Be drawn to the change in art!

How art has evolved over time and what is next…

Art has been around as long as humans have. Just about every culture practises some form of art and therefore, is one of our defining characteristics.

Artists show us new ways to see familiar things and art is created and enjoyed for many different reasons and purposes.

It can be for religious ritual, commemoration of an important event, propaganda or social commentary or to simply created as something beautiful to enjoy.

There are many kinds of art and they have very much changed and developed over the years. We take you on a brief overview of the history of art and how it has evolved as we, as people, have.

Prehistoric Art

Prehistoric art is the oldest art that we know of. Also known as Ice Age art or Palaeolithic art, it can be dated back from 12,000 to more than 40,000 years ago. A lot of this art has been discovered in Africa and Europe.

But don’t just think cave paintings! Carvings, sculptures, engravings depicting animals and people, and even jewellery made from clay, bone, stone and ivory, have been found from this era.

This is how our fascination with and dedication to art began!

Ancient Art

Ancient art began in places like Egypt, China and Greece in approximately 3500 B.C. It shows the very beginning of imaginative artwork, focusing more on what might happen in the afterlife than what was happening in the artist’s everyday life.

Medieval Art

Then came Medieval art that expanded the artistic mediums further than just painting and drawings and basic sculpture. New and exciting artwork was being produced in the form of frescos, tapestries, illustrated books. For the first time, metal and glass were being used as well.

Renaissance Art

The Renaissance period began in Italy in about 1400 and was a time of huge development in science, literature and art. A lot of the art from this time depicts concerns that the artists had regarding politics, science, and religion.

Literacy was at its highest level to date, and studies of older art were just beginning which created a new revived interest in the arts and explains why a lot of Renaissance art is reminiscent of earlier pieces.

Baroque Art

Two hundred years after Renaissance art began, Baroque art took its place. The church employed artists to produce impressive works with a religious theme to regain some popularity in the art scene.

Baroque art was big and bold, and the artists weren’t afraid to use colour and movement!

Neoclassicism Art

Neoclassicism means ‘new classicism’ and is the style of art that Europe reverted to after the splendour of the Baroque period had dwindled. 

Neoclassicism was all about simplicity and minimalism, and is still popular in art, design and architecture to this day.

Realism Art

Realism art began in France after the Revolution of 1848. Art began to depict real-life situations, people, landscapes, and commercial and industrial life, even if it was unpleasant or distasteful.

Modernism Art

The period of modernism art started in 1860 and continued right into the 1970s. The most famous artists of this time include Cezanne, van Gogh, Toulouse-Lautrec, and Matisse.

These artists were new and exciting during their time but now we look at them as inspirational classical artists.

Realism art was starting to take its toll and artists began to manipulate the world around them into art like something out of a dream.

Because newspapers were now telling people what the current events were, artists could create more adventurous and creative works that didn’t require a story.

Contemporary Art

Having no actual definition, contemporary art is a mixture of genres, styles, and media that provoke different interpretations for those who look at it.

Viewers use their own life experiences to influence the story the artwork tells. But it’s not just the audience that has changed, the mediums by which art is created have developed hugely due to the advance of the technology.

Digital artists are creating art in ways that have never been possible before. More people can have the same piece of art as technology means art can be duplicated better and faster than ever before.

We also don’t have to go to galleries, museums or in-person auctions, to look at physical works. You can now browse, enjoy and buy art with the click of a button!

Check out our huge range of art in our online auctions, as we have an art action almost every day of the week!

So, do you get the picture? Brush shoulders with every piece of art that comes through our auctions by signing up to our email alerts!

Matt Kalinski

Head Of Valuations

Qualifications & Affiliations

American Society of Appraisers Candidate Member

Certified Practicing Valuer AVAA


Matt has been in the valuations space for many years and has extensive experience in the space across an abundance of various industries. He now leads the valuations teams for Lloyds Auctions with a passion for encouraging his team to set and achieve high goals and produce great results for the company whilst growing the team’s skills starting with a great culture and team mindset.