Evolution of Art: Past, Present & Future

Art from the past gives us a glimpse into the lives of people in the past. Modern, or present-day art, allows us to understand the different personalities and expressions of the artists of today. And no one knows what art in the future will be. But every period of time in the past as well as the future holds a distinct style of art, and have contributed to the evolution of art, of the modern art we see today.

Art is a form of expression. Throughout history, the different cultures, heritages, living conditions, and materials available influenced the art styles of that time. It showcases a person’s thoughts and feelings, struggles and opinions. That is why the evolution of art is such a wondrous thing – it allows us to immerse ourselves and understand the different time periods, and the different circumstances each artist lived through.

We have broken this into 3 digestible segments:

  1. Art from the Past
  2. Art of Today
  3. Art in the Future

Art from the Past

The history of art is important and holds many insights to how art has changed and developed, from the prehistoric cavemen scribbles to famous Renaissance paintings, to the modern art that we know of today. You can learn more in-depth about the full history of art here.

Stone Age (30,000 BCE – 3,000 BCE)

Cave Drawing Stone Age

The earliest recorded period in which art existed, the Stone Age is named after the most famous technological tool created during that period, stone. Art during this period was defined as murals, carvings, and drawings, generally done on the interior of caves – known as cave art. This period was followed by the Bronze Age and the Iron Age, where other rudimentary technologies and building materials like bronze and iron were developed.

Medieval Art (350 – 1300 CE)

Medieval Age Art

The precursor to the famous Renaissance period, the Medieval Art period was a key establishment for the proliferation of art. This period was seen as the harmonious interplay between the ‘barbaric’ prior art forms and the classical artworks of the Renaissance. During this period, many art forms were established – Early Christian art, Migration Period art, Byzantine art, Romanesque art, and Gothic art.

Medieval art was produced in many different mediums – a stark development from the ‘crude’ paintings and murals of the past. Sculptures, manuscripts, stained glass, metalwork, and mosaic were some new art forms established, alongside past styles such as textiles, tapestry, and paintings.

The Renaissance (1300 – 1620)

Stone Statues Art

Perhaps the most famous time period would be The Renaissance period, characterized as a fervent upheaval and development of art styles. In fact, the four protagonists from the show Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were named after the four most prominent Italian artists from this period – Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, and Donatello.

This period was known as a period of change, as suggested by the French word renaissance, meaning ‘rebirth’. Artists began to reject the Byzantine style of religious painting and sought to establish realism in the depiction of the human form. This gave rise to artworks like the Mona Lisa and David of Michelangelo.

Modern Art (1850 – 1970)

Starry Night Vincent Van Gogh

Modern art does not mean the art of today, but rather, signifies a period in the past. This period was one in which numerous distinctive artistic styles were developed, and artists rejected the traditional narrative forms of art and its practices. This gave rise to the birth of abstract art. Vincent van Gogh’s Starry Night is one of the pioneers of post-Impressionist art.

Modern artists experimented with wild, multi-colored, expressive landscapes and figures. Experimenting with new methods of seeing, uniquely fresh and different ideas, gave rise to what is now known as Modern Art.

Art of Today

The art of today is also known as contemporary art. It showcases the art styles of artists living in the present. It provides artists opportunities to reflect, and express different worldly issues in almost any medium we know of. It is part of the present culture and heritage, the expression of our sociopolitical climate. Learning more about contemporary art is great to learn more about ourselves and the time we live in today.

Contemporary Art (1970 – Present)

Contemporary Art

Perhaps the most diverse and difficult to quantify art period. Contemporary art ranges in all sorts and variety – from postmodernist to avant-garde, 20th century architecture to minimalism. The numerous distinctive art styles of the past have all amalgamated into a harmonious blend of varying styles.

Abstract, figurative, geometric, still life, even typography, are forms of art contemporary art. These art styles can appear in paintings, architecture, sculptures, literature, and music.

Art in the Future

Butterfly Psychedelic Art

What would art look like in the future? What changes in trends will occur 20 year, 50 years, a decade into the future? An interview with artists and curators foresee greater inclusiveness, artworks focused on political issues, and new mediums and spaces for art expression.

One compelling argument would be a future of Artificial Intelligence (AI) driven art. With how AI has been revolutionizing healthcare, finance, sales and marketing sectors, there has also been substantial development in AI driven art.

With the advancements of technology, AIs are now able to create their own unique artworks. After being trained on numerous past art styles, these AI artists are capable of making their own artwork from scratch. An AI generated artwork, a portrait of Edmond Belamy from the fictional Belamy family, sold for $432,500. We believe that AI could lead the forefront of art in the near future.

Do you think AI be the future of art?


Artistry AI uses our own proprietary algorithm to develop AI art, printed on your favorite essentials – such as apparels and drinkware. The image above was created by one of our AI artists. If you are interested in getting your own affordable AI-generated artworks, you can check them out here.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published