The beginning of western art
Prehistoric refers to the time before people learned to write.
Objects and images are the documents of this era
3 different periods
little is known about Paleolithic society
ritualistic burial practices tell us about their religion
people were hunters and gatherers who lived in communities- language had been developed
-Art was based on food and fertility, not beauty and design
Sculpture: low (bas) relief, high relief, in the round (3D, like a doll)
EX- Venus of Willdendorf (30,000-15,000 BC) sculpture in the round 4 3/8 inches high
expressed fertility by large breast, torso, thighs. It is symbolic because it has no face
very famous, made of limestone but was not polished.
Probably carved by a trained artist. Symbolic of fertility and abundant food supply.
EX- Venus of Laussel (30,000-15,000 BC) sculpture in low relief 17 3/8 inches long
made of limestone. Symbolic. Has no face and large breast, torso, and thighs.
Hand holds a cornucopia (horn of plenty)
EX- Bison with a turned head carved from a rain-deer horn 4 1/8 inches high
naturalistic, exhibits movement
animals often represented in Paleolithic art: horses, bison, oxen
animals sometimes represented: deer, mammoth, antelope, bear, rhino, foxes, wolves, fish and birds.
over 150 sites in Europe. The best are in southern France and northern Spain
caves were developed over hundreds of years
Why were cave paintings tied to rituals?
Most cave paintings that have been destroyed were in areas suffering from flooding
the cave paintings that have survived to today did so because of their location
the media and color was brown, black, yellow, or red clay or stone ground and mixed with a base of animal fat of blood.
EX- Altamira, Spain (15,00-10,000 BC) found in 1870 16 bison, 2 boars, and a deer
low ceiling with animals in shades of red, brown, and black
good examples are the standing bison and the wounded bison
EX- Lascaux, France (15,000-10,000 BC) found in 1941, closed to the public in 1963
one of the best sites, site of the Chinese horse and the unicorn
transition period techniques of gathering food became more efficient
cultivation of plants likely, a more stable communal life replaced the nomadic lifestyle
EX- Ritual Dance rock engraving symbolized fertility
represents humans and animals as shapes, not stick figures.
Line and shape are used. The principle of movement is evident.
a new art form develops, monumental stone architecture megaliths
EX- Stonehenge Salsbury plain, southern England uses comlech
setting for religious services trilithon: a single post and lintel monument
uses the post (standing part) and lintel (part on top) design