Skip to main content
Ages 13+
Under 13
Van Gogh peignant des tournesols, Paul Gauguin (1888)

A History of Painting in One Minute: A Creative and Precious Animation


The uniqueness of art is made evident in this remarkable animated short.

One of the most important things we learn when we first come into contact with art is its near-total uniqueness.

Early on, we may have the impression that painting, like music, sculpture and other disciplines, is all, always, the same. Learning a bit more of the history of all of these expressions, we soon realize that perhaps the formats are similar, the tools with which art is made are the same, as are the languages, and certain guidelines that each tradition has carried with it. But, in the end, it’s the singularity of the artist which imposes itself over everything else. This is in such a way that a work of art becomes its own unique message, unrepeatable, and ascribed to its circumstances (while at the same time, it’s ascribed above them).

This simple, powerful finding is evident in the video below. It’s an animation by Cao Shu of the Academy of Art of China. In its one minute, it covers the multiple pictorial styles that have accompanied the history of humanity, from the religious paintings of ancient Egypt to the avant-garde of the 20th century, and all this without forgetting developments of Eastern painting.

The work is remarkable in its chosen presentation. By centering its route on the human figure, we witness that character’s gradual, dizzying transformation, as if painting itself were someone to whom life makes its changes – as, in effect, it actually happens.



Image: Van Gogh peignant des tournesols, Paul Gauguin (1888). Public Domain.

Related Articles