When does art history begin? Art historiographers typically point to the Renaissance (Vasari) or, alternatively, to Hellenism (Pliny the Elder). But such origin stories become increasingly disconnected from contemporary disciplinary practices, especially as the latter try to rise to the challenge of conducting art history in a more diversified and global way. This essay provides an alternative account of art history’s origin, one that does not try to alleviate the sense of disconnect, but rather develops a global, non-Eurocentric account. The account focuses less on genealogy and more on what necessitates something like an art-historical awareness or attention in the first place. Relying on examples from ancient Mesopotamia, it argues that art-historical thought can be identified whenever and wherever material objects are attended to or produced for their potential to manifest visibly and over time their meaning.