Color and tone are the essence of painting as pitch and rythm are to music. Psychological, symbolical meanings of color are not strictly speaking means of painting. Colors only add to the potential, derived context of meanings, and because of this the perception of a painting is highly subjective. The analogy with music is quite clear—sound in music is analogous to light in painting.
Modern artists have extended the practice of painting considerably to include, for example, collage, which began with cubism and is not painting in the strict sense. Some modern painters incorporate different materials such as sand, cement, straw or wood for their texture. Examples of this are the works of Jean Dubuffet and Anselm Kiefer. (There is a growing community of artists who use computers to paint color onto a digital canvas using programs such as Photoshop, Painter, and many others. These images can be printed onto traditional canvas if required.) In 1829, the first photograph was produced. From the mid to late 19th century, photographic processes improved and, as it became more widespread, painting lost much of its historic purpose to provide an accurate record of the observable world.
The oldest known paintings are at the Groot chaut in France, claimed by some historians to be about 32,000 years old. They are engraved and painted using red ochre and black pigment and show horses, rhinoceros, lions, buffalo, mammoth or humans often hunting. There are examples of cave paintings all over the world—in France, Spain, Portugal, China, Australia, India etc.In Western cultures oil painting and watercolor painting are the best known media, with rich and complex traditions in style and subject matter.