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Prehistoric Art. 40,000 BCE-1000 BCE. Stonehenge.

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prehistoric art

Prehistoric Art

40,000 BCE-1000 BCE


Post and Lintel: This architectural system and building method has been commonly used for centuries to support the weight of the structure located above the openings created by windows and doors. The beam must past over the tops of the supporters.

  • A henge is a circle of stones or posts, often surrounded by a ditch with built-up embankments.


Salisbury Plain, Wiltshire England. C. 2750-1500 BCE.

lion human
  • Lion-Human is an example of sculpture in the round.
  • Lion-Human is significant because it is an example of creativity.


Hohlenstein-Stadel, Germany. C. 30,000-26,000 BCE. Mammoth ivory, height 11 1/4”

woman venus of willendorf
Woman “Venus” of Willendorf
  • This sculptures is an example of a sculpture in the round.
  • Art historians do not know exactly why this sculpture was created, but they believe it may be a fertility votive.
  • A Fertility Votive is a religlious statue that was created to increase the possibility of women getting pregnant and having healthy babies.
  • Why do you think art historians believe this may be a Fertility votive?

Woman from Willendorf

Austria. C. 24,000 BCE. Limestone, height 4 1/2”

what or who is venus
What or who is Venus?
  • Venus is the Roman Goddess of Beauty and Fertility. Archelogists began to refer to all Prehistoric Sculptures of women as Venus. For example the Woman of Willendorf used to be known as the Venus of Willendorf.
woman from ostrava petrokovice
Woman from Ostrava Petrokovice
  • Used to be known as Venus from Ostrava Petrokovice
  • This sculpture is thought to be a representation of a young athletic woman.
  • Suggests an animated pose, with one hip slightly raised and a knee bent as if she were walking

Woman from Ostrava Petrokovice

Czech Republic. C. 23,000 BCE. Hematite, height 1 1/4.

  • How are these sculptures similar representations of women?
  • How are they different?


  • This sculpture is of two bison leaning against a ridge of a rock.
  • This sculpture is modeled in high relief.
  • To make the animals even more lifelike, their creator engraved short parallel lines below their necks to represent their shaggy coats.


Le Tuc d’Audonbert, France. C. 13,000 BCE. Unbaked clay, length 25”

cave paintings
Cave Paintings
  • Artists used various techniques to “paint” on the cave walls.
  • They often would chew a piece of charcoal to dilute the pigment with saliva and water and then blowing the mixture on the surface of a wall.
  • They would also draw with fingers or blocks of ocher and daubing with a paintbrush made of hair or moss.
  • In some prehistoric caves three stages of image creation can been seen-- engraved lines using flakes of flint, followed by a color wash of ocher and manganese, and a final engraving to emphasize shapes and details.
lascaux cave cave paintings
Lascaux Cave Cave Paintings
  • The Lascaux Cave is made up of 600 paintings and 1,500 engravings.
  • The Cave Paintings of Lascaux include images of cows, bulls, horses, and deer.

Hall of Bulls

  • The animals appear in rows, face to face, tail to tail and even painted on top of each other.
  • Horns, Eyes, and hooves are shown as seen from the front, yet heads and bodies are drawn in profile in a system known as twisted perspective.

Hall of Bulls

Lascaux Cave, Dorodogne, France. C. 15,000 BCE. Paint on limestone.


Create your own Cave Painting

  • Things you will need:
  • Manilla Paper
  • Paper Towel
  • Stick of Vine Charcoal
  • ChalkPastels (colors of your choice)
  • Using charcoal and oil pastels, create your own cave painting.
  • Must include atleast 3 animals.
  • Must fill up entire page.

Chalk pastels will stain clothes do not wipe your hands on your clothes or anyone else’s clothes.

  • Chalk Pastelsare extremely messy and create dust. DO NOT BLOW OR BRUSH DUST ONTO THE FLOOR! Gently brush dust onto a paper towel and throw away.
  • DO NOT use water until you have brushed all loose dust on a paper towel.