It can be argued that at the core of all art is the artist. It is their eye and interpretation that has driven the evolution of art. From its earliest form of cave drawings to the pop art and postmodern periods, there are many artists that have helped mold and form the period.
From the early days of the Paleolithic period, cave drawings were the first recorded art form. These early artists were unaccredited. The same held true for most early art forms including the Egyptian hieroglyphics. The Greeks, Romans and even Chinese concentrated more on figures, as well as the humanizing of their deities.
As art evolved through time, before the artists came to the forefront, spirituality and a way to convey the Word of God was frequently the subject of most art, up until the early 1300’s, where the Italians started to lead the way. They added perspective and depth to their works of art. But in 1430 there was a major event for artists, the invention of oil paints. By 1490, Leonardo Di Vinci’s “Last Supper” and “Vitruvian Man” became prominent works from this period, with Di Vinci still considered a master. Additionally the advent of the printing press also provided another turning point in art history.
By the 1500’s well known artists like Michelangelo Buonarroti not only were known for statue work but also works such as the “Creation of Adam” in the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican. Di Vinci also created his famous work “Mona Lisa”. This period, The Renaissance, is a well-known period which highlighted many famous artists.
The 1600-1700’s ushered in the Baroque period and saw a shift from the Italian artists to those of French and Dutch Painters such as Rembrandt, among others.
The invention of photography in the 1800’s helped change the face of art. Edgar Degas portraiture “The Bellelli Family” features the more realistic feature of a photograph. Masters such as Edouard Manet embraced realism, which started the impressionist movement with Claude Monet and Renior.
The post Impressionism period saw the immergence of Vincent Van Gogh who took the work of the impressionist to a new level. Other contemporaries include Paul Gauguin, among others.
In the early 1900’s cubism gained favor, and it saw the immergence of Pablo Picasso, and this changed the way art was viewed. Picasso was considered the master of cubism. Surrealism came into favor in the 1930’s with Spanish notable Salvador Dali defining the style. Additionally, expressionism also gained favor with Wassily Kandinsky, who later went on to refine the new art form of abstract art with his painting “Landscape”. Kandinsky is considered the father of abstract art by many. Jackson Pollack rose to prominence in the late 1940’s and blended Abstract art and Expressionism with his famous “Full Fathom Five”
Since the 1960’s, artist have been far less restricted. Andy Warhol is a prime example of the pop art movement. Contemporaries such as Felix Mas, G. Harvey and Thomas Kinkade have gained notoriety with their use of light and color.
The evolution of art continues and can be directly related to the artists themselves not only throughout history but in the modern era as well.