Much of our knowledge about the lives of the earliest humans comes from the ancient art they left behind. Before people could write, they were painting pictures of animals on the walls of caves in Africa, Europe and Asia. Human beings have had the desire to create since the earliest times.
As families, clans, and tribes gathered together to build villages and towns, art changed and developed as well. The first civilization we know of formed in Mesopotamia, and their accomplishments were spectacular. The Sumerians invented writing, created beautiful sculptures in stone, and designed and built ziggurats which were the center of their cities. They were highly accomplished artists who exemplified the first style of art depicting the human form.
The second great civilization that we know of was Ancient Egypt which thrived for several thousand years along the Nile River. The Egyptians’ belief in the afterlife led them to create the immense pyramids and tombs filled with art and innumerable treasures. And although their glorious civilization didn’t last, we know a great deal about them because of the amazing art they created.
These early cultures of Mesopotamia and Egypt directly influenced what we call “Western Art” because it developed around the Mediterranean Sea, moving throughout Western Europe and eventually, to the United States of America.
Ancient art studies coming soon.