Painting is a mode of capturing, documenting and expressing the varied creative intents, as numerous as there are practitioners of the craft. Paintings can be naturalistic and representational (as in a still life or landscape painting), photographic, abstract, be loaded with narrative content, symbolism, emotion or be political in nature. A large portion of the history of painting is dominated by spiritual motifs and ideas; sites of this kind of painting range from artwork depicting mythological figures on pottery to biblical scenes rendered on the interior walls and ceiling of The Sistine Chapel to depictions of the human body itself as a spiritual subject.
The oldest known paintings are at the Grotte Chauvet in France, claimed by some historians to be about 32,000 years old. They are engraved and painted using red ochre and black pigment and show horses, rhinoceros, lions, buffalo, mammoth or humans often hunting. There are examples of cave paintings all over the world—in France, Spain, Portugal, China, Australia, India etc..
In Western cultures oil painting and watercolor painting are the best known media, with rich and complex traditions in style and subject matter. In the East, ink and color ink historically predominated the choice of media with equally rich and complex traditions.
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