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Stone Age Art
Transcript of Stone Age Art
Stone Age Art Holds Hints of Language
Ancient cave art can give modern observers a unique glimpse into the minds of people who lived long ago.
Stone Age art in European caves is best known for its beautiful paintings of animals like: deer, horses, and mammoths.
The Art of the Stone Age: Paleolithic
The very earliest human artifacts showing evidence of workmanship with an artistic purpose and it is clear that such workmanship existed by 40,000 years ago.
The earliest settlements occurred in Africa, where rock paintings and engravings represented the oldest form of art found in this continent. Depictions of highly stylized human figures and richly colored animals were used for magical purposes in order to ensure a successful hunt.
The Art of the Stone Age: Paleolithic and Mesolithic
From the Paleolithic through the Mesolithic, cave paintings and portable art such as figurines, statuettes, and beads predominated, with decorative figured workings also seen on some utilitarian objects.
Venus figurines—‘an umbrella term for a number of prehistoric female statuettes portrayed with similar physical attributes’—were very popular at the time. These figurines were carved from soft stone (such as steatite, calcite, or limestone), bone or ivory, or formed of clay and fired.
Also in this period, personal accessories and adornments were made from shell and bone. All the examples mentioned above fall under the category of portable art: small for easy transport.
The Art of the Stone Age: Neolithic
The End of the Stone Age
The advent of metalworking in the Bronze Age brought additional media available for use in making art, an increase in stylistic diversity, and the creation of objects that did not have any obvious function other than art. It also saw the development in some areas of artisans, a class of people specializing in the production of art, as well as in early writing systems.
The Neolithic saw the transformation of nomad human settlements into agrarian societies in need of permanent shelter. From this period there is evidence of early pottery, as well as sculpture, architecture, and the construction of megaliths. Early rock art also first appeared in the Neolithic.
The Art of the Stone Age (Upper Paleolithic) includes carvings on antler and bone, especially of animals, as well as the so-called Venus figurines and cave paintings.
The oldest undisputed works of art were found in the Schwäbische Alb, Baden-Württemberg, Germany. The earliest of these, the Venus figurine known as the Venus of Hohle Fels, dates to some 40,000 years ago.