History of Art.

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The oldest surviving art forms include small sculptures and paintings on rocks and in caves. There are very few known examples of art that date earlier than 40,000 years ago, the beginning of the Upper Paleolithic period. Despite the existence of countless forms of artistic expression and the long history of art, it is often possible to identify an artistic piece as originating from a particular time and place. This is possible because of the development of trends and fashions with unique combinations of characteristics over time. For example, paintings from Europe in the fifteenth century have a characteristic style and material that differs greatly from European paintings of the twentieth century. Fashions and style also differ from place to place in the same century, so that Chinese pottery has a different surface and pattern than Mayan pottery of the same period. The creative arts are a collection of disciplines whose principal purpose is in the output of material that is compelled by a personal drive and echoes or reflects a message, mood, and symbolism for the viewer to interpret.

As such, the term art may be taken to include forms as diverse as prose writing, poetry, dance, acting, music, sculpture and painting. In addition to serving as a method of pure creativity and self-expression, the purpose of works of art may be to communicate ideas, such as in politically-, religiously-, and philosophically-motivated art, to create a sense of beauty (see aesthetics and fine art) or pleasure, or to generate strong emotions; the purpose may also be seemingly nonexistent.

As a form of cultural expression, art may be defined by the pursuit of diversity and the usage of narratives of liberation and exploration (i.e. art history, art criticism, and art theory) to mediate its boundaries. This distinction may be applied...