Questions About The History of Western Art
Bookmark this page for answers to all your queries about the evolution and development of visual art, from ancient times to the postmodernist era. Additional questions and answers are added regularly. See also: Questions About Art - Questions About Famous Artists - Questions About Irish Art.
Note: for a list of important dates and events in the development of Western visual arts, please see: Timeline: History of Art.
Up until recently most paleoanthropologists and art historians thought that the history of art begins during the Upper Paleolithic period between 35,000 and 10,000 BCE, as evidenced by a series of cave paintings and miniature carvings discovered mainly in Europe. However, recent archeological discoveries seem to confirm that prehistoric art begins much earlier - almost certainly during the middle Lower Paleolithic - between about 290,000 and 700,000 BCE. For more, see: Prehistoric Art History.
The oldest known rock art is the "cupule", a hemispherical petroglyph, created by percussion, which occurs on vertical as well as horizontal surfaces. For more information about this extraordinary rock art, see: Cupules. For a guide to the first paleoart, see: Earliest Art.
The oldest recorded paleoart is the Lower Paleolithic cupules at the Auditorium cave in India, dating to 290,000 BCE. For details, see: Bhimbetka Petroglyphs.
The first proto-sculptures are the Acheulian period figurines made by Homo erectus, which date from 200,000 BCE. For details and photographs, see: Venus of Berekhat Ram and the Venus of Tan-Tan. Later more refined statuettes appeared in Europe from 33,000 BCE onwards. For more, see: Venus Figurines.
Painted by modern Homo sapiens, the oldest known cave murals occur in the Upper Paleolithic rock shelters of Chauvet, Pech-Merle, Cosquer and Lascaux (Dordogne, France) and at Altamira (Cantabria, Spain). For details, see: prehistoric Cave Painting.
For a comprehensive chronology of important dates of the Paleolithic, Mesolithic and Neolithic periods of the Pleistocene and Holocene epochs, covering the earliest petroglyphs, sculptures, cave murals, megalithic architecture, pottery and metalwork, see: Prehistoric Art Timeline.
No one knows for sure. If cupules turn out to be religious markings, the answer may be "as early as 700,000 BCE. More likely, the first religious artworks will prove to be African or Australian rock paintings, probably dating to around 10-20,000 BCE. See: Religious Art.
The best known examples of art from the Bronze Age (c.3500-1100 BCE) were created around the Mediterranean in the form of Egyptian monumental architecture (pyramids), as well as Minoan murals, pottery and sculpture. Persian art was even more advanced. For more details, see: Bronze Age Art.
Egyptian culture (3100 BCE - 395 CE) made an enormous contribution to the history of art. As the earliest and longest living of all the ancient Mediterranean civilizations, Egyptian craftsmen (especially stone masons) exerted an important influence on later Greek sculpture. Also, more Egyptian painting (murals, panels) has survived than that of any other nation in prehistory, and gives us huge insights into its culture and art. For more, see: Egyptian Art.
The purpose of the Egyptian pyramids - a unique form of Egyptian architecture - was to assist and secure the passage of the deceased Pharaoh or nobleman into the after-life. Most were built during the period 26801786 BCE. For more, see Egyptian Pyramids.
Named after the legendary King Minos, the race known as the Minoans - the precursors of Greek art - lived on the island of Crete at the eastern end of the Mediterranean. By 2100 BCE proceeds from their maritime trade had enabled them to build a series of palaces at Knossos, Phaestus, Akrotiri, Kato Zakros and Mallia, along with wonderful examples of sculpture, fresco painting, pottery, stone carvings and metalwork. For more, see: Minoan Art.
Mycenae was a Greek city in the Peloponnese area on the mainland of ancient Greece. It lent its name to the earliest form of Greek culture (c.1650-1200 BCE). For more information, see: Mycenean Art.
Set astride the ancient trading route to the Orient, Persia (later renamed Iran) became one of the richest cultural and political centres of the ancient world during the first Millenium BCE. Under powerful leaders like Cyrus II the Great, Xerxes and Darius I, the country became famous for its architecture, public sculpture, pottery, gold artifacts and precious metalwork. Persian art influenced (and was influenced by) Greek art. For more, see Art of Persia.
Etruscan culture, based in the Italian province of Etruria in Italy prior to the rise of Rome, reached its zenith during the sixth century BCE (500-600 BCE). It is noted for its tomb paintings and funerary sarcophagi, as well as its ceramics, and was a significant influence on both Greek and Roman art. For more, see Etruscan Art.
During the period 600-300 BCE, ancient Greece was the most important cultural centre of the ancient world, creating a huge and stunning range of sculpture, painting, ceramics and architecture, which subsequently exerted a major influence on the development of Western art. Greek art spans three basic eras: the Archaic Period (c.600-500 BCE), the Classical Period (c.500-323 BCE) and the Hellenistic Period (c.323-27 BCE). For more, see Greek Art.
Because during the Dark Ages (c.400-800) scavengers dismantled many stone sculptures and melted down nearly all bronzes for scrap. As a result, our knowledge of Greek sculpture is limited to Roman copies of the orginal designs, or a few remaining fragments. Even so, those temples which have survived, like the Parthenon on the Acropolis in Athens, still have numerous examples of relief-sculpture and some statues. Luckily some outstanding masterpieces have survived, notably "Laocoon" (42-20 BCE), carved by Hagesandrus, Polydorus and Athenodorus. For more, see: Greek Sculpture.
Ceramic earthenware is the principal surviving source of information about Greek pictorial art. The four major styles were: geometric, black-figure, red-figure and white ground. Ironically, Greek ceramic art was never as widely respected as fine art. Monumental painting had the highest status, followed by architecture, sculpture and metalwork. For a full outline, see: Greek Pottery.
Roman painters and sculptors suffered from a traditional sense of inferiority in the face of Greek art, which they copied endlessly. The greatest artistic achievements of ancient Rome were in Roman architecture (eg. the Colosseum) and in narrative relief sculpture (eg. Trajan's Column 113 CE). For more, see: Roman Art.
This term traditionally refers to the metalwork, sculpture and decorative works of the Ancient Celts, who arrived in Eastern Europe from the Caucasus around 800 BCE. For details, see: Celtic Art. For the history and cultural contributions of the Celts, see: Celtic Culture.
These typically include: spirals, interlace, knots, crosses and zoomorphs. See Celtic Designs.
For almost 600 years (400-1000), most European culture stagnated, due to barbarian-inspired anarchy and a general decline in living standards. Only the Christian Church survived, and even this was divided between Rome and Byzantium (Constantinople). Nevertheless, in its network of monasteries and scriptoriums on the fringes of Europe (see for example Irish Monastic Art) it was responsible for a range of illuminated gospel manuscripts, an activity later supported on the Continent by King Charlemagne I in Aachen. For more, see: Medieval Christian Art and for examples like the Book of Kells, see: Irish Illuminated Manuscripts.
Vikings - pagan Danish, Norwegian and Swedish warriors - raided and settled widely in Europe, North America, Greenland, Iceland, Ireland, Scotland, England and Continental Europe. Most of their artifacts (mostly portable works) comprised functional tools or equipment, although Viking craftsmen also excelled at ornamental metalwork. For more, see Viking Art.
While Western Christendom slipped into the cultural abyss of the barbarian Dark Ages (400-1000), its artistic values were maintained by its Eastern capital in Byzantium, to which thousands of Roman and Greek artists and craftsmen emigrated and began creating a new set of Eastern Christian images (see Icons: Icon Painting), in the Byzantine style. A mixture of Greek, Roman and Persian styles, it endured until Byzantium (Constantinople) was sacked in 1453 by the Turks. For more, see: Byzantine Art.
This refers to artworks produced during the rule of King Charlemagne of the Franks. This Carolingian Art was followed by Ottonian Art produced under the Emperors Otto I, II, III, Louis the Pious and Charles the Bald.
This was a style of European architecture which began in the Ile de France and surrounding region in the period 1200-1270, and then spread throughout northern Europe. During the late 14th and early 15th centuries, it developed into International Gothic, and spread across Burgundy, Bohemia and northern Italy. For more, see: Gothic Art and also Gothic Architecture.
For details of sculptors, painters, architects and other decorative artists from the Middle Ages, see: Medieval Artists.
The Renaissance (rinascimento) was an upsurge of creative activity in all fine arts disciplines, centred in Italy between 1400 and 1530. Divided into two consecutive eras (Early Renaissance 1400-1490; High Renaissance 1490-1530), it firmly re-established Western art according to the principles of Classical Antiquity, especially Greek sculpture, and its theories about aesthetics, and the hierarchy of the genres remained dominant until Pablo Picasso and Cubism. For a chronology of events and details of all periods, styles and artists, see: Renaissance Art.
The Renaissance proper - symbolized by the new dome of the Florence Cathedral - was initiated by the Florentine artists Filippo Brunelleschi (1377-1446), Masaccio (c.1401-28) and Leon Battista Alberti (1404-1472). New painting techniques were explored by painters like Piero della Francesca (c.1420-92), Antonio Pisanello (c.1395-1455), Domenico Veneziano (c.1410-61), Gentile da Fabriano (c.1370-1427), Fra Angelico (1387-1455), Paolo Uccello (c.1396-1475), Giovanni Angelo di Antonio (c.1447-1475), Andrea del Castagno (c.1421-57), Sandro Botticelli (1444-1510) and Domenico Ghirlandaio (1449-94), while new sculptural forms were exemplified by the work of Donatello (1386-1466). For more, see: the Renaissance in Florence.
The Medici banking family was the major financial patron of the arts in Florence during the early Renaissance, without whom many of the city's works of art could not have been created. Its leading members included: Giovanni di Bicci de' Medici, Cosimo de' Medici, Piero de' Medici, and Lorenzo de' Medici. For more, see: The Medici Family in Florence During the Renaissance.
Although Rome played second fiddle to Florence during the early Renaissance, it dominated the high Renaissance. Popes who contributed to the rise of painting, sculpture and architecture in the city, included: Pope Sixtus IV (reigned 1471-84), Pope Julius II (1503-13), Pope Leo X (1513-21), and Pope Paul III (1534-45). For more, see: the Renaissance in Rome.
Venice also played a secondary role to Florence during the 15th century. In addition, its weather and trading history with the Orient, led to a slightly different form of artistic development. The most active and influential members of the Venetian Renaissance included: Jacopo (c.1400-1470), Gentile Bellini (c.1429-1507) and Giovanni Bellini (c.1430-1516), Andrea Mantegna of Padua (1431-1506), Vittore Carpaccio (c.1490-1523), Giorgione (c.1476-1510), Titian (c.1487-1576), Paolo Veronese (1528-88) and Tintoretto (Jacopo Robusti) (1518-94). For more, see: the Renaissance in Venice.
In simple terms, the early Renaissance period witnessed most of the new discoveries in painting (eg. perspective, foreshortening, new subject-matter, new treatments of traditional subject matter), while the artists of the high Renaissance built upon these discoveries, and fine-tuned them using more subtle techniques. The three genius artists of the later Renaissance were: Leonardo Da Vinci, the child prodigy Raphael and Michelangelo Buonarroti. For more details, see: Early Renaissance History and High Renaissance History.
During the 70 years following the Sack of Rome in 1527, the style of Renaissance art underwent a noticeable change, becoming more emotional and dramatic. This later became known as Mannerism. In many ways, it reflected the tension of the times, and was a reaction to the unalloyed idealism of the Renaissance. A great example of a Mannerist artist is Giambologna. For more details, see Mannerism: History and Artists.
This term describes artistic developments in Northern Europe (Flanders, Holland, Germany and Britain) during the period 1430-1580. It began with Jan Van Dyck's monumental masterpiece "The Ghent Altarpiece", and was characterized by the Northern preference for oil paint. Notable artists of the Northern Renaissance included: Jan van Eyck (Dutch 1390-1441), Roger Van der Weyden (Flemish 1400-1464), Hieronymus Bosch (Dutch, 1450-1516), Tilman Riemenschneider (German 1460-1531), Albrecht Dürer (German, 1471-1528), Lucas Cranach the Elder (German, 1472-1553), Hans Holbein The Younger (Swiss, 1497-1543), Pieter Bruegel the Elder (Flemish, c.1525-1569). For more, see: Northern Renaissance: History.
For a list of the most important pictures in tempera, fresco and oils, see: Greatest Renaissance Paintings.
Baroque Art - the artistic and architectural "weapon" of the Counter-Reformation - reflected the divine grandeur and religious certainty of Catholic Kings and Queens, together with the aspirations of the growing merchant and middle classes. Its most common outward manifestation was grandeur and extravagance, as exemplified by the sculpture of Bernini (1598-1680), and the paintings of Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640). For more, see: Baroque Art: History. See also: Baroque Architecture.
Principally an interior design movement (c.1715-1774) which emerged in France as a reaction to the Baroque grandeur of the Versailles court of the French King Louis XIV, Rococo was a whimsical and elaborately decorative style of art/architecture, exemplified in the paintings of Jean-Antoine Watteau (1684-1721), Jean-Honore Fragonard (1732-1806), Francois Boucher (1703-70), Thomas Gainsborough (1727-88), and Giambattista Tiepolo (1696-1770), and by the sculpture of Claude Michel Clodion (1738-1814). For more, see: Rococo Art: History. See also: Rococo Architecture.
The sternly heroic style of Neoclassicism (c.1750-1815) is exemplified by the works of the German painter Anton Raphael Mengs (1728-79), the French academic painter Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres (1780-1867), and the French political artist Jacques-Louis David (1748-1825). Leading Neo-Classical sculptors include Antonio Canova (1757-1822), the Danish artist Bertel Thorvaldsen (1770-1844), and Jean-Antoine Houdon (1741-1828). For more, see: Neoclassical Art: History.
Academic art was the style of art taught, according to the classical theories of art established during the Italian Renaissance, by "official" academies like the French Academie Des Beaux-Arts in Paris, the Florence Academy, the Rome Academy and the Royal Academy in London. It adhered to a set Hierarchy of Genres. For more details, see: Academic Art.
Romantic art was a sort of counterbalance to the severity and rigidity of Neoclassicism. Leading exponents included: the landscape painters John Constable (1776-1837), JMW Turner (1775-1851), and Caspar David Friedrich (1774-1840); the narrative works of Francisco Goya (1746-1828) and James Barry (1741-1806), and the portraits of Theodore Gericault (1791-1824). Perhaps the most famous Romanticist was the Parisian artist Eugene Delacroix (1798-63). For more details, see: Romanticism in Art.
This phrase usually describes the development of portraiture, "conversation pieces" and genre-painting produced in England during the 18th and 19th centuries, as exemplified by William Hogarth, Joshua Reynolds, Thomas Gainsborough, George Stubbs, William Blake and others. For more details, see English Figurative Painting, 18th/19th Century.
Q. What was the English School of Landscape Painting?
This term is commonly used to describe the mini-renaissance of landscape art which occurred in England around 1750-1850. Leading painters included: Richard Wilson, Thomas Gainsborough, Thomas Girtin, John Constable and JMW Turner. Other important artists included Richard Parkes Bonington, John Crome and John Sell Cotman. For more details, see English Landscape Painting, 18th/19th Century.
The Hudson River School of landscape painting consisted of a loosely organized group of 19th century American landscape painters (flourished 1820-75) whose works memorialize the American wilderness. The leader of the Hudson River School was Thomas Cole.
French Impressionism - a spontaneous style of painting - rejected the rules of Academic art in favour of a naturalistic and down-to-earth treatment of its subject matter. Inspired by the plein-air painting methods of the Barbizon school, Impressionists specialized in landscape and genre-painting, although for many of them portraiture remained an important source of income. For an in-depth explanation of this famous and hugely influential school, plus biographies of its painters, see: Impressionism: History & Artists. See also: Impressionism Origins and Influences.
The most celebrated exponents of Impressionism are: Paul Cezanne (1839-1906), Edgar Degas (1834-1917), Edouard Manet (1832-83), Claude Monet (1840-1926), Berthe Morisot (1841-95), Jacob-Abraham-Camille Pissarro (1830-1903), Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919), and Alfred Sisley (1839-1899). For more details, plus information about Impressionists from Germany, Holland, Britain, America, Russia and Australia, see: Impressionist painters.
The Heidelberg School, named after a rural area to the east of Melbourne, Australia, was a 19th century group of Australian Impressionist painters. For more, see: Heidelberg School (c.1886-1900) or see Australian Impressionism.
Post-Impressionism describes the styles of a group of French artists who went beyond the pure Impressionism of Claude Monet and his followers, during the late 19th century and early years of the 20th century. Post-Impressionist painters include: Georges Seurat (1859-1891), Paul Cezanne (1839-1906), Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890), Henri Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901), Paul Gauguin (1848-1903), and Edouard Vuillard (1868-1940). For more details, see: Post-Impressionism.
The Fauvist art movement (1898-1908) was a short-lived colourist style of painting which coalesced around a number of French artists during the turn of the century. An outgrowth of the French Impressionism movement, famous "Fauves" included Henri Matisse (1869-1954), Andre Derain (1880-1954), Maurice de Vlaminck (1876-1958), Georges Braque (1882-1963), Raoul Dufy (1877-1953), Albert Marquet (1875-1947) and Georges Rouault (1871-1958). For more details, see: Fauvism.
The beginning of the Expressionist movement is commonly associated with 20th century German Expressionism, which included such diverse artist groups as Der Blaue Reiter, Die Brucke, Die Neue Sachlichkeit and the Bauhaus School (1919-33). For a list of artists, see: Expressionist Painters. However, other individual Expressionist pioneers included Van Gogh (1853-90) and Edvard Munch (1863-1944). For more details, see: Expressionism.
There were three main schools of Expressionism in Germany: (1) Die Brucke "The Bridge" (1905-13), founded by Karl Schmidt-Rottluff (1884-1976) and Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. (1) Der Blaue Reiter "The Blue Rider" (1911-14), led by Wassily Kandinsky (1844-1944) and Franz Marc (1880-1916). (3) Die Neue Sachlichkeit "New Objectivity" (1920s), led by Otto Dix (1891-1969) and George Grosz (1893-1959). For more details, see: German Expressionism.
Gustav Klimt (1862-1918), creator of two of the most expensive paintings of all time (Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I  and Portrait of Adele Bloch-bauer II ), was a leading figure in the Art Nouveau (Jugendstil) style of decorative art. For a biography of this extraordinary painter, see: Gustav Klimt.
Cubism was a revolutionary style of art designed by Georges Braque (1882-1963) and Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), during the years 1907-8. It radically redefined the scope of painting and introduced an entirely new way of representing reality. Specifically, it rejected the use of traditional perspective (depth in a picture) and focused instead on the flat canvas: fragmenting the "3-D" subject into flat planes which were then rearranged in overlapping style on the picture. (Picasso's "Les Demoiselles d'Avignon" was a very early stab in this direction.) As a result, Cubist paintings were often highly abstract, and this new abstract style ignited an artistic revolution across Europe, signalling the end of the Renaissance-dominated era, and the beginning of modern art. For more details, see: Cubism: History & Artists.
In 1907 and 1908, deeply affected by Paul Cezanne's geometric-style landscapes, Picasso and Braque painted a number of landscapes using simplified geometrical shapes (3-D cubes), hence the initial name "Cubism". For more information about this initial prototype form of Cubism, see: Early Cubist Painting.
In his painting "Portrait of Ambroise Vollard" (1910), Picasso deconstructed a human figure into a series of flat transparent geometric plates that overlap and intersect at various angles. This work ushered in the second phase of Cubism, known as "Analytical Cubism" (1910-12). For more details about this new style, see: Analytical Cubism.
Between 1913-14 Picasso and Braque introduced their third style known as Synthetic Cubism. Instead of disassembling subjects into numerous flat pieces, the new style involved building up a composition using various extraneous materials, like collage. This style influenced a number of other famous artists, especially those of the Dada school. For more details about this new style, see: Synthetic Cubism.
They were Russian artists' exhibition groups that were formed in Russia, during the immediate pre-war period (1910-12). For more, see Knave of Diamonds (1910-17) and the more radical Donkey's Tail (1911-12).
Constructivism (c.1917-21) - the Russian abstract architectural art movement - was founded by Vladimir Tatlin (1885-1953), joined later by Aleksandr Rodchenko (1891-1956) and brothers Antoine Pevsner (1886-1962) and Naum Gabo (1890-1977). For more details, see: Constructivism.
Founded in Switzerland by Jean Arp and others during the First World War, Dada (1915-24) was an anti-art movement that produced a number of meaningless artworks and "performances" that challenged the traditional values of a society that allowed the barbarity of World War I. Some 30 years later, another challenging variation - known as Neo-Dada - emerged in America, that deliberately exaggerated the aesthetic significance of low-brow objects and imagery, scandalizing many "serious" critics and curators in the process. For more details, see Dada: History, Styles.
Established in 1919 by Walter Gropius, the Bauhaus School was a revolutionary school of art upon which so many others have been modelled. For a profile of its aims, artists and influence, see Bauhaus Design School.
Surrealism was one of the most influential art movements of the inter-war years. It encompassed a diverse range of styles from abstraction to realism, but characteristically included weird or fundamentally "unreal" imagery. Leading Surrealists included Salvador Dali (1904-89), Max Ernst (1891-1976), Rene Magritte (1898-1967), Andre Masson (1896-1987), Yves Tanguy (1900-55), Joan Miro (1893-1983), Giorgio de Chirico (1888-1978), Jean Arp (1886-1966), and Man Ray (1890-1976). For more details, see: Surrealism: History, Styles.
The term "Entartete Kunst" means "degenerate art" and was used to describe any art which did not conform to the ideals of the Nazi Party in Germany of the 1930s. For a full explanation, see: Degenerate Art.
As an art movement, Realism (Le Realisme) began in France in the mid-1850s. It rejected the "ideal" poses and subject matter of traditional Renaissance-inspired art, in favour of portraying the "gritty" reality of life. Social Realism, a school of the late 1920s and early 1930s, maintained the realist tradition of depicting unvarnished everyday life, but focused on scenes with a social message, such as those of breadlines and vagrants. In comparison, Socialist Realism was a style of state-sponsored propaganda art, introduced by Joseph Stalin in Russia, from around 1929 onwards. See Socialist Realism.
Abstract art is any painting or sculpture which does not represent aspects of the visible world. It is also known as "non-objective art", "non-representational", "concrete art", or "non-figurative". Notable abstract movements included De Stijl, Constructivism, Suprematism, Abstract Expressionism, Op-Art and Minimalism. For a full explanation, with examples of paintings, see: Abstract Art: History & Artists.
Abstract Expressionism was an influential school of American painting of the 1940s and 1950s. Sometimes referred to as the New York School, it included a number of styles such as "action-painting" (Jackson Pollock, Lee Krasner, Willem de Kooning), "Colour Field Painting" (Mark Rothko, Clyfford Still, Barnett Newman), and "Hard-Edge Painting" (Frank Stella). For more, see Abstract Expressionism: History, Styles, Artists.
An abbreviation of Optical Art, this 1950s/early-1960s movement employed abstract black and white geometric patterns to produce a number of optical effects on the viewer's perception. For more, see: Op-Art.
The term "Pop Art" denotes a type of "Popular" art - a style which employed imagery takenfrom consumer advertising and popular culture. It emerged simultaneously in New York and London during the mid-1950s and remained the leading avant-garde movement until the late 1960s. Famous Pop-artists included Andy Warhol (1928-87), Jasper Johns (b.1930) and Roy Lichtenstein (1923-1997). For more, see: Pop-Art.
For a brief survey of art in the United States (painting, sculpture etc) during the period 1750 to the present, see: American Art.
Post-Modernism is a late 20th Century style and conceptual theory in the arts and architecture, characterized by a general distrust of ideologies as well as a controversial view of what constitutes art. For a full explanation, see: Postmodernist Art: A Guide.
Minimalism (1960s) is a style of art (and architecture) characterized by extreme simplicity of form and a deliberate lack of expressive content. Minimalist artists were only interested in presenting a pure "idea". The reaction to this highly intellectual style, was Post-Minimalism (1971 onwards). The latter shifted the focus from the purity of the idea, to how it is conveyed. For more, see: Minimalism.
Graffiti Art sprang up in various American cities, especially on New York subway trains, during the 1970s and 1980s. It is also referred to as "Spraycan Art" and "Aerosol Art". It voiced the frustrations of urban minorities in a form of art that did not seek to please the general public. For a fuller account, see: Graffiti Art.
The Young British Artists (YBAs) were a group of contemporary artists - mostly graduates of Goldsmiths College in London - who were heavily sponsored by millionaire art collector Charles Saatchi and gained considerable media coverage for their shocking artworks (Britart) that dominated British art during the 1990s. Important members were Damien Hirst (b.1965) and Tracey Emin (b.1963). For a fuller account, see: Young British Artists (Britart).
For a list of the top best-selling contemporary artists, based on the 2008 annual Artprice survey of the global art market (July 2007 - June 2008), see: Top 20 Contemporary Artists.
For more about the evolution of the fine arts, see: Art Encyclopedia.