The history of drawing and painting stretches back to the dawn of humanity. People were drawing pictures before they knew how to write words. The earliest known drawings, found in South Africa, date back around 73,000 years. Drawings can be works of art, but more than that, they express human emotion in the most profound and simple way. They symbolize the first step in an idea of the imagina- tion that can grow from the seed of a sketch into the full bloom of a painting. Like all art forms, drawing and painting have evolved throughout time and history. Each new art movement around the world has come from the inspiration of the art movements that came before it. As time has passed, drawing and painting styles have changed, as have the art materials people have used. In African art, drawing and painting expressed people’s respect for nature, their culture, and the delicate balance between life and death. The ancient Egyptians drew hieroglyphs and painted on the walls of tombs in pyramids to help send off the deceased to the afterlife. The Invention Of Paper The process of making paper is thought to have begun in China sometime in the second century CE. Before the invention of paper, the Chinese used canvases of silk to create their ink drawings and paintings. The process of making paper soon spread throughout the Middle East and Europe. In Europe, modern drawing began during the Renaissance in the 1400s. The use of drawing and painting on paper became more common, because paper was easier to obtain. Drawing was soon considered to be the foundation for all other arts. Art students who were beginning studies in art had to first master drafting skills before they could go on to learn painting or sculpture. Art students also carefully studied nature and learned to draw what they saw in terms of physical structure and anatomy, often by drawing nude models. In this way, artists’ depic- tions of the human figure became more and more realistic over time. During the Renaissance, many European artists used preparatory drawing to work on their paintings. For example, large-scale paintings that were to be created in churches or other public buildings required an extensive amount of preparation, and drawings were an important step in that process. Artists used pen and ink to draw, but they also experimented with chalks and charcoal in red and black colors. They began incorporating shading and texture in drawing and paintings. Some of the greatest draftsmen of this time were Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo. In Latin America and the Caribbean region, the roots of drawing and painting have their origins among the many different indigenous cultures that inhabited these lands, as well as the influences of European colonizers who came to discover the treasures of these countries.


drawing and painting

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