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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.”

lascaux

England, 1100. “As many people as you can paint on one thing, who are roughly the size of castles.”

medieval

Constantinople, 1230. “Sad Jesus.”

byzantine

Italy, 1440. “Women holding babies that do not wish to be held.”

italy

Belgium, 1590. “A bunch of dogs, mostly spaniels, in front of a newly-rich squire who is holding a gun.”

belgium

Japan, 1600. “Drawings of pine trees. A waterfall if you want to get really fancy. Maybe a maple tree, but that’s it.”

japan

Mughal Empire, 1680. “Scribes sitting down.” Anything else? “No.”

mughal

The Netherlands, 1660. “That’s easy. It’s a peasant woman standing in front of a tray of fish.”

peasant fish

France, 1750. “A prostitute who is dressed up like Venus, and also a small dog.”

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olympia

olympia2

England, 1850. “Fictional redheads who have drowned.”

shalott

england2

France, 1880. “An unhappy waitress.”

france2

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