What is art?
Lascaux, Upper Paleolithic. “It’s a picture of whatever animal you’ve most recently eaten. Draw it with your hands, put it on a rock. Art. Make it red. Art has to be red.”
England, 1100. “As many people as you can paint on one thing, who are roughly the size of castles.”
Constantinople, 1230. “Sad Jesus.”
Italy, 1440. “Women holding babies that do not wish to be held.”
Belgium, 1590. “A bunch of dogs, mostly spaniels, in front of a newly-rich squire who is holding a gun.”
Japan, 1600. “Drawings of pine trees. A waterfall if you want to get really fancy. Maybe a maple tree, but that’s it.”
Mughal Empire, 1680. “Scribes sitting down.” Anything else? “No.”
The Netherlands, 1660. “That’s easy. It’s a peasant woman standing in front of a tray of fish.”
France, 1750. “A prostitute who is dressed up like Venus, and also a small dog.”
England, 1850. “Fictional redheads who have drowned.”
France, 1880. “An unhappy waitress.”
Mallory is an Editor of The Toast.