Pr ehi st or i c Ar t
35,000 B.C.E. to 1,500 B.C.E.
Prehistory- before writing.
Who were the artists?
• Cro-Magnon peoples from 30,000 BCE are
currently known as the world’s first artists.
• They lived in caves when it was cold.
• Hunted animals for food, clothing, tools, and
The First Discovery…
• In the autumn of 1879, Spanish nobleman and
amateur archeologist Marcelino Sanz de
Sautuloa and his young daughter, Maria, set
out to explore a cave in the hillside of
Altamira, not far from the family estate in
northern Spain. As a gentleman scholar, De
Sautuola took a serious interest in finding out
more about the prehistoric past.
Little Maria was small enough to see into the narrow
opening of the cave in their backyard.
What she saw changed history…
• Maria had just become the first modern
human to set eyes on the first gallery of
prehistoric paintings ever to be discovered.
• Cave Paintings are found all over the world.
Western Europe, primarily Southern France
and Northern Spain, are rich with caves
containing Stone Age wall paintings.
• Rock paintings have been found to include line
drawings in charcoal and red ochre, painted
images, and negative images, which are
formed by painting the rock area around an
object, such as a hand.
How were they made?
• These Paleolithic artists made paint out of
natural substances such as red and yellow
earth, different colored minerals, and black
charcoal. They would grind these into a
powder and mix with water (scientists have
found cave water works really well for this).
Subjects of Paintings
Aurochs- an ancient bull Horses Fish(rare)
Rhinoceroses and bison
marks that represent a calendar
Why were they made?
• We don't know why the painters made cave paintings. The theories
-Part of their spiritual beliefs
-Ceremonial - coming of age
-As an aid to memory and pass on
Researchers think that
this horse was part of a
magic hunting ritual.
They believe that the
artists threw spears at
the horse because there
are marks on the walls
of the cave.
• To explore online go to:
• An amazing interactive site!!!
Las Cuevas de Las Piletas 28,000-8,000 BC
Located in Southern Spain
I went there!!
These bison were carved out of rock.
Each one is about two feet long.
This bison was carved out
Of a reindeer horn. It’s
About four inches long.
Much more difficult than painting!
A prehistoric rock monument.
Made of monoliths- large rocks.
Very mysterious-align with the sun-
cast shadows during solstices and may
have been a type of calendar.
Created over time
Around 2000 BCE.
There are other
Stones circles but
This is the most famous.