The Backwards History of Art

If you walked through the Philadelphia Museum of Art, starting with the postmodern art section and moving back in time through the Romantic and Renaissance periods to the medieval art section, you'd be forgiven for thinking that the history of art was a process of moving from simple and basic shapes, sometimes hardly resembling reality in any way, to more and more complicated and subtle techniques, showing a greater grasp of the physical world, especially the human body, until finally arriving at attempts to get beyond the visible world through representations of saints with one foot in a spiritual realm. In other words, you'd be forgiven for thinking (and the available evidence would suggest) that the history of art was the exact opposite of what it is.

It's simplistic, I know, but worth thinking about.