An archaeological exploration of the mysterious world of cave art through the ages Deep underground, some of humanity’s earliest artistic endeavors have lain untouched for millennia. The dark interiors of caves, wherever they may be found, seem to have had a powerful draw for ancient peoples, who littered the cave floors with objects they had made. Later, they adorned cave walls with sacred symbols and secret knowledge, from the very first abstract symbols and handprints to complex and vivid arrangements of animals and people. Often undisturbed for many tens of thousands of years, these were among the first visual symbols that humans shared with each other, though they were made so long ago that we have entirely forgotten their meaning. However, as archaeologist Bruno David reveals, caves decorated more recently may help us to unlock their secrets. David tells the story of this mysterious world of decorated caves, from the oldest known painting tools to the magnificent murals of the European Ice Age. Showcasing the most astounding discoveries made in more than 150 years of archaeological exploration, Cave Art explores the creative achievements of our remotest ancestors and what they tell us about the human past.
An extensive, accessible guide to the most groundbreaking and influential art from 1989 to the present The years since the collapse of the Berlin Wall in November 1989 have seen the rise of a new freedom to define art—Who makes it? Where can it be found? What is its commercial value?—and, consequently, the reevaluation of art’s place in society. Kelly Grovier surveys the dynamic developments in art practice worldwide since 1989, focusing on artists whose fresh visual vocabulary and innovation reflect these past turbulent decades. The book’s ten chapters examine the key themes in contemporary art—portraiture in the age of face transplants and facial recognition software, political activism, science, and religion, to name a few—by artists including Jeff Koons, Louise Bourgeois, Damien Hirst, George Condo, Marlene Dumas, Sean Scully, Cindy Sherman, Banksy, Ai Weiwei, Antony Gormley, Christo and Jean-Claude, Jenny Holzer, Chuck Close, and Cornelia Parker. A chapter-length timeline at the end of the book traces the evolution of art from 1989 to today by closely examining one key artwork from each year. Illustrated with the work of over 200 key artists, Art Since 1989 is a lucid and engaging look at what may prove to be one of the more tempestuous eras in human history, if not the history of art.
Two of the greatest living authorities on Ice Age art delve hundreds of thousands of years into the human past to discover the earliest works of art ever made, drawing on decades of new research Where is the world’s very first art located? When, and why, did people begin experimenting with different materials, forms, and colors? Prehistorians have long been asking these questions, but only recently have they been able to piece together the first chapter in the story of art. Overturning the traditional Eurocentric vision of our artistic origins, Paul Bahn and Michel Lorblanchet seek out the earliest art across the whole world. There are clues that even three million years ago distant human ancestors were drawn to natural curiosities that appeared representational, such as the face-like “Makapansgat cobble" from South Africa, not carved but naturally weathered to resemble a human face. In the last hundred thousand years people all over the world began to create art: the oldest known paint palettes in South Africa’s Blombos Cave, the famous Venus figures across Europe all the way to Siberia, and magnificent murals on cave walls in every continent except Antarctica. This book is the first to assess the discovery, history, and significance of these varied forms of art: the artistic impulse developed in the human mind wherever it traveled.
The discovery of pre-historic decorated caves in western Europe transformed the way we think about the development of art. The earliest known evidence of human artistic endeavor, the awe-inspiring paintings, dramatic engravings and small, delicate sculptures of animals and humans found in these caves still hold a unique power and fascination, more than a century after they were first discovered. In this book, internationally renowned expert on prehistoric art Jean Clottes explores the origins of art and creativity. He takes the reader on a guided tour of 85 caves and rock shelters, many of which are not open to the public, revealing the extraordinary beauty of the works of art within them. Cave Art features more than 300 works from the Paleolithic period, made between 35,000 and 11,000 years ago, presented in geographical and chronological order.This comprehensive, accessible introduction to prehistoric art includes such spectacular works as the famous horses of Lascaux, the buffalo in the Altamira cave in Spain and the ivory carving of a woman's face found at Brassempouy in the south of France, as well as examples from less well-known sites. A wonderful range of animals is presented, from cave bears to reindeer, as well as mysterious abstract signs and schematic representations of human beings. Examples of portable art and sculpture are also included. While most of the caves described in the book are European, Cave Art also includes examples of open-air rock art made after the last ice age at sites around the world. With an unparalleled selection of images, Cave Art offers a unique guided tour of the earliest expressions of human creativity. Each work in Cave Art is illustrated by a color photograph, and accompanied by a clear, vivid explanatory text. A concise introduction tells the story of the discovery of the caves, and gives a clear outline of current knowledge, research and debate on the subject of prehistoric art. The book also includes a chronology, maps of the main caves and sites, a glossary and a list of sites that can be visited.
Surveys prehistoric art throughout the world, including body art, art on rocks and walls, and objects; changes in scholarship; and what the art can reveal about early sexual, social, economic, and religious life
The magnificent prehistoric art discovered in caves throughout France and Spain raises many questions about early human culture. What do these superbly rendered paintings of horses, bison, and enigmatic human figures and symbols mean? How can we explain the sudden flourishing of artistic creativity at such a high level? And in what ways does this artwork reflect the underlying belief system, worldview, and life of the people who created it? In this fascinating discussion of ancient art and religion, Dr David S Whitley -- one of the world's leading experts on cave paintings--guides the reader in an exploration of these intriguing questions, while sharing his firsthand experiences in visiting these exquisite, breath-taking sites. To grasp what drove these ancient artists to create these masterpieces, and to understand the origin of myth and religion, as Whitley explains, is to appreciate what makes us human. Moreover, he broadens our understanding of the genesis of creativity and myth by proposing a radically new and original theory that weds two seemingly warring camps from separate disciplines. On the one hand, archaeologists specialising in prehistoric cave paintings have argued that the visionary rituals of shamans led to the creation of this expressive art. They consider shamanism to be the earliest known form of religion. By contrast, evolutionary psychologists view the emergence of religious beliefs as a normal expression of the human mind. In their eyes, the wild and ecstatic trances of shamans were a form of aberrant behaviour. Far from being typical representatives of ancient religion, shamans were exceptions to the normal rule of early religion. Whitley resolves the controversy by interweaving the archaeological evidence with the latest findings of cutting-edge neuroscience. He thereby rewrites our understanding of shamanism and its connection with artistic creativity, myth, and religion. Combining a colourful narrative describing Whitley's personal explorations at key archaeological sites with robust scientific research, Cave Paintings and the Human Spirit makes for engrossing reading. It provides a profound and poignant perspective on what it means to be human.
The decorated Ice Age caves are some of mankind's greatest artistic achievements, and there is no substitute for seeing the caves themselves. There you can see the art – paintings, engravings, bas-reliefs or drawings – in its original, natural setting, and stand where the artists did 30,000–10,000 years ago. For speleologists and holidaymakers alike – indeed anyone who wants to add a visit to a cave to their itinerary – here is an essential handbook. The first guide to all the decorated Ice Age caves in Europe that are open to the public, Cave Art covers more than 50 caves in England, France, Spain, Portugal and Italy, as well as relevant museums and centres. This second edition has been fully revised and includes one additional cave and three new facsimiles.
The breathtakingly beautiful art created deep inside the caves of western Europe has the power to dazzle even the most jaded observers. Emerging from the narrow underground passages into the chambers of caves such as Lascaux, Chauvet, and Altamira, visitors are confronted with symbols, patterns, and depictions of bison, woolly mammoths, ibexes, and other animals. Since its discovery, cave art has provoked great curiosity about why it appeared when and where it did, how it was made, and what it meant to the communities that created it. David Lewis-Williams proposes that the explanation for this lies in the evolution of the human mind. Cro-Magnons, unlike the Neanderthals, possessed a more advanced neurological makeup that enabled them to experience shamanistic trances and vivid mental imagery. It became important for people to "fix," or paint, these images on cave walls, which they perceived as the membrane between their world and the spirit world from which the visions came. Over time, new social distinctions developed as individuals exploited their hallucinations for personal advancement, and the first truly modern society emerged. Illuminating glimpses into the ancient mind are skillfully interwoven here with the still-evolving story of modern-day cave discoveries and research. The Mind in the Cave is a superb piece of detective work, casting light on the darkest mysteries of our earliest ancestors while strengthening our wonder at their aesthetic achievements.
Divides the ancient world into three broad climatic categories to offer insight into the way artists addressed key environmental challenges, in a lavishly illustrated and captioned reference that includes coverage of each global region and religion.
Examines prehistoric objects and images from an anthropological, rather than artistic, perspective.
Illustrated survey of ancient Roman art and architecture.
An intriguing study of the early evolution of human artistic endeavors focuses on recent discoveries in the Chauvet cave, Stone Age paintings and engravings of animals that are more than thirty thousand years old. BOMC Div. Natural Science Main.
A thoughtful introduction to art and its interpretation for children, with a sense of humor
Some of the oldest art in the world is the subject of this riveting and beautiful book. Paul Bahn and Jean Vertut explore carved objects and wall art discoveries from the Ice Age, covering the period from 300,000 B.P. to 10,000 B.P., and their collaboration marks a signal event for archaeologists and lay readers alike. Utilizing the most modern analytical techniques in archaeology, Bahn presents new accounts of Russian caves only recently opened to foreign specialists; the latest discoveries from China and Brazil; European cave finds at Cosquer, Chauvet, and Covaciella; and the recently discovered sites in Australia. He also studies sites in Africa, India, and the Far East. Included are the only photographic images of many caves that are now closed to protect their fragile environments. A separate chapter in the book examines art fakes and forgeries and relates how such deceptions have been exposed. The beliefs and preoccupations of Paleolithic peoples resonate throughout this book: the importance of the hunt and the magic and shamanism surrounding it, the recording of the seasons, the rituals of sex and fertility, the cosmology and associated myths. Yet enigmas and mysteries emerge as well, particularly as new analytical techniques raise new questions and cast doubt on our earlier suppositions. A comprehensive, up-to-date analysis of all that has been discovered about Ice Age art, Bahn and Vertut's book offers a visually rich link with the past.
The cave art of France’s Dordogne region is world-famous for the mythology and beauty of its remarkable drawings and paintings. These ancient images of lively bison, horses, and mammoths, as well as symbols of all kinds, are fascinating touchstones in the development of human culture, demonstrating how far humankind has come and reminding us of the ties that bind us across the ages. Over more than twenty-five years of teaching and research, Christine Desdemaines-Hugon has become an unrivaled expert in the cave art and artists of the Dordogne region. In her new book she combines her expertise in both art and archaeology to convey an intimate understanding of the “cave experience.” Her keen insights communicate not only the incomparable artistic value of these works but also the near-spiritual impact of viewing them for oneself. Focusing on five fascinating sites, including the famed Font de Gaume and others that still remain open to the public, Stepping-Stones reveals striking similarities between art forms of the Paleolithic and works of modern artists and gives us a unique pathway toward understanding the culture of the Dordogne Paleolithic peoples and how it still touches our lives today.
Was it a trick of the light that drew our Stone Age ancestors into caves to paint in charcoal and red hematite, to watch the heads of lions, likenesses of bison, horses, and aurochs in the reliefs of the walls, as they flickered by firelight? Or was it something deeper—a creative impulse, a spiritual dawn, a shamanistic conception of the world efflorescing in the dark, dank spaces beneath the surface of the earth where the spirits were literally at hand? In this book, Jean Clottes, one of the most renowned figures in the study of cave paintings, pursues an answer to this “why” of Paleolithic art. While other books focus on particular sites and surveys, Clottes’s work is a contemplative journey across the world, a personal reflection on how we have viewed these paintings in the past, what we learn from looking at them across geographies, and what these paintings may have meant—what function they may have served—for their artists. Steeped in Clottes’s shamanistic theories of cave painting, What Is Paleolithic Art? travels from well-known Ice Age sites like Chauvet, Altamira, and Lascaux to visits with contemporary aboriginal artists, evoking a continuum between the cave paintings of our prehistoric past and the living rock art of today. Clottes’s work lifts us from the darkness of our Paleolithic origins to reveal, by firelight, how we think, why we create, why we believe, and who we are.
Discusses prehistoric civilization as represented by art and artifacts of the period, including weapons and tools, architecture, cave paintings, engravings, and statues
What exactly is Neo-Expressionism? The part of a city known as the acropolis? Or the painting technique called gouache? In this authoritative and concise dictionary, more than 2000 entries and 375 illustrations embrace the vast vocabulary of painting and sculpture, architecture and photography, the decorative, applied and graphic arts. The geographical spread is global; the chronological range takes in both Helladic art from Bronze Age Greece and holography, one of the newest means of expression provided by modern technology. 375 illus.
The First Signs is the first-ever exploration of the little-known geometric images that accompany most cave art around the world--the first indications of symbolic meaning, intelligence, and language. Join renowned archaeologist Genevieve von Petzinger on an Indiana Jones-worthy adventure from the open-air rock art sites of northern Portugal to the dark depths of a remote cave in Spain that can only be reached by sliding face-first through the mud. Von Petzinger looks past the beautiful horses, powerful bison, graceful ibex, and faceless humans in the ancient paintings. Instead, she's obsessed with the abstract geometric images that accompany them, the terse symbols that appear more often than any other kinds of figures--signs that have never really been studied or explained until now. Part travel journal, part popular science, part personal narrative, von Petzinger's groundbreaking book starts to crack the code on the first form of graphic communication. It's in her blood, as this talented scientist's grandmother served as a code-breaker at Bletchley. Discernible patterns emerge that point to abstract thought and expression, and for the first time, we can begin to understand the changes that might have been happening inside the minds of our Ice Age ancestors--offering a glimpse of when they became us.
For the people of Byzantium, their architectural works, frescoes, mosaics, ivories, chalices, bejeweled gospel covers and many other opulent works of art were the material proof of their greatness and power over the Mediterranean states. The vast range of these riches is illustrated in this complete account of Byzantine art from the reign of Justinian to the fall of Constantinople. David Talbot Rice, one of the greatest authorities on Byzantine art, traveled as far afield as the rock churches of Cappadocia and Cilicia, the tufa monuments of Armenia and Georgia, and the thirteenth-century ceramic factories of Bulgaria, now buried in the alluvial mud of the Danube. His book is a masterly survey of an art of magnificence and power that belonged to a great and sophisticated society.