Prehistoric Art: Chapter 1 PowerPoint


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Prehistoric Art: Chapter 1 PowerPoint

  1. 1. Chapter 1: Prehistoric Art in Europe
  2. 2. TIME PERIODS: Paleolithic Art : 30,000 BCE to 8,000 BCE in the Near East 30,000 BCE to 4,000 BCE in Europe Neolithic Art: 8000 BCE to 3000 BCE in the Near East 4000 BCE to 2000 BCE in Europe KEY IDEAS: •The earliest surviving works of art are cave paintings and portable sculptures of humans and animals. •Little is known about the original intention or meaning of prehistoric works. •Buildings such as Stonehenge show the ability of prehistoric people to build elaborate religious structures using the post-and-lintel system of construction.
  3. 3. Prehistoric Background Paleolithic (“Old Stone Age”) -people were hunter-gatherers -people used caves and other natural shelters as homes -people were unsettled (moved frequently) Neolithic (“New Stone Age”) -people cultivated the earth and raised livestock -people lived in organized settlements -people divided labor into occupations -people constructed the first homes
  4. 4. Prehistory = all human existence before writing Even before writing, people were: -carving objects -painting images -creating structures/shelter Wall Painting with Horses, Rhinoceroses, and Aurochs (oxen). Chauvet Cave, France 30,000-28,000 BCE. Paint on limestone
  5. 5. -Homo sapiens sapiens (our subspecies) evolved about 120,000 to 100,000 years ago. (wow!) -We can only make hypotheses about prehistoric art -The paintings, sculptures, and structures that have survived are only a fraction of what must have been created over a very long period of time. -Prehistoric art is one of the most speculative areas of art history. Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania -fossilized remains and footprints of the earliest hominid (“human”), believed to be 1.8 million years old. -many tools, vessels, and other handmade artifacts found here.
  6. 6. Prehistoric Sculpture: -all portable -most are very small -carvings on cave walls make use of natural modulations in the wall surface to enhance the image
  7. 7. Woman or “Venus” of Willendorf c. 28,000 – 21,000 BCE, limestone Here is one major work of Prehistoric sculpture. Describe this sculpture What might it have represented?
  8. 8. Woman or “Venus” of Willendorf c. 28,000 – 21,000 BCE, limestone Here is one major work of Prehistoric sculpture. •Reproductive organs emphasized: huge breasts, belly, buttocks, navel •Hair in clumps arranged in rows, or maybe it’s a woven hat? •Deemphasized arms, face, legs, no feet •She was never meant to stand up •Face may have been painted •Traces of paint on the body •Fertility symbol? •Small, just under four and a half inches •Venus is a name given to the object after its discovery as a way of comparing it to the ancient goddess of beauty. •Its true purpose is unknown
  9. 9. 8stylized representations of human and animal figures 8limestone, clay, ivory, bone, and antlers 8symbolism (man’s important new cognitive development) Lion-Human 30,000-26,000 BCE from Hohlenstein-Stadel, Germany Some sculptures included… Lion-Human •made of mammoth ivory •shows complex thinking and creativity! •probably male, but with a feline head •nearly a foot tall (that’s big!) •didn’t copy nature exactly, used imagination •a breakthrough- ability to conceive and represent a creature never seen in nature!
  10. 10. Venus of Lespugue 23,000 BCE contours of stone used as a starting point for carvings on cave walls
  11. 11. 20,000 BCE 3 Wild Cattle, Fourneua de Diable, France
  12. 12. Prehistoric Cave Painting: 4Prime examples include Lascaux, France and Altamira, Spain 4Most are deeply recessed from the cave openings 4Images of animals dominate with black outlines emphasizing their contours 4Main animals include horse, bison, mammoth, ibex, aurochs, and deer 4Animals are realistic, humans are stick figures with little detail 4Many handprints (negative- done by blowing paint over hand) 4Often left hands, some missing joints or fingers (voluntary mutilation?) 4Scattered around the cave surface with no relationship to one another 4Abstract signs and symbols included with images 4No vegetation or ground/horizon line 4Individual images often painted over one another suggest process, or the act of creation may have been more important than the product
  13. 13. SPOTTED HORSES AND HUMAN HANDS Pech-Merle Cave. Dordogne, France. Horses 25,000-24,000 BCE; hands c. 15,000 BCE. Paint on limestone, individual horses over 5’ 01-01] Are spots based on hallucinations?
  14. 14. Don’t try this at home
  15. 15. Cave paintings were very far from the entrances. Why? Cave of Altamira, 13,000 BCE Spain
  16. 16. Why is the man stick-like and the bison is rendered with such accurate detail? Does this record an actual event?
  17. 17. Lascaux 17,000 - 15,000 B.C.
  18. 18. Cave painting theories: -a way to strengthen clan bonds -a ceremony to enhance animal fertility -expressions of sympathetic magic (the painting might come true!) -religious or magical function -visual record of hallucinations -visual record of real life happenings -just people enjoying the creative process ???????
  19. 19. HALL OF BULLS Lascaux Cave. Dordogne, France. c. 15,000 BCE. Paint on limestone, length of largest auroch (bull) 18’
  20. 20. BIRD-HEADED MAN WITH BISON Shaft scene in Lascaux Cave. c. 15,000 BCE. Paint on limestone, length approx. 9’ LASCAUX CAVES 15,000-13,000 BCE Dordogne, France •Natural products used to make paint: charcoal, iron ore, plants •650 paintings: most common are cows, bulls, horses, and deer •Animals placed deep inside the cave, some hundreds of feet in •Bodies seen in profile, frontal or diagonal view of horns, eyes, and hooves; some animals appear pregnant
  21. 21. •Many overlapping figures •Evidence still visible of scaffolding erected to get to higher areas of the caves •Negative handprints: are these signatures? •Caves were not dwellings because prehistoric people led migratory lives following herds of animals; some evidence exists that people sought shelter at the mouths of caves •Walls were scraped to an even surface; paint colors were bound with animal fat; lamps light interior of caves
  22. 22. Smolinski discovers cave paintings in a Tanzania hotel!
  23. 23. Neolithic Art (New Stone Age) 8,000 - 3,000 B.C. 3 conditions: -organized agriculture -maintenance of herds of domesticated animals -permanent, year-round settlements Rock Shelter Art: -combined geometric forms and simplified depictions of people and animals engaged in everyday activities -abstract style, simple line drawing, and little color -animals in a “flying gallop” (still used today to show movement) People and Animals Rock-shelter painting in Cogul, Spain 4000-2000 BCE
  24. 24. •Structures 8beginnings of architecture 8built homes, storage spaces, and shelters for animals out of wood, stone, animal bones, and plant materials. 8examples include Jericho, Catal Huyuk, and Stonehenge •Pottery and Smelting 4often richly decorated 4objects made of non-indigenous materials suggest commerce •Evidence of new priestly class 4structures that suggest sanctuaries and organized religion 4new demands and reasons for art creation
  26. 26. How the heck do they know when this stuff is from??? -RELATIVE DATING: compare objects in a single excavation or nearby sites -ABSOLUTE DATING: aims to determine a precise span of calendar years in which an artifact was created -RADIOMETRIC DATING: measures how materials disintegrated over time (carbon dating) -POTASSIUM-ARGON DATING, THERMO-LUMINESCENCE DATING, ELECTRON SPIN RESONANCE: other fancy ways These technologies help experts be more precise.
  27. 27. Prehistoric Architecture: Most famous structures were for worship, not housing. MENHIRS (long individual stones) used to create a complex are called MEGALITHS A circle of MEGALITHS, usually with LINTELS on top, is called a CROMLECH Align with important calendar dates Two uprights with horizontal beam = POST-AND-LINTEL (most fundamental type of architecture in history)
  28. 28. Jericho, c.7500 B.C. The earliest stone fortifications discovered to date! It was a town of mud- brick houses that covered 6-10 acres and had 2,000 people. They built a huge brick wall five feet thick and 20 feet high (for protection? Who knows!)
  29. 29. Catal Huyuk (7500 - 5700 B.C.) Konya, Turkey -the best preserved Neolithic site found to date. -all domestic buildings -housed 10,000 people -mud-brick houses crammed together without footpaths or streets -accessed by holes in the ceilings, ladders, and stairs. The rooftops were the “streets”. Fun! -plenty of artifacts found here (plastered skulls, clay figures, murals, wall carvings)
  30. 30. Stonehenge, England c. 2100 BCE (sandstone) -Whoever stood at the exact center on the morning of the summer solstice 3,260 years ago would have seen the sun rise directly over the heel stone. -There are five “trilithons”- pairs of upright stones topped by lintels. -What is it? Some sort of observatory? A place for public ceremonies? Who knows? heel stone lintel
  31. 31. • Maybe took 1000 years to build • Post-and-lintel • Lintels grooved in place by the mortise-and-tenon system of building • Large megaliths in center are over 20 feet tall and form a horseshoe • Surrounding a central flat stone • Ring of megaliths surrounds horseshoe • Some stones over 50 tons! • “HENGE” = a Neolithic monument, circular plan, rituals, astronomy • Stones imported from more than 200 miles away • May predict eclipses • Oriented toward sunrise on longest day of the year
  32. 32. Ritual Dance. Rock Engraving. c. 10,000 B.C. Caves of Addaura. Sicily. Henri Matisse. The Dance. 1910. Oil on canvas. The Hermitage, St. Petersburg, Russia Inspiration!