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Study of art history

Study of the history of art is a relatively recent phenomenon; prior to the Renaissance, the modern concept of "art" did not exist, and art was used to refer to workmanship by generally anonymous tradesmen. There are different ways of structuring a history of art. The following is one which is commonly used, based primarily on time, but within that creating subdivisions based on place and culture.


Earliest known art

The oldest surviving art forms include small sculptures and paintings on rocks and in caves. There are very few known examples of art that date earlier than 40,000 years ago, the beginning of the Upper Paleolithic period. People often rubbed smaller rocks against larger rocks and boulders to paint pictures of their everyday life, such as hunting wild game.

The oldest known paintings are at the Grotte Chauvet in France, claimed by some historians to be about 32,000 years old. They are engraved and painted using red ochre and black pigment and show horses, rhinoceros, lions, buffalo, mammoth or humans often hunting. There are examples of cave painting all over the world—in France, Spain, Portugal, China, Australia etc. Many theories have been written about these paintings with no objective conclusion. Some sustain that prehistoric men painted animals to "catch" their soul or spirit in order to hunt them more easily, others refer an animistic vision and homage to surrounding nature and others the basic need of expression that is innate to human being. Above this theories we can say that painting as well as all other forms of art are strongly connected with religious or spiritual consciousness, they seem to remind us of our spiritual essence and existence and the fact that prehistoric men have done it seems like an unarguable proof of it.

The so-called Venus of Willendorf is a sculpture from the paleolithic era, which depicts an obviously pregnant woman. This sculpture, carved from stone, is remarkable in its roundness instead of a flat or low-relief depiction. Prehistoric art objects are rare, and the context of such early art is difficult to determine.


Date: 2015-01-02; view: 1153

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