Timeline of Art History

Humans have been creating objects of meaning since the Upper Paleolithic era, 40,000 years ago. Art history is the record of human creativity from the first stone tools to today. To break it down, we’ve divided history into six chapters. 


40000 BCE — 3000 BCE

Ritual artifacts and standing stones from the foggy years before written history

The Ancient World

3000 BCE — 500

The invention of written language to the fall of the Roman Empire.

Middle Ages

500 — 1400

The fall of classical culture leads to feudalism and gothic religion

Age of Discovery

1400 — 1800

Trans-continental travel open art to global influence

Industrial Revolution

1800 — 1900

The invention of the portable paint tube sends artists outside


1870 — 1960

Two world wars and the rejection of tradition — it's all a blur after this