Extensive in scope, yet meticulous in detail, the Larousse encyclopedia attempts to synthesize the scholarship of diverse subjects into a comprehensive whole. Spanning man's artistic development from early paleolithic times through the noble achievements of Antiquity, this incorporates the art of Asia and Africa, the Pacific Islands, Australia and the Americas as well as Western forms, emphasizing current discoveries in the fields of archaeology, anthropology, history, enthology. The chapters have been organized to offer maximum appeal to the interested novice as well as the connoisseur. Within the broad categories of Prehistoric art, Primitive art, the art of the Agrarian Empires, the metal civilizations, the creations of early and high Antiquity and the art of Asia -- facts, dates, techniques, schools, artists are presented first. The main body of the chapter consists of essays commenting on influences and trends with the prime focus on comprehension. The last section is concerned with the philosophy of art -- how particular forms can be integrated into man's development, how they reflect his customs, ideals and beliefs.