April 13, 2015

History of Painting 2

The evolution of art from a depiction of life to a conveyance of idea was accomplished first in “proto-writing.” Pictograms evoked the idea of the thing by reproducing the thing, abstractly and ever more reductively.

The discovery of ancient Vinca symbols, unearthed in Romania in 1875, further document that proto-writing came about 1500 years before historians believe cuneiform was invented by the Sumerians around 3000 B.C.E.

Cuneiform, quintessentially abstract because it uniquely represented symbols to convey speech, hints at the direction art would take. Proto-writing conveyed content yet was not “encoded” as language; it had no structural code to convey meaning.

The history of art had begun its recurrent cycle whereby image and idea would evolve through methods of abstraction and reduction, producing lesser and lesser “actual” meaning and substantiate art’s fascination with the purer form of ideas.


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