The Story of Art | Summarizing Sample

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The Story of Art: 16th Edition- Chapter 1 Summary

Chapter 1: Strange Beginnings 

This chapter (Strange Beginnings) of the book offers an account of the prehistoric era of painting by focusing on the purpose of statues and paintings in the ancient era. In this chapter, the author attempts to narrate the ancient narrative of art in an easy language besides making the reader to understand the sense in ancient art. We see the author introducing the chapter by arguing how things become more complex when people try to go further back in history, with art appearing to have lost the purpose it was meant to serve. It can be seen how hard it is to understand art’s strange beginnings without thinking from the perception of ancient people, particularly where they used art as a powerful tool rather than something just to look at. Another important lesson that can be drawn from this narrative is the author’s intention of transforming ideas and requirements; such as having a soul to soul connection between humans and animals. The art portrayed in this chapter appears so ancient in comparison to the modern-world art. The reader is therefore left to wonder if the current generation will ever bring back the purpose of art. To conclude, this chapter makes the reader to think outside the box as far as art is concerned. For instance, we have been led to believe that drawings in caves were meant for record keeping besides serving the communication purposes. However, having read this chapter, additional purposes such as pictures as vessels of magic may be served. People should therefore re-evaluate the purposes and descriptions of ancient art, such as drawings and paintings by the primeval Egyptians, in order to have a better understanding of art.


Gombrich, E. H. (2006). The Story of Art, London: Phaidon Press, 978-0-7148-324-70