To help understand our story, follow through the timeline of art movements to see how the process we use today are influenced by history…
1400: Medieval Period
Art in the medieval period was most likely made of tempera, vellum, gold, oil, and panel of wood or paper. These materials were used for paintings and illustrations. Vellum and panel was used as the canvas. Oil and tempera was the paints they used. Gold was used in the paint. Tempera is a paint we still use today.
Madonna and Child by Duccio, tempera and gold on wood
Parchment, gouache, watercolor, chalk, and oil were used during the Renaissance. Engraving was a method used during this time. There were some prints, but they were very rare. Parchment is a type of paper. It was used as a canvas. Parchment is still used today.
Master B.F. (Italian, active about 1495 – 1510). Tempera and gold leaf on parchment.
1600: Exploration Period
Oil, ivory, woodcut, brass,velvet, and steel were the materials used for art during the exploration period. Velvet and straw were materials used in decorative clothing. Some maps were woodcut. Some clocks were made from brass and steel. Ivory is made from the tusks of animals like elephants. Ivory is a new material that had not been used before, and if it was it was rare.
Carved ivory plaque of Saints.
1800: Revolutionary Period
During the revolutionary period art was made using watercolour, oil, plaster, marble, and engraving. Plaster and marble was used to make statues. Watercolour and oil are types of paint. Engraving was a technique used. Engraving is the act of carving something carefully into a hard object..
An engraving of the Huia bird of New Zealand.
1900: WW1 and WW2
In WWI and WWII art was drawn with pen, colored with ink, printed, or painted using oil or watercolor. Watercolor and oil have been around for a while and is still used today. Using ink for art was a new technique. Printing was very rare before WWI. This is where printing became a bigger part of art.
Spring in the Trenches, Ridge Wood, 1917 by Paul Nash
1950: Cold War
During the Cold War art was mostly propaganda posters. The art that wasn’t propaganda posters was things made of steel or bronze, engraving, stoneware, ground etching, and colored rayon. Rayon is a typed of fabric that can be dyed to create artwork. Steel or bronze was used for statues. Stoneware is decorative bowls and plates.
This poster reinforces the message of Soviet research and development of weapons.
Art today is made from just about everything. There is art made from trash. There is art made using digital programs. We have learned new techniques. We still use everything our ancestors did, but now we have more advanced technology and the ability to create almost anything.
My Bed is a work by the English artist Tracey Emin.