The oldest reason for art being created was as an aid for religious storytelling. First, starting with prehistoric French cave paintings, followed by the Sistine Chapel, art has served religion. For centuries, the Church was the primary patron for artists. In traditional societies even today, the primary purpose for art is religious or ceremonial. The best example of religious storytelling through art is the Sistine Chapel, painted by Michaelangelo. The Sistine Chapel has a ceiling divided by painted architecture into a series of alternating large and small panels called the Histories. Each of the smaller panels is surrounded by four figures of nude youths, the Slaves, who are represented as seated on the architectural frame and are not of the same order of reality as the figures in the Histories, because their system of perspective is different. Below them are the Prophets and Sibyls, followed by the figures of the Ancestors of Christ. The whole ceiling completes the chapel decoration by representing life on earth before the Law.
Jirousek, C.. “The Evolution of Visual Art In the Modern Era.” The Evolution of Visual Art in the Modern Era. Art Design and Visual Thinking, 1995. Web. 2 Mar 2012. <http://char.txa.cornell.edu/art/introart.htm>.