It all started with primitive men who painted pictures on the walls of their caves. Things would have been different if they had wallpaper, but in those days it was DIY or GWI, and so they brightened things up with some jolly hunting scenes, with an optimistic tone where they catch and kill the animals instead of the other way round.
The pictures look as like the work of five year olds, and when I tried it aged five I was just as good, but my mum was cross and made me rub it out before the man from National Geographic could turn up.So much for my art career - but as you will see, there is yet hope.
Art continued with the ancient Greeks, who had obviously got some practice in, as when they drew on the walls you could at least see what it was supposed to be.
The Greeks and Romans actually hit on some key aspects of art, which was to include filthy bits as often as possible. This took a downturn for the next 1000 years when you were only allowed to do pictures of god despite being told not to, but things started to look up a bit during the renaissance, when people rediscovered the two key principles known to the ancient Greeks, perspective and filth, and one which wasn't, which was canvas.
These three technological leap forwards gave rise to the most important development of all, which was art could be worth money. If you could only do depictions of the saints on church walls there was no chance of making a killing at the art lark, but if you could do filthy pictures for rich blokes to bring out for selected audiences, you were on a winner.
Imagine the scene in the court of the Medici: Old Cosmo or whatever his name was has his mates round for a bowl of spaghetti and a few Peronis and has the chance to show off his latest bit of patronage, with a lovely study of bondage and few ladies who have lost their vests. His mates all go home fuming. Dandini Dentistri commissions a bit of sapphic passion, Carlo Chiropodi goes all homoerotic, while Henri Fiat goes right over the top with torture, rape and bestiality. These days most responsible ISPs would not host the stuff, your browser would crash rather than go near it, and you have to go down to the national gallery and see it for yourself in meatspace.
The upshot of this was of course that people learned to paint properly, so you could see what you were looking at, and they could make good money. People who sold second-hand filth (probably in a back room of their bordello) began to call themselves art dealers.
This business went on for generations, with filth, portraits of rich blokes and their families and houses all being commissioned, and then, when the subjects died, being sold on by the dealer, who managed to persuade people that if they couldn't get their own likeness, family, house or sex fantasy done, then having somebody else's over the mantelpiece was very nearly as good. Business, and art, went on like this for years, fleecing the rich.
And then of course photography was invented, and the jig was up. Portraits of self, possessions, persons in undignified poses could not only be rendered in 125th of a second at F8, they could be mass-produced. There was only one thing to do - invent modern art.
If photography could do reality, art would have to be everything that didn't instead. This started with a little tentative stylisation (showing what was not quite there, which cameras can't) and as soon as the art buying public swallowed this, the floodgates opened. Within a few years, art got less and less depictive, and more and more about the deranged obsessions of the artists, some of whom were clearly certifiable.
Since 1850 every art movement has got dafter, but thanks to the art dealers hyping it up to the skies it still gets sold for big money.
These days, the art has disappeared entirely, and only the hype remains. The guys in the cave probably would make a real killing if they turned up today.
This page is available for £100,000, and I'll even sign it if you want..