Prehistoric Art

ART ID 111 | Study of Ancient Arts
Slide concept by William V. Ganis, PhD NYIT Center for Teaching and Learning with Technology

Art : the conscious use of skill and creative imagination especially in the production of aesthetic objects; also : works so produced

Aesthetics : a particular theory or conception of beauty or art : a particular taste for or approach to what is pleasing to the senses and especially sight

What was going on in the world?
‡ There was a lot more ice, for one thing, and ocean shoreline was different from that with which we're familiar. ‡ Lower water levels and, in some cases, land bridges (which have long since disappeared) allowed humans to migrate into the Americas & Australia. ‡ Humans at this time were strictly hunter-gatherers, meaning they were constantly on the move in search of food.

2 Types of Art: 1.Portable ± figurative 2.Stationary ± non-figurative 3 Major Art Forms: 1.Sculptures & Figurines 2.Cave Art 3.Megaliths

Dating Conventions and Abbreviations B.C.=before Christ B.C.E.=before the Common Era

A.D.=Anno Domini (the year of our Lord) C.E.=Common Era

c. or ca.= circa


Pebble resembling a human face from Makaspansgat South Africa
ca. 3,000,000 B.C.E. reddish brown jasperite approximately 2 3/8 in. wide

Apollo 11 Cave Namibia
ca. 23,000 B.C.E. charcoal on stone 5 in x 4 3/4 in.

Human with Feline Head from Hohlenstein-Stadel, Germany
ca. 30,000-28,000 B.C.E. mammoth ivory 11 5/8 in. high

Human with Feline Head from Hohlenstein-Stadel, Germany
ca. 30,000-28,000 B.C.E. mammoth ivory 11 5/8 in. high

enus of Willendorf from Willendorf, Austria
ca. 28,000-25,000 B.C.E. limestone 4 1/4 in. high

Woman of Lespugue from cave of Les Rideaux, France
ca. 20,000 B.C.E. mammoth ivory 5 3/4 in. high

arious European ´Venusµ figures

Venus of Dolní V stonice
Moravia, Czeck Republic Ceramic (fired clay) 4.4in H 1.7inW

Woman of Laussel from a cave in Laussel, Dordogne, France
ca. 25,000-20,000 B.C.E. painted limestone approximately 18 in. high

Bison reliefs from a cave at Le Tuc d·Audoubert, Ariége, France
ca. 15,000-10,000 B.C.E. clay each approx 2 feet long

Chauvet Cave paintings Vallon-Pont-d·Arc, Ardèche, France
ca. 30,000-28,000 B.C.E. pigment on stone

Pech-Merle Cave paintings Lot, France
ca. 22,000 B.C.E. pigment on stone

Altamira Cave paintings Santander, Spain
ca. 12,000-11,000 B.C.E. pigment on stone

Lascaux Cave paintings Lascaux, Dordogne, France
ca. 15,000-13,000 B.C.E. pigment on stone

Mammoth bone dwelling from Ukraine
ca. 16,000-10,000 B.C.E.

Great Stone Tower of Settlement Wall Jericho, Israel/Gaza
ca. 8,000-7,000 B.C.E. Wall: 3.6m H x 1.8m width at base Tower: 3.6m H with staircase of 22 stone steps

Human Skulls with Restored Features from Jericho, Israel/Gaza
ca. 7,000-6,000 B.C.E. skulls, plaster, shells

Human figure From Ain Ghazal, Jordan
ca. 6,750-6,250 B.C.E. plaster, painted and inlaid with cowrie shell and bitumen

Çatal Höyük Turkey
ca. 6,000-5,900 B.C.E. çatal is Turkish for "fork", höyük for "mound"

Restoration of a typical interior Çatal Höyük Turkey
ca. 6,000-5,900 B.C.E.

Deer Hunt detail of a wall painting from Level III Çatal Höyük, Turkey
ca. 5,750 B.C.E.

Çatal Höyük Turkey
ca. 6,000-5,900 B.C.E.

Landscape with Volcanic Eruption Çatal Höyük, Turkey
ca. 6150 watercolor copy of a wall painting

Figures of Man and Woman From Cernavoda, Romania
ca. 4,000-3,500 B.C.E. ceramic 4 1/2 in. high

Ireland, Scotland, England, France

Dolmens, also called "chamber tombs," usually contain one or more chambers or rooms in which the dead were buried. Some dolmens also contain long, stone chambers or halls which connect different rooms. These long chambers also are referred to as "Long tombs" and "passage-graves."

Menhirs are large standing stones, or groups of standing stones, arranged in circles, or cromlechs, and henges.

various Menhirs
Ireland, Scotland, England, France

Menhir alignments at Ménec, Carnac, France
ca. 4,250-3,750 B.C.E.

Stonehenge was aligned with the rising sun at the midsummer solstice. It may have served to predict both lunar and solar eclipses.

Stonehenge Salisbury Plain, Wiltshire, England
ca. 2,550-1,600 B.C.E. sarsen and bluestone

Sources: Introduction to Prehistoric Art, 20,000²8000 B.C. | Thematic Essay | Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History | The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Art Through the Ages, 12th/11th ed., Gardner

End of Lecture

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful