The oldest art we know is about 40,000 years old. It was painted on cave walls or sculpted from rocks and consisted mainly of people killing animals or each other.
After a while people started to write things down and proper history began. Civilizations developed in Egypt, Persia, Mesopotamia, Greece, Rome, India and China. This highly significant period in art history gave the world pots, earthenware, crumbling temples, God's, warriors and more.
In the middle ages, the West was dominated by the church that disputed the validity of all the old gods and says there was in fact only one. Art could no longer feature unrealistic things but had to be about things that happened in the Bible. This more realistic down-to-earth approach gave us religious art paintings as we know today.
Then came the Renaissance and return to the material world. Real life places were rendered in three dimensions. Convincing use of perspective became widespread and the human body was shown as it really is. Many images however remained religious in nature but also more realistic.
Eastern Art continued to develop its own distinct way often showing scenes from nature or the everyday world like mountains, landscapes or people kissing.
Then came Modern Art and the dawn of the “isms”. The impressionism, expressionism, cubism, dadaism, surrealism and other isms to numerous or rude to mention. The experiences of global war, the march of technological progress and the popularization of theories about the universe and the human mind left their indelible mark on our species.
The artistic gloves are off and it was time to experiment shapes, splats, blocks of color, ghost, pokes, weeping women, fluorescent lights, urinals and unmade beds all could be considered art in this brave new world. People argue the point saying that some modern art was shit and some of it really boils.
Art today is a many-headed creature. The need to create is clearly part of the human condition, an unquenchable desire which is as old as our species and quite probably embedded in our DNA. It’s unique to us as eating, fighting and laughing at other people's misfortunes. But it's also big business. You're equally likely to see famous artwork on a mug or t-shirt or in a boardroom as in the gallery. The rise of cinema, television and the Internet has led to a dissemination of a common visual culture into every corner of the globe. While the gideon pace of technology ceaseless progress has democratized the entire means of artistic production, meaning we can now plug into an all-encompassing worldwide mass of information anytime we like and watch cute cats on the internet.