Follow any of these links to learn more about the history of art:
The Evolution of Abstract Art
Abstract art is the natural result of thousands of years of artistic
Art began as using colors and shapes to represent concrete objects on cave walls,
such as those at Lascaux. From there the use of colors and shapes
evolved to the
two-dimensional figures seen in the ancient Mediterranean cultures, and then
over the following few centuries, continued evolving into the wonderful
figures of Michelangelo on the Sistine Chapel.
This method of using colors and shapes to represent concrete objects (often
used allegorically or symbolically for abstract ideas) was held until the coming of the
Impressionists, who broke away from the dominant artistic paradigm of art
existing to convey ideas or to portray events (either historical, legendary,
or mythological) and promoted the idea of "art for art's sake". Still, even
the Impressionists held onto the idea that art needed to portray something
and their works are usually landscapes and portraits.
It was not until the first experiments in abstract art (e.g. Wassily
Kandinsky) came about that art broke away from the idea of
representing anything and evolved into seemingly random colors and shapes,
even though the works were often (and still often are) meticulously planned.
Of course, there are movements countering the abstract and reaching back
into history to take realism to new levels--and this is wonderful, because
artists should be free to take whatever direction they want in pursuit on
their personal goals. It also benefits the public, to whom are offered
a wide assortment of highly imaginative works.
It is in this expansion of the imagination through art, whether abstract,
hyper-realistic, or anything in-between, that the public derives spiritual
and intellectual benefit or simple pleasure. To benefit the viewing
public in some fashion should be the aim of art. Our world is full of
terror, ugliness, horror, chicanery, fear, sorrow, and thousands of other
negative emotions. If I as an artist can provide at least a
moment's relief from those horrors, then I derive my own spiritual benefit.