Prehistoric Art The oldest surviving art dates back between 30,000 and 33,000 years. To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always a child. For what is worth of human life, unless it is woven into the life of our ancestors by the records of history?" Cicero
The first paintings go back about 15,000 years; many are portrayed pierced with arrows, and gouges in the rock indicate that cave dwellers may have flung spears at the painted game as part of a hunting or initiation ritual.
Placement of the cave paintings seems to demand a magical, ritual interpretation. <ul><li>Provide sanctuaries for initiations and ceremonies based on symbolic and metaphysical association with the animals portrayed </li></ul><ul><li>Create images for hunting ceremonies; Bring the spirits of the animals into hunt rituals </li></ul>
Cave paintings (esp. Lascaux, France) <ul><li>Largest bull at Lascaux is 18’ long </li></ul><ul><li>No compositional adjustment to suggest perspective or other naturalistic devices suggests a conceptual orientation </li></ul>
Cave Painting in MEXICO Baja California, Mexico
<ul><li>Great serpent mound c 1070 BCE, Adams Co, Ohio, USA </li></ul>
<ul><li>In the lands near the Ohio, Illinois, Mississippi, and Missouri Rivers, inhabitants began building monumental earthworks and burying their leaders with valuable grave goods sometime before 1000 BCE. The Great Serpent mound, nearly ¼ mile long, has given rise to many interpretations. </li></ul>
<ul><li>Because earthly life was short, hard, often brutal, much of a culture’s artistic energy went into spiritual channels. </li></ul><ul><li>Very few earthly dwellings survive, being made of ephemeral materials; tombs and burial mounds, by contrast, were monumental and made for eternity. </li></ul>
Stonehenge was believed in the middle ages to be either the creation of an ancient race of giants or conjured by Merlin the magician. The heel-stone marks where the sun rises at the summer solstice. This kind of circular arrangement of stones is called a cromlech .
Newgrange, in Ireland, is believed to be the oldest extant building, dated to about 3200 BCE. At sunrise on the winter solstice the sun’s rays penetrate the deepest recesses of the structure.
<ul><li>House interior, Orkney Islands c 3100-2600 BCE </li></ul>
All concentrated mostly in Europe Remains of prehistoric traces
How did prehistoric people move huge stones? <ul><li>Easter Island, Chile gives the most detailed knowledge. </li></ul><ul><li>Using crude stone picks, they quarried the stone. </li></ul><ul><li>Next, they carved it. </li></ul><ul><li>Using wooden sledges they pulled it to its site (a 25 ton rock or statue could take 180-200 people to move) </li></ul><ul><li>Finally, using 2 poles or levers, the rock would be raised a few inches off the ground. Rocks would be inserted under the raised side. The process would be repeated until the stone or statue was upright. </li></ul>
Questions <ul><li>What piece or pieces of art were the most interesting for you? </li></ul><ul><li>Why is fertilty so important to be expressed in their art? </li></ul><ul><li>In the cave painting what were they trying to communicate? </li></ul><ul><li>Do you think they believed in something supernatural? </li></ul><ul><li>CLIC TO LEAVE THE PRESENTATION READY FOR THE NEXT COUPLE </li></ul>