Acrobatic traditions are found in many cultures. In the West, Minoan art from circa 2000 BC contains depictions of acrobatic feats on the backs of bulls, which may have been a religious ritual.Hickoksports.com
The court displays of the European Middle Ages would often involve acrobatic performances along with song, juggling and other activities.
Though initially the term applied to tightrope walking, in the 19th century, a form of performance art, including circus acts began to use the term as well. In the late 19th century, tumbling and other acrobatic/gymnastic activities became a competitive sport in Europe.
Acrobatics in Western history have become a key subject for fine art. An excellent example is Acrobats at the Cirque Fernando (Francisca and Angelina Wartenberg) by Impressionist Pierre-Auguste Renoir which depicts two German acrobatic sisters. The painting resides at the Art Institute of Chicago.