The History Behind Different Art Mediums


Hannah Dowaliby, Copy Editor

“There is something beautiful about a blank canvas, the nothingness of the beginning that is so simple and breathtakingly pure.” Piper Payne, a painter, once said. “It’s the paint that changes its meaning and the hand that creates the story.” 

In the world of art, there are many different kinds of mediums. Put simply, an art medium is the various methods and tools used over the years to create works of art. Through the course of human history, art can be seen being used in many different ways. However, some works can be dated up to 45,000 years old and older. So, when it comes down to it, humans have been doing art for millennia, dating back to the cavemen.

Some of the oldest recorded art mediums consist of sculptures, stenciling, carvings, engravings, some paintings, and even charcoal. Charcoal is still used today, but there are many prehistoric drawings utilizing it that have been recorded depicting vivid sketches of different types of animals. Not only is charcoal an art medium with a rich history, but it is also incredibly versatile. The appearance of charcoal on paper varies hard to soft, and, unlike graphite, gives the piece of art the ability to have a “true black.”

Other, history rich art mediums include sculptures and carvings. Sculptures can be recorded back to somewhere from 230,000 B.C. to 700,000 B.C., whilst one of the earliest carvings can be dated back to somewhere between 290,000 B.C. to 700,000 B.C. Because of the incredibly vast amount of time that these mediums have been recorded, it’s safe to say that sculptures and carvings have been around for a very long time. Sculptures especially have since become more mainstream, and are a widely known and highly regarded art form. Whether it be a sculpture carved from a large piece of stone, or a piece sculpted from clay, they have become largely known across the world as a sign of artistic achievement.

However, art isn’t only seen in physical pictures or sculptures. They can also come in the form of writing, specifically, poetry. One of the earliest poems can be dated around 2,000 B.C., called the Epic of Gilgamesh. This poem was a part of the oral tradition of the Sumerians, but poetry has since expanded into something much more than just tradition. Poetry has become a staple for self expression and the creation of art. Also, it is highly adaptable to the artist’s needs. Different forms of poetry have since been created, with one popular example being slam poetry. Slam poetry is a form of performance poetry that combines the elements of performance, writing, competition, and audience participation. It is a very engaging and entertaining art medium, and its popularity has only risen throughout the years.

For years, recorded over the course of human history, there has always been art. Art is a form of expression, whether that be through emotion or otherwise, it has almost always been used to depict the human experience. History itself has been recorded in paintings and sculptures. Because of this, history and art go hand in hand. Without art, we wouldn’t have access to our history, and without history, we wouldn’t have access to art. Art plays a significant role in all of our lives, whether we realize it or not, and the importance of art will never change.