Paintings provide many interesting details about fashion trends in different countries, especially before the 20th Century. Paintings offer the advantage of, unlike photographs they are also identified by countrty and time. Our master list of painters in the alphabetical individual listing. We are also cross referencing the artists here to help develop fashion trends in each country. This is somewhat complicated by the fact that many important countries only became unified nation states in very recent times. This is especially the case of Italy (1860) and Germany (1871), two major countries. There are many other complications such as the absorption of Dutch speaking Flanders in French dominated Belgium or wheter to include Alsatian artists in Germany or France. Our country art pages are mostly European at this time. We hope that our readers in other countries will provide us the information needed to develop country pages in other regions.
We have almost no information on African painting at this time. The most importnt African art comes from ancient Egypy and their are woknderful tomb paintings. There are also some Roman Empire paintings from North Africa. African primitive art has been admired by art figures, but provide little realistic depiction in our effort gto develop fashion information. We do note the beautifully decorated churches in Ethiopia. A good example is an unidentified fresco in a monastary in Lake Tana, perhaps dated to the 16th century. Interestingly it has a rather Indian look. Ethiopian Orthodox Christian fresco is some of the only Subsaharan African painting we know of before the modern era. The Ethiopian paintings are very destinctive wih large, all-seeing eyes and bright primary colors. Also the individuals depicted are Eyropeans or Middle Easterners, not Africans. There also seem to be some Malian paintings.
As far as we know, while Native american people painted their buildings, they left us few actual paintings. The only important paintings we know of are Mayan tomb paintings. There are drawings in Mayan codicies. With the conquest the Spanish fathers taught talnted Native Americn European artistic techniques. Most of their work was rligious intended to decorate churchs. We know of very few notable Latin American artists. The best known artists are the Mexican muralists, very dramatic works, but highly idological. We are not sure why there are relatively few importnt Latin American artists. Surely economics is a factor. It is wealthy countries that produce great art. And Latin America has languashed in poverty during the Spanish colonial era as well after indepependence. The region is not fully developing its human talent. Latin America continues to be very poor in comprison to Europe and North America and now Asia. Aalthough since the rise of free market capitalism during recent years in some countries there has been considerable progress. Some countries (Cuba, Nicargua, nd Venezuel) have made the catetrophic decesion to develop a socilist economy, thus nsuring widespread povety. Hopefully our Latin American readers will be able to provide us some information or important artists in their country.
North America primarily means America and Canada. Mexico is of course part of North Anmerica, but for cultural reasons seems better to include with the rest of Latin America. Most of the artistic output of North Americ has come from the United States. Both the population and economic power explain this. The United Sttes of course compared to Europe has a very recent art history. Here some of the most valuable work was done by primitive or naive artists in the late-17th and early-mid 19th century. This of course was before the advent of photography nd thus our primary soirce of fashion indormation. These artists while their perspective was often weak did provide very detailed reproductions of clothing in their portaits which is of emense value in assessing historical fashion trends. Of course the greatest American portratist has to be John Singer Sargent, but unfortunately he painted only a small number of children. We know next to nothing about Canadian art at this time.
We do not know a great deal about Asian art. Chinese and Japanese painting is particularly notable, but seens to focus on landscape to a far greater degree than Western art. This presumably is a reflection of the basic cultural attitudes toward the importance of the individual. Hopefully our readers who are more knowledgeable about Asian art will be able to tell us more about this. And unlike Europe, there was no powerful religious institution that channeled and promoted Western art for more than a mellenium. Painting seems much less important in Asia than Europe, at least outside the Chinese cultural orbit. Of course the Chimese cultural orbit is a substantial part of Asia. Here Islam may be a factor because of Koranic prohibitions of human depictions. Even in non-Muslim India, painting seems less important than other art forms, but not non-exustent.
Chinese painting is the oldest continuous painting traditions in the world. It is not nearly as old as Egyptoan art, but Egyptian art is not continuous. Chinese painting history commonly begins with the Han Dynasty.
The Qin Shihuangdi (First Sovereign Emperor of Qin) manged to unite China, the Middle Kindom between the Tellow and Yangste Rivers for the first time (221 BC). He provided a foundation for the long stability and prosperity of the Han dynasty he funded and Chinese artistic traditions. Han literature and poetry describe how the walls of Han palaces, mansions, and ancestral halls were plastered and painted. Most of this has not survived. Surviving paintings are mosstly tomb paintings and painted clay and lacquer objects. Subsequent Chinese art history is described in terms of dynsties.
We with our Western orientation know next to nothing about Indian painting. The Indian aty we are most familar with is sculpture in various media. Indian painting has the same lengthy tradition which prehistoric cave paintings just like Europe. Petroglyphs as found in places like Bhimbetka rock shelters, some of the Stone Age rock paintings found among the Bhimbetka rock shelters are dated to about 30,000 BP. Artistic expression seems to be a basic human impulse. This is about the same chronological age as European cave paintings, even though human presence on the Indian Subcontinent far outdates that of Europe. There is nothing like the ancient Egyptian painting in the Indian tradition. The earlists painting other than tge cave paintings seems to be found in Buddhist literature which describe palaces of the military and ristocratic class decorated with paintings. These appear to be paintings on walls as was the primary form of paintings at the time. The Ajanta Caves are the most significant of actual surviving early Buddhist paintings. Art scholars believe that small-scale painting was executed in manuscripts like European illustrted Bibles, but the only surviving examples date fromthe medieval era. The most famous early Indian paintings date from the modern era -- Mughal paintings. They were minatures displayed in books rather thn painted on or hung on walls. This was a painting tradition resulting from a fusion of the Persian miniature with ancient Indian traditions (16th century). It is a rare devloped painting tradition from a Muslim society which as aesult of Koranic teachings prohibited the depiction of the himan form. This style spread throughout India as a result of Mughal conquess, nearly uniting India (17th century). It was adopted by the Indian princely courts of all religions and developed into an Indian style with many destinctive local diffrences. With the arrival of the British (18th century), Indian companies prodiced portaits for British clients. And during the Raj art schools appeared teaching European techniques. Modern Indian painting shows both the Western influence and the Indian roots..
We do not know much about Japanese art, but the country has a long, important tradition of art. And in the modern era, the Japanese estehic of simplicity an understatement has inflnced Western art. Japanese artistic endevors include a wide range of artistic styles and media. The visual arts includes ceramics (including ancient pottery), sculpture (wood and bronze), ink drawing/painting (silk and paper), calligraphy, and oil painting. The history of Japanese art begins with the production of ceramics (tenth millennium BC). Complex art is believed to have come with the spread of Buddhism (7th and 8th centuries AD). Painting is not as important in Japan as in the West, although drawing is probbly morevimportant. And in particular porraiture is far less important. This significantly affects the number of image that can be used to further our study of childood, both fashion and activities. The arts in Japan were patronized and promoted promoted by a series of imperial courts, aristocratic clans, and religious groups. This was of course similar to the West, except in the West it was not the case in clasical times or in Christioan Europe as the Renaisance developed. Here men and woman beyond the royal courts and the airistocracy commisioned art work and promoted the arts. This only began in Japan with increasing urbanization by the mid-18th century annd the Meiji Restoration along with industrialization (1870s). There are both religious and secular art, but even Japanese secular art to a greater ectent than in the West is imbued with religious principles (Buddhist and Confucian). The Zen concept that the material world is part of an all-encompassing whole is particularly important.
We do not yet have much information on Tajik art. Painting has not been a major art form in many Islamic societies, because some Muslims believe that people as beings with souls should not be depicted. This believe has not been universal as we have noted both Turkish and Persian paintings depicting people. Tajiks as a people of Persian origins in Central Asia have been strongly influenced by Persian art forms. Art historians note distinctive Tajik (Persian) painting dates back to the Seljuk period (11th-13th Century AD), which described as the "Baghdad School". Painting was primarily devoted to decorate manuscripts, especially editions of the Koran. During the Mongol period (1256-1394) paintings was also used to decorate books. Tajikm painting and book illumination declined after tghe 14th century. Tajik art was primarily exopressed through crafts as metalwork, pottery and embroidery all forms creating household objects. Thus Tajik art was essentially devoted to crafts and a range of folk art. We have noted some paintings during the Soviet era, but have limited information about them.
No region has contributed more to the world of art than Europe. Here the primary medium has been painting in all its many mediums (fresco, oils, and water colors). The foundation of Western art is the classical tradition of Greece and Rome. Here painting was not as important as it was yo become, but still of some importance, esopecially in Fome. European medieval art developed out of the artistic heritage of clasical Greece and Rome as it mixed with the iconographic traditions of the new Christian church. This varied around Europe and they intertwined with the vigorous if less regfined Barbarian, often largely Germanic, culture of northern Europe. All of the major European countries have made important artistic contributions. At first Italy was the center of Western art. France may have made the most important contribution, but England is not far behind. Spain has lefft us some very important artists. Perhaps the important European country with the weakest artistic tradition is Prussia, but other German states (especially Austria and Bavaria) made important contributions. A very important factor here is wealth and only wealthy countrues provide the economic foundation for art. An interesting observation here is a connection between art and science. Countries with important artistic traditions have also made important contributions in science. This connection was broken in southern Europe with the Inquisition and Counter-Reformztion. It is Western art that we focus on for HBC, largely because it is Western art that focuses strongly on people, especially individuals. This is a tradition that beggan with the Greeks and powerfully resurfaced during the Renaissance and continues to this day. We found many important depictions of children and their clothing.
The Middle-East and North Africa have a very weak tradition of painting due to Koranic prohibitions concerning depictions of humans. There are some exceptions such as Iran (Persia) and Turkey, but for the most part we have few paintings to work with from the Islamic world.
Hasan Kaptan is an interesting artist born in Ankara. He was recognized as a talented artist as a boy when he began producing modern art. He traveled widely and studid in France. His art did not focus on Trkish scenes. Kaptan settled in Normandy and has a special interest in in art therapy.
There are, however, some images painted by Western artists. A good example is Frederick Goodall, an English artist who traveled in Egypt. His contemprary work provide fascinating images of 19th century Egypt. There is beautiful caligraphy and decorative work adorning mosques, but very little in the way of painting. Interestingly the same is true of science. Just as sceiene and art seem to follow each other in Europe, the lack of representational art in the Islamic world seems to have mirrored the lack of scientific inquiry. There have been almost no notable Muslim scientists emerging from the Islamic world since the 12th century. Even today in our modern world where science is so important, there are virtually no scientists of any stature in Muslim countries nor have there been scientific or medical advances emerging from Muslim countries.
We have very little information on painting in Oceania. It and Africa have the most limited profuction of paintings. Here a relatively small population is a factor. Islam is another factor. We do do not see paintings from Oceania until Europeans began settling there. This primrily occurred in the late-18th century. The largest number of images come from Australia, largely because it had the largest population of European origins in the region. The artists were mostltly European until the 20th century when locally born artists appeared. There are several Australian artists, but are not well known outside of Australia. The number of Tahitian artists is limited. And most of the artists we know of are Europeans are of European origins. Surely the most famous images of Oceania are those painted by Gaughin painted in Tahiti during the 19th century. There are some very early colonial images from the Philippines, most of a religious character. Relativly few Spainards settled in the Philippines. But the Spanish fathers trained some native artists. This is similar to the colonia art found in Latin America. We note a few Australian and New Zealand painters. The most populace country in the region is Indonesia, but here Islamic prohibitions have discouraged painting. Presumably there was some work by Dutch artists, but we have little information on such work.
We have found some paintings that we are unable to identify by country. American paintaings are relatively easy to identify. Identifying the natiinality of European paintings is often mych more comolicated. we will post paintings here that we have had difficulty idebtifying. Hopefully HBC readers will have some insights to offer.
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