European Art

Written by Sarah Provost
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The category of European art is about as wide and deep as the history of civilization itself. From the cave paintings at Lascaux to the most avant-garde performance artist in Finland, art has been interwoven with the history of Europe. The Dutch Old Masters, the Italian Futurists, the French Impressionists and the German Expressionists have all made their lasting impression on culture worldwide.

We Americans sometimes fail to comprehend just how young our country really is. The earliest works of European art, such as the various cave paintings and the Venus of Willendorf, date from 15,000 to 10,000 B.C. Greek, Roman and Byzantine art also dates from well before the Christian era. Yet it's astonishing how very modern much of it appears.

This is partly because many modernist artists looked to the ancient world for inspiration. Picasso, in particular, echoes primitive themes and forms, which are stripped down to essentials. And between the primitive and the modern lies the whole range of classical, romantic, religious and historical paintings and sculptures that comprise the canon of art as we know it.

Reproductions of European Art

One of the many blessings of the Internet is that we can now find an amazing variety of reproductions of European art. Until recently, our choices were limited to a very few famous paintings, and then most of us could only find prints, and only if we lived near a good-sized city. Today we can find prints of literally thousands of art images, and hand-painted reproductions of hundreds more. Thanks to online galleries and museums, the whole history of the culture is available for us to peruse.

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