The creation of any work of art is a semiotic exercise.
The study of semiotics is concerned with the use of signs and signifiers, primarily as they are used in language and linguistics, but also in other forms of communication including visual art. Historically, artists have been concerned with how best to represent the way people in the artists' culture experience reality. Artists throughout history have struggled with the problem of representation. They developed rendering techniques like perspective drawing and shading. They developed new techniques to render color with pigments suspended in various binders and eventually gained portability with oil paints in tubes and water colors in small blocks. Artist also began to incorporate different symbologies and to incorporate the prevailing cultural iconography into there artworks, as they struggled to move beyond pure visual representation into religious and later emotional representation. Eventually artists became so competent at representing prevailing cultural realities that they began to rebel and to attempt to represent their own individual perceptions of reality. This development coincided with the technology of portability using oil paint tubes, and so was born Impressionism. More inward looking artists began experimenting with cubism not long after this.