345 B.C.
- The 13 th century gave rise to the Renaissance period where artists sought to recapture the lifelike and fine art of the classical Roman period. t Artists were more willing to experiment in the quest for the perfect painting and as a result of this innovative streak, Leonardo DaVinci managed to perfect the sfumato art form, which is why we all find Mona Lisa an outstanding form of art. The sfumato manages to give the painting a special effect, a blurring, smokey effect which renders the painting all the more realistic.
- Ever since the renaissance period, there has been an explosion in art with various styles, formats, and even innovative ones which eventually led to abstract art. Until the advent of modern art, a trend for lifelike pictures painted in classical style endured but ever since Picasso (Spain, 1881–1973) managed to break the mold with his cubism. Picasso pioneered the visual language of ‘geometric planes and compressed space’ that splintered subjects such as the human figure, a still life scene, or landscape into multisided pieces, causing them to appear skewed or abstracted, flattened, and fragmented as if reflected in a shattered mirror.’
- Nowadays new forms of media have risen from computer graphics to spray paint. Bristol artist Banksy famously uses stencils and spray paint to convey controversial political art
The fact is that as humans we are capable of creating some of the most fantastic pieces of art; it is hard to believe that a brain that can come up with something as destructive as a design for a gun is equally capable of creating artistic masterpieces. So the next time you are at a museum, you may want to appreciate the art around you and ponder about art’s beauty.