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Chapter Six. Art of Earliest Times. Much of our knowledge about the lives of early human beings comes from their art. Figure 6.2 Bison. Cave Painting. Altamira Caves (Santillana, Spain). c. 15,000 B.C.

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Chapter six

Chapter Six

Art of Earliest Times


Much of our knowledge about the lives of early human beings comes from their art

Figure 6.2

Bison. Cave Painting. Altamira Caves (Santillana, Spain). c. 15,000 B.C.


Before people could write they were painting and scratching pictures on the walls of shelters

Figure 6.3

Chinese Horse. Cave Painting. Lascaux Caves (Dordogne, France). c. 15,000 B.C.


Consider the following
Consider the following: pictures on the walls of shelters

Certainly it would be reasonable to expect that the artworks produced by prehistoric people are primitive and crude, but are they?


Determining the age
Determining the Age pictures on the walls of shelters

  • The earliest known works of art were made during an age that began 30,000 years ago

  • The age of artwork can be determined by:

    • Dating the surrounding rock

    • Radio carbon dating of organisms


Radio carbon dating
Radio Carbon Dating pictures on the walls of shelters

  • All living organisms maintain a set amount of radioactive carbon 14


Radio carbon dating1
Radio Carbon Dating pictures on the walls of shelters

  • After the organism’s death the carbon 14 loses its radioactivity by a set amount

    • By measuring the amount left in charcoal or carbonized bone it is possible to determine the age


Paleolithic period
Paleolithic pictures on the walls of shelters Period

  • Called the Old Stone Age

    • Period that lasted from 30,000 B.C. to 10,000 B.C

  • Earliest known works

    • Vivid, lifelike pictures of animals


Lascaux
Lascaux pictures on the walls of shelters

  • Caves in Southern France

    • Well preserved and skillfully created

      • Caused great controversy among scholars upon discovery


Media
Media pictures on the walls of shelters

  • Pigment created from:

    • Lumps of clay

    • Soft stone ground into a fine powder

    • Animal blood

    • Animal fat

  • Vivid in color


Tools
Tools pictures on the walls of shelters

  • Pigment applied to walls using:

    • Fingers

    • Reeds

    • Bristle brushes


Ritual
Ritual pictures on the walls of shelters

  • Ritual would bolster confidence and courage among the hunters


Survival and discovery
Survival and Discovery pictures on the walls of shelters

  • Utensils, bones, and charcoal found at cave entrances suggests occupants took advantage of the daylight and ventilation

  • Ritual was performed in the more interior part of the cave (further from the entrance) as protection from the elements


Survival and discovery1
Survival and Discovery pictures on the walls of shelters

  • Prehistoric paintings at the caves of Lascaux and Altamira were accidental

    • Lascaux, France:

      1941

    • Altamira, Spain:

      1879


Skills of the prehistoric artists
Skills of the Prehistoric Artists pictures on the walls of shelters

  • Paintings were done in groups

    • Overlapping images to conserve space

  • Paintings averaged between 5 feet and 6.5 feet in length (large scale)


Skills of the prehistoric artists1
Skills of the Prehistoric Artists pictures on the walls of shelters

  • Despite crude tools, prehistoric artists demonstrated a knowledge and affection for the animals they hunted


Prehistoric builders
Prehistoric Builders pictures on the walls of shelters

  • Move from cave dwelling to building shelters

    • Small communities

    • Introduction of farming/ herding civillizations


Standing stone
Standing Stone pictures on the walls of shelters

  • Megalith structure:

    • Large monuments created from stone slabs

    • Found throughout Europe, India, and Asia

  • Remnants of primitive architecture


Stonehenge
Stonehenge pictures on the walls of shelters

  • 2000 B.C. (present day England)

    • One large ring of stones with three progressively smaller rings within

  • Outer ring:

    • 30 original stones (nearly half still standing)

    • Nearly 100 feet in diameter

    • Tallest stone is 17 feet high


Stonehenge1
Stonehenge pictures on the walls of shelters

  • Post and Lintel Construction:

    • Massive posts support crossbeams or lintels

Lintel


The fertile crescent
The Fertile Crescent pictures on the walls of shelters

  • An area of rich soil and access to water:

    • Tigris and Euphrates Rivers

    • Mediterranean Sea

    • Persian Gulf

  • Mesopotamia


Major civilizations of mesopotamia
Major Civilizations of Mesopotamia pictures on the walls of shelters

  • Sumerian

  • Babylonian

  • Assyrian

  • Persian


Sumerian civilization
Sumerian Civilization pictures on the walls of shelters

  • 4500 B.C. people settled in Mesopotamia

    • The region they settled was called Sumer

  • Ziggurats:

    • A shrine; stepped mountain made of brick covered earth

      • Stood at the center of the city-state


Sumerian innovations
Sumerian Innovations pictures on the walls of shelters

  • Developed a form of writing called cuneiform

  • Cuneiform:

    • Writing with wedge-shaped characters


Babylonian civilization
Babylonian Civilization pictures on the walls of shelters

  • King Hammurabi:

    • Published a code of laws to unify the legal practice of his empire

      • Laws published on a public stele (inscribed stone pillar)


Assyrian civilization
Assyrian Civilization pictures on the walls of shelters

  • Crafted impressive visual records in the form of stone relief sculptures

    • Decorated the walls of the royal palaces

    • Commemorated the power of the king


Persian empire
Persian Empire pictures on the walls of shelters

  • Persian architecture found its highest accomplishment in palaces

    • For example Persepolis


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