The History of Wall Art

Abstract Art Canvas

Wall art is a type of wall decoration that displays images, designs, or pictures. This type of art can be found in many churches, palaces, town halls, and many other public buildings. Wall art, in itself, shows the history of religious events, as often depicted in a cathedral or church, as well as shows a period of history and self-expression for the people who lived in those places at that time.

The Early Murals of Our Ancestors

Moria - DeepEarth

The history of wall art dates back to around 3500 BCE. This is the period of time when cave paintings were first discovered. These cave paintings helped give birth to the tradition of wall painting or wall capping in Europe and other parts of the world. At this time, people would decorate their dwellings with murals, images, and paintings.

The Early Paintings of Ancient Greece

Black Horse in Winter

The earliest paintings come from ancient Greece, and these depict animals such as hippos, horses, sheep, goats, lions, and dogs. However, the use of gilmour paints, which are red, black, and yellow in color, shows that the art of the time had evolved into something else. The first artists used a variety of mediums such as oils, watercolor, clay, and even paper.

The Price to Pay for Painting in Public

Wall art dates back to almost 2000 BCE, as evidenced by paintings found in ancient Greece, Egypt, and Mesopotamia. In ancient Greece, the early community of Athens developed laws to curb vandalism, and it was punishable by heavy fines or even death. The use of lead-based paint led to the destruction of priceless frescoes, as well as the use of too much color and excessive images in art.

Discovering Expression of Self and Society Through Art

Colored Roman Bust

The use of imagery and pictures, whether political or otherwise, or representations of violence, sexuality, or of the self, became more entrenched during the Hellenistic period and flourished during the Roman Empire. As empires grew, cities developed their own symbols and imagery to represent their very distinct identities.

Art Has Served Many Purposes for Different Aspects in People’s Lives

Art has become a field dominated by the practices of ritual and spectacle. The Great Hall, the most striking symbol of the ancient inheritance of Greek art, symbolizes the fusion of artistic performance and political propaganda. Just as the Great Hall gave way to the Circus Maximus, the artistic associations of classical Athens gave way to the theater and, later, to politics.

The Role of Wall Art in Depicting History Throughout the Centuries

It became increasingly important to also study the social factors behind the scenes and what was being done to resolve the conflicts and empower the people. This research culminated in the works of the late Roman and Greek historians and poets, who sought to understand how political violence was instigated and the social response to it.

Chinese buildings contained images bearing the names of prominent individuals, cities, and historical events. Similar practices took hold throughout the Islamic world, with mosques adopting a variety of motifs to beautify themselves.

Artists Came Together to Showcase Their Art in the Streets

Spires of Milan Cathedral

The tradition of street art began during the Renaissance when artists came from all corners of Italy and created masterpieces in plaster and lead colors. The famous artists of Venice along with the painters of the Salon del Popolo in Rome featured street art in their work. The tradition of street art moved to Milan around 1770, and this tradition soon spread all over Europe. The best examples of this art can be found in places like Florence, Italy, and Berlin, Germany.

Art Can Serve as a Remembrance of Liberation

Cairo is a city in Egypt with a rich heritage. The streets of Cairo were the center of the art world, and street artists are remembered for their involvement in liberating the masses and inspiring them to see the other side of the military-imposed walls. There is a certain kind of magic that comes over visitors when they see street art made by these local street artists. Viewing any of these places reminds visitors of a different time and a different culture.

Wall Art in the Modern Age

Love Graffiti

In today’s world, wall art or graffiti can be found virtually anywhere around a city. It usually takes one of two forms: a message or a signature. Messages are usually political and focus on a cause or another topic that the artist is passionate about. Signature work is typically more personal and includes the signature of the artist.

Contemporary Graffiti on the Streets

Today, graffiti artists transform the city's canvases with their vibrant colors, messages, and characters. Street art is arguably the most visible art movement in recent years. Contemporary graffiti has been said to have begun in the late 1960s within the Black and Latino neighborhoods of New York City. Often called writers or taggers, they aimed to have their work seen by the masses all over the city.

Later Acceptance of Graffiti as an Art Form

The developments in the art scene has allowed graffiti to be accepted as another medium or form of art. With its mainstream acceptance, many have participated in mural events held by galleries and museums. With the introduction of technology, modern graffiti artists even use devices to help them better map out their murals on a large scale.

Using Wall Art as Part of Interior Decoration

Les Damoiselles Wall Art

Art has always been an essential part of any home, and its beauty can be seen in many different forms such as paintings, sculptures, and tapestries. The most popular trend in wall art that’s recently been gaining ground is the use of found objects like buttons or hand-carved wood which the artist has found on local walks. Others use tapestries and other traditional mediums.

Wall Art Largely Defines Your Space’s Personality

Wall art can be a great way to add color, depth, and life to any room in the home. A good place to start with the selection is examining the personality of your space. A family home may want something that’s more sentimental such as family heirlooms or paintings. For a child’s room, it may be best to choose something whimsical and fun. It’s also important to examine the aesthetics of your space.

Materials Used in Creating Wall Art

Circle Black - Evgeny Vetrov

Throughout history, different mediums and materials have been used to create wall art. From stone carvings and mosaics to wet plaster and medieval tapestries, all of these works of art have contributed to the rich history of human expression. Currently, these artworks have been passed down through the generations, and there are still weavers, carvers, and painters continuing the legacy of those before us.

The History of Wall Art is fascinating to say the least. Wall art has been a part of human history for so long, it’s hard to believe that the first known work of art was a drawing on a cave wall.

If you’re an art lover and want to learn more about wall art, contact us at NicheCanvas.