The most ancient monuments of art on the territory of Uzbekistan are the rock paintings of animals and hunting scenes of the Paleolithic period in the Zarautsoi settlement. Some rock drawings of animals in Khojakent and Bustanlik belong to the Neolithic period.
The antique period saw the rise of art culture in various spheres of fine and applied arts (4th century B.C. - 4th century A.D.). The sculpture used to be made of clay, fashioned in gypsum, but rarely of stone. The clay statues with colored paintings, discovered in Khakcayon settlement (1st century B.C.), vary in their depiction of human figure - grandees, deities, warriors, musicians, and children.
The sculpture of the southern regions of Uzbekistan experienced changes with Buddhism expanding in the area. A stone frieze from Airytom (2nd century) with depictions of heavenly musicians, and other antique figures serves as an example for the aforesaid.
The gypsum statues From Buddhist sanctuary at Dalvarzintepa (2nd century) represent authentic images of followers of Buddhism that dates back to the Bactrian and Kushan reign. Free style and beautiful paintings are inherent in the writings on the wall in the south of Uzbekistan.
The style of art depicted in ancient monuments is said to have also reflected in the applied art of antique Uzbekistan. In some stone as well as silver- and gold-embroidered items of the Bactrian period one may observe the influence of the Hellenic-Roman period upon art.
The ancient art as a whole depicts original features pertaining to all over Central Asia, but the remains of items discovered in the southern regions distinctly reveal Hellenic, and later on - Indian roots.
The painting style that dates back to early medieval period (especially the Samarkand style) is-refined, solemn and full of dynamics and various movements of the characters portrayed. The paintings portray rich Samarkand fabrics.
The 14th and 15th centuries saw the renaissance of fine arts. Paintings of landscapes have been preserved to days in the Samarkand mausoleums. Some palaces of Amir Temur used to be decorated with pictorial panels with portraits of the ruler himself, his wives, sons, associates, as well as rich and feast scenery depicted on them.
The works by the Samarkand school of painting - close to Herat school are: illustrations to the list of astronomical tractate by Al-Sufi, the miniature with Ulughbek depicted on it, miniatures on Alisher Navoi's "Khamsa", and others. One could notice romantic exposition in their style.
During 16th and 17th centuries significant success was achieved in the manuscript art and bookbinding. Both Samarkand and Bukhara saw the rise of the Central Asian schools of miniatures.
At the second half of the 19th century and early 20th century, fine arts began gradually to permeate the lives of Uzbek people, at first in the form of commercial printed products, and later - in the form of magazines and books. Direct transition towards fine arts has been observed vis-a-vis breach of centuries-long traditions that stood for obligatory styles, conditioned with certain religious beliefs. The early 20th century saw the development of poster and graphic arts.
Schools of art in Tashkent, Samarkand, and other cities are said to have played a significant role in training of the experts in the field. Alongside the initial schools, other art institutions were established
in the area.
The foremen of Uzbek painting dealt with modem and historical themes, and the genre of a modern portrait used to prevail in their works.
From the end of 30s U. Tansikboev is said to have come on the scene with his unique works on landscapes. Also, progressive trends on the development of sculpture emerged at that time.
The genre paintings and landscapes used to prevail in the Uzbek fine arts of 50s (works by U. Tansikboev, N. Karakhan, R. Timurov).
Alongside the foremen of the senior generation (A.Volkov, P. Benkov, N. Kashina, and others) several other young artists such as A, Abdullaev, S. Abdullaev, V. Yevenko, M. Nabiev, V. Jmakin, R. Fadeev, and others did well in the field. R. Akhmedov succeeded in portraits as well as genre and lyrics topics. Paintings by M. Saidov are said to have always contained deep psychological and dramatic touch. The landscape paintings by N, Kuzibaev were also remarkable.
Works by B. Jalalov and D. Umarbekov saw their popularity in 70s. They were unique and beautiful. The series of portraits by R. Chorievi and B. Boboev reflected the beauty of the national culture, The 90s were a period of profound changes, establishment of the new spiritual space, when the notion of self-determination of the local peoples' as well as renaissance of their national roots had acquired importance. Artists started to perceive rich national heritage, and there took place a fundamental transformation of the artistic thinking. Such complications and contradictions of development of arts during that historically vital stage certainly were irreversible and natural phenomena.
Late 90s fine arts in the country has achieved a lot. It was enormously due to the establishment of the Uzbek Academy of Arts.
The artists began to perceive arts as not a handicraft, but the product of philosophical conception of surroundings, and at the outcome, it led to enrichment of the content of work.
Uzbek artists have an enormous potential. Due to enormous changes that have been taking place in almost every sphere of life, most of them began creating their works based on the new type of thinking and realities of the world. They now represent a different kind of generation of artists with new approaches, philosophical analysis, as well as perception of their place in the arts.
Also, many young artists, as much as new styles and genres have emerged. The sculptors and graphics designers stepped up their activity. The independence of the country gave artists new opportunities and allowed to concentrate more on the national topics and features of way of local life, depiction of historical personalities, almost forgotten during the communist era.
The republican art exhibition, namely "The most great, the most sacred", dedicated to the 8th anniversary of Uzbek independence, was held in the Central Exhibition Hall of the Academy of Arts in August 1999.
More than 600 works of m, graphics, sculpture, design, peoples and decorative and applied arts went on display. Also, national costumes made specifically on historical analogs were displayed.
Another exhibition on graphics and sculpture took place the same year in March in Uzbekistan, which was a significant event in the field.
In recent years, leading artists and designers, including L. Sadriddinov, F, Toshmuhammedov, K. Tursunov, and several others participated in number of exhibitions that took place in the U.S., India, China, Portugal, Bulgaria, Australia, Greece, South Korea, Japan, and others.