The painting of walls is probably the oldest form of art. In ancient times, people made paintings on the walls of caves. A lot of these caves are discovered now. There are wall paintings found that are approximately 31. 000 years old in the Chauvel Cave in France. Also in Lascaux, France and Altamira, Spain, are these ancient wall paintings found. In other parts of the world, like Egypt, they found wall paintings in graves (Curtis). The paint was applied in different ways; with the fingers, simple brushes or with the mouth. Theories about the meaning of the paintings are various.
None of these theories can be examined, but some assume that the reason was fear (Curtis). To make a drawing of that what is feared, was supposed to avert the danger. Others think that it was kind of a hunting ritual, to make the hunt more prosper. Old Egyptian Paintings (3000 BC till 3rd century) The Old Egyptians made art and paintings that stood through time. The art was in service of the gods and the dead, and it had a magical function. The artists were mostly anonymous and the art collective. There was no place for artistic freedom because the artists were bound by strict rules.
Also the portrayal was bound in canons of proportion and body parts (Wrigley). There was no knowledge of perspective; all figures were either painted from the side or from the front. The paintings can be found on the walls of temples, graves and on the sarcophagi of the noble classes. Old Greek Paintings (800 – 140 BC) The Greek considered painting to be a higher form of art. The Greek painters painted on wooden panels, marble and on walls (Wrigley). Most of these paintings were lost when they were not protected anymore. Only a couple of the monumental paintings are saved such as the Vergina grave of King Philippos II of Macedonia.
The Greek period can be divided in three stages: Archaic (800 – 500 BC), Classical (500 – 350 BC) and Hellenic (350 – 140 BC). The first temples were built in the Archaic period, where also the art of painting and sculptures develops. The Classical period is the start of philosophy, politics, literature, music and architecture. The Hellenic period starts with the conquests of Alexander the Great. In this period, the Greek strived for perfection and balance in mind and body. In 140 BC, Greece became a province in the greater Roman Empire (Wrigley). Etruscan art (800 – 100 BC)
The Etruscan art had its main influence from Greece and the Old Greek art, but there is no imitation; the Etruscan art has its own character. This art developed in the region between the rivers the Arno and the Tiber, the Apennine Mountains and the Tyrrhenian Sea. In the seventh century, the Etruscan art had a strong Eastern character. They came into contact with Greek art, partially through Greek colonies in South-Italy and partially through the import of Greek vases. In the first century BC the Etruscan art changed into Roman art, where it determined a great part of the character (Wrigley).