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A Brief History of Art, From Ancient Times to Today

Since the beginning of time, there has been art; from handprints and paintings of animals on cave walls to Renaissance art to modern tomato soup cans to Banksy to personalized name art at Personal-Prints. Throughout time, religious wars, revolutions, and changes in society, art has withstood these forces and brilliant minds have continued to create and design pieces that have changed how the world views the environment around us. While even a brief survey of art history would be too much for one blog post; for lovers of art and history, here are some highlights that have brought us to where we are today.

Personalized Name ArtMesopotamian Art

Traveling back in time to the very beginning you will find ancient artifacts of the Middle East. From 8000 B.C. to 6500 B.C.E art had a practical use rather than a decorative one. The first pottery was made to prepare, serve, and store food. Pottery eventually began between 4000 and 3500 B.C.E. to be mass-produced on a fast wheel or in a mold.

Roman Art

During 1000 and 700 B.C.E. the period focused on geometrical patterns on pottery as well as animal and human forms. This time is when the recognizable black figures on red pots emerged. Sculptures became more and more popular and the artists learned the proportions of the human body. They worked with marble, paint, mosaics, gems, silver and bronze, and terracottas. Architectural buildings such as the Pantheon, Colosseum, and the Castel Sant’Angelo were built.

Personalized Name ArtRenaissance Art

Jumping forward a bit to the years between 1400 and 1600, the Renaissance brings art to a new level with perspective, shadows and light, emotion, and realism and naturalism. You’ll find many paintings, sculptures, and frescos, a method of mural painting when the paint was placed on wet plaster. This time period is when classics like The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci, The Creation of Adam by Michelangelo, and the School of Athens by Raphael were created. This time period can be broken down into Early and High Renaissance, Venetian and Northern, and Mannerism movements.

Baroque Period

As the Protestant Reformation was taking place in the 1600s, art took a dramatic turn. The paintings and sculptures became emotionally intense and focused on color, contrast, and featured themes of death, conversions, and martyrdom. Famous artists in this period include Caravaggio and Rembrandt.

Romantic Period

Another world change, the Industrial Revolution, also caused an eruption in the art world. There emerged two schools of thought: Enlightenment, which focused on science and rational thought, and the Romantics, who wanted to learn through self-discovery and spiritual means. Artists like JMW Turner, David Friedrich, and Thomas Cole created wonderfully detailed paintings of landscapes and seascapes.

Personalized Name ArtImpressionism

A short period during 1865 and 1885, the term “impressionist” was actually meant to be derogatory. Compared to Romantic paintings, critics felt that impressionist artists lacked skill due to the works using short brushstrokes, a separation of colors, and smears of paint that showed their modern lives as the subject. The famous painting by Claude Monet, Impression: Sunrise, is one of the first examples. Other artists include Edgar Degas, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and Mary Cassatt.


From 1917 to 1950, if you have ever seen images of Salvador Dali, you know what surrealist art is. The idea came from the theories of Sigmund Freud, including dreams, egos, and the unconscious. This period pushed boundaries and portrayed decay, violence, sexuality, and fear. Artists include Max Ernst, Frida Kahlo, and Pablo Picasso.

Abstract Expressionism

A long way from the Renaissance period, the expressionists began in the United States following World War II. It took surrealism to another level thinking that art should come from the unconscious. Many of the artists in this period worked spontaneously, using sweeping strokes or pouring paint onto the canvas. Other artists focused more on simple compositions that let the viewer have a contemplative response. Artists include Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, and Mark Rothko.

Today’s Art

Today, artist’s mediums can range from painting to photography to film or even performance art and cover topics and themes that range from day to day lives to war stories or memoirs. At Personal-Prints, we want to focus on art that combines nature with love and the innovative use of personalized name art designs. We want to offer everyone a piece of art that represents their style and personalities, art that they can customize for their own home or as a gift for someone else.

Personalized Name ArtWe also want to bring masterpiece art into everyone’s homes, including William BouguereauFirst Kiss, Monet’sWhite Water Lilies, and Van Gogh’sVase With Twelve Sunflowers. Ourpatent drawings take original drawings and give them new life and turn them into personalized name art pieces that everyone can enjoy.

A series that Personal-Prints is most proud of is our name art series, using themes and creating photographs that form letters in which you can spell out names or words. These personalized name art pieces can feature themes that include wine, sports, western, dance, Christmas, florals, and even your own home state. We strive to create art that is approachable and enjoyable on a personal level.

As you dive into the history of art, you can begin cultivating your own style and taste and find a piece in our collection that will fit your home. Find personalized name art of peaceful cabin scenes, majestic aspen trees, tender moments of sleeping animals, and more at Personal-Prints.

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