"Painting completed my life."—Frida Kahlo

Painting—for many, the answer to the question "What is art?"—could be as old as humanity itself. Practiced across virtually all cultures, it is our primary visual record of the world, and as such has a history of incredible complexity. Important touchpoints include the traditional Western emphasis on illusionism; the difference between figuration and abstraction; the rise of oil painting; and the significant art-historical movements in which painting was central, such as the Renaissance, the Baroque, Impressionism, Cubism, and Abstract Expressionism.