- The history of art begins around 3000 BC in several of the great ancient civilizations. This era brought about Egyptian, Persian, and Greek art. The classic civilization era, beginning in 800 BC, brought about Roman, Etruscan, and Hellenistic art. Starting around the fifth century AD, the Middle Ages brought about many types of art, including Celtic, Byzantine, Justinian, Islamic, and Gothic art. Next came the Renaissance era, from 1400 to 1800 AD. Then came the Pre-Modern era, which lasted from 1800 to 1880 AD and included romanticism, realism, and impressionism. Modernism lasted until 1945 and included expressionism, Dada, international style, and surrealism art styles. We are currently in the Modern and Post-Modern eras, which include art types such as op art, pop art, performance art, computer art, new realism, and Victorian revival.
- Leonardo da Vinci became the first well-known artist. Born in 1452, he was known not only as a painter, but also as a sculptor, inventor, mathematician, architect, scientist, and musician. Da Vinci grew up in the Renaissance era, a time when many people were interested in painting. Most of his paintings were done in the Realist style, which means that the paintings depicted objects exactly as they looked in real life. His popular paintings include Mona Lisa, The Last Supper, The Virgin of the Rocks, and Madonna and Child.
- Many popular painters were born in the 1800s. One of these was Claude Monet, who was born in Paris in 1840. He studied art at an art school in Paris when he was 20. Monet was known for Impressionistic art, which is art with bold colors and very little detail, often created to look as if shimmering. His famous works include Lily Pond, Morning Haze, and Marine Near Etretat.
- Another well-known painter was Pablo Picasso. Born in Spain in 1881, Picasso also was a sculptor. He was known for Cubism (the use of geometric shapes to show what the artist is trying to paint) and Expressionism (the artist displays his feelings about something through painting) styles. He became famous because of his ability to work in multiple styles, plus his use of bold lines and colors. His most popular paintings include Three Dancers, The Three Musicians, and Guernica.
- Post-Impressionist painter Vincent Van Gogh was born in Holland in 1853. Van Gogh had a sad life and therefore painted dark and gloomy paintings. His most popular one was The Starry Night. However, he is probably better known for cutting off part of his ear after fighting with another artist with whom he was painting.
- Andy Warhol was an American artist who created pop art, which is art of everyday items. He was born with a natural talent for art and was encouraged by his mother and teachers to attend art school. His most well-known paintings include Campbell’s Soup Can, 100 Soup Cans, and Money.
- Most of the artists in the early years were fine artists, meaning they created items such as paintings, illustrations, and sculptures that were displayed in galleries and museums. Art and art-associated careers have changed a lot since then. Art careers do not just include drawing, painting, and sculpting. Now there are also craft artists, who create objects by hand, such as quilts, pottery, or candles. Usually craft artists do crafts as a hobby and then sell their creations at craft fairs, flea markets, small shops, and other locations. Art directors work in marketing and advertising agencies developing media communications and overseeing the creation and production processes. With the increase in popularity of video games and 3-D productions, the multimedia field is growing rapidly. Multimedia artists create graphics, using computers, for films and hard-copy publications. They also create video games and presentations. For those looking for a stable career in art, the multimedia field is the most favorable, due to high demand for innovative special effects in movies and realistic 3-D characters and scenes in video games.