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Pre-Historic Paleolithic Mesolithic Neolithic Artist as Magician Paleolithic- Old Stone Age Mesolithic-Middle Stone Age Earliest form of craft seen Connecting form and function Shaped rock to meet needs as tools Earliest form of ART- 35,000 years ago During the time of the last Ice Age

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Artist as Magician


Paleolithic- Old Stone Age

  • Mesolithic-Middle Stone Age
  • Earliest form of craft seen
  • Connecting form and function
  • Shaped rock to meet needs as tools
  • Earliest form of ART- 35,000 years ago
  • During the time of the last Ice Age
  • Objects found mostly in Africa, Spain and southern France
  • People were nomadic and lived in caves or over hanging rocks
  • Artwork was completed for ritualistic purposes
  • Artists because they first asked the questions:
    • What shall be my subject?
    • How shall I represent it?


-Images are incised or painted onto rock-often use natural projections of the rock to fit the drawing

-bison is lifelike due to shading and roundness

-animals only- no landscape backgrounds

-painted from ocre and ash from the surroundings- used as much as 3 colors

Altamira, Wounded Bison

  • All pre-historic art is presented in strict profile- why?

Lascaux, France

  • Pictures are drawn far inside the caves, away from entrances, sites used for centuries
  • Pictures are superimposed- no separation between image and reality
  • Once the animal has been killed, the spirit has been killed and a new animal is drawn on top
  • Purpose of the drawings were to lure animals for the hunt-they were scarce

-wanted fertility both for animals and for themselves (this MAY be an example)

  • -small figures carved from naturally shaped rocks
  • -central point in the design, the navel is a natural crevice in the rock
  • Only 4 inches tall
  • Name is misleading

Venus of Willendorf, Austria


Neolithic- New Stone Age

  • 8000 BC- Near East
  • Ice age receded around 9000BC
  • Began with the onset of farming- domestication of animals and food grains
  • Still used stone tools
  • Created permanent settlements- new crafts- pottery, weaving, spinning, architecture

Jericho- first evidence of monumental architecture- why?

-Actual human skull- face has been recreated and tinted, decorated with seashells

-strong individuality- but not really portraits of specific people

-meant to perpetuate life beyond death

-displayed above ground, rest of body was buried- first recognition of belief of life beyond death

-believed in a spirit, located in the head that remained after death- these heads were meant to trap spirits in their graves (MAYBE!!)

Sculptured Head, Jericho, 7000 BC

Human figure, from Ain Ghazal, Jordan, c. 6750-6250 BC
  • Plaster, painted and inlaid with shell and bitumen, 3’6’’ (Louvre)
  • Houses built of irregularly shaped stones, plastered and painted
  • Ritually buried
  • Function unknown
  • Beginning of monumental sculpture in the ancient Near East

Catal Huyak, Turkey 7000-5000 BC

-Lived in houses of mud and brick centered around courtyards

-no streets or doors- people entered through the roof

-large number of shrines

-plaster walls with paintings- 1st known artwork on man-made surface, no more actual hunts- everything is ritual- in honor of male and female deities


Landscape drawing of Catal Huyuk

-1st evidence of goddess worship- mountains always shown in profile-MAYBE

-definitely 1st painting depicting a landscape devoid of animals and people

-houses shown from above- both a map and a landscape


Stone Henge, 3000 BC

Neolithic Europe not as advanced-

Megaliths- large stone structures solely for religious purposes

Megalithic- culture that produces megaliths

Made up of Dolmens- tombs with upright stones, slab roof (lintel)

Cromlechs-other stones that form a setting

Outer circle and 2 inner circles with a center altar

Oriented towards the point at which the sun rises on the Summer Solstice


Totems of animals from a specific tribe- echos the natural formation of the land.

Mound Builders, North America