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Flashcards in Prehistoric Art History for Dummies Deck (20)
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1

 

Timeline and Characteristics of Paleolithic Period

  • Old Stone Age
  • hunter gatherer societies
  • 90,000 years after the great ice age (120,000BC)

  • lasted roughly from 40,000 B.C. to 8,000 B.C

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Charasterists of Paleolithic Art

  • Earliest surviving art is from this period
  • Art is deep in the bowels of caves, mostly located in Southern France and northern Spain
    • Paintings of woolly mammoths, wholly rhinos, and aurochs are the most accurate images we have of these extinct species.

  • Initially researchers believed cave art was connected to hunting (sympathetic magic, kind of like voodoo), however, many paintings depict inedible predators like panthers, lions, and hyenas

    • Now paintings beleived to be shaministic 

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Basic History of Tools

  • Earliest form of human got onto their feet about 4 million years ago
  • Stones with sharpened edges, ruff-flaked stones used for cutting meat and pelts appeared in east-central Africa (about 2 million years later)
  • Hand ax (about 1,300,000 B.C.)
  • Spear (about “1,000,000 B.C.).
  • Bow and arrow (around 10,000 B.C)

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Shamans in Cave Art

  • Prehistoric hunter-gatherers probably praticed shamanistic magic similar to  societies from Africa to Siberia and North America
  • Shamans were visionary and sometimes an 'artist'

  •  Shamans could “beam up” into the spirit world to talk to the souls of beasts where they can learn from animal spirits how to fix imbalances in nature.

  • Some used natural hallucinogen and depicted journeys with images of humans and animals entwining and even merging

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Prehistoric Sculpture (Types)

Two Types of Sculpture

  1. statuettes - small statues
  2. reliefs - sculptor outlines an image in stone or wood, and then carves out the background so that the image projects above it.

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Prehistoric art impliments

  • Feathers, fur, moss, chewed sticks, and their fingers as paintbrushes.
  • “spray-painted” large areas by blowing colored powders through hollowed-out reeds or bones.
  • sharp stones or charcoal sticks were used to incise outlines of pictures into cave walls

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Cave Art Painting Techniques

  •  Color - Ground minerals (red and yellow ochre, manganese, and hematite) into powders which were applied directly to the damp limestone walls 
  • Texture - Cave painters sometimes used bumps and crevices on cave walls to emphasize an animal’s contours:
    • ie a bulge for a belly 
    • an indentation for an eye
    • Bump for a hump.
    • knob in a wall for a paw, etc

8

Woman of Willendorf (~25,000 years ago)

  • Pudgy 4-1/2-inch-high figure carved out of limestone.
  • Wasn’t an individual, but a type/symbol for fertility/abundance
  • Same female type is found in many prehistoric cultures around the world
  • A woman might have held the statuette

9

Bird-Headed Man with Bison and Rhinoceros

  • ~20,000 years old
  • Discovered in 1940 in Lascaux in Dordogne, France

  • may depic shaman's phycadelic journey

    • Trainee shamans had to undergo ceremonial fake deaths, as well as food and sleep deprivation

  • In 19th-century Siberia, shamans used a so-called “world pole” as a portal to different worlds.

    • These poles commonly were topped with a bird

10

Chararacheristics of Neolithic Era

  • New Stone Age
  • Argicultural age
  • Land warmed up as glaciers melted, and man was able to farm, domesticate animals, improve his stone tools, and build permanent settlements.
  • Began in the warm southern climes and migrated northward in the wake of the retreating glaciers.
  • Mankind fell into a creative slump that lasted about 6,000 years, but improved as architects and built structures to last.

11

Çatalhöyük

  • cha-tal hoo-yook"; it means "forked mound"
  • One of the oldest New Stone Age settlements
  • Anatolia (modern Turkey)
  • 6500 B.C. to 5650 B.C.
  • Truly peaceful
  • Mastered textiles, basketry, simple pottery
  • Lived in rectangular, mud-brick homes with doors in the roof

12

Çatalhöyük Architecture and Art

  • Built rectangular, mud-brick homes with doors in the roofs
  • Had two or more elevated, multipurpose platforms, one of which was always painted red
    • red platform served as a table, workbench, bed, and bier (a bed for corpses)
  • Some homes included paintings and sculptures

    • Paintings were mainly of stick figure men hunting

    • Women in sculpture like Woman of Willendorf

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Skara Brae

  • A later Neolithic community (around 3000 B.C.)
  • northerly Orkney Islands of Scotland
  • Homes included a fireplace, stone tanks, built-in stone furniture (beds, chairs, tables, and shelves).
  • The only art we have from Skara Brae are the simple designs carved into the stone pottery and some of the stone beds.

14

The Carnac Stones

  • Scattered fields of menhirs throughout Brittany in western France between 4250 B.C. and 3750 B.C
  • 3,000 menhirs stand in 2-mile-long rows
  • Gradually grow as you move from east to west.
  • Stones on the eastern side are 3 feet high, while on the western end they’re over 13 feet high.
  • The alignment corresponds to the rising and setting sun. Today, no oneknows how this prehistoric observatory worked

15

Megaliths

huge stones

Brittany and England

some megalith structures served as tombs 

post-and-lintel system (the post part is made up of the uprights, and the lintel is the horizontal slab). 

one of man’s first architectural advances

 

16

menhirs

  • Topless Megaliths
  • appear in two types of formations:
    • circular patterns known as cromlechs
    • cemetery-like rows called alignments.
      • they were not graves, but astronomical observatories and sites for sun worship

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Stonehenge (location and constuction timeline)

  • Salisbury Plain of England
  • Built in 4 stages between 2550 B.C. and 1600 B.C

18

Stonehenge (Pourpose)

  • Once believed to be a Druid (Celtic priest) temple.
  • Now - believed to be a temple aligned with the movements of the sun.

19

Stonehenge (Bluestone)

  • Until 1500 B.C., a circle of bluestones stood between the sarsen stones and the horseshoe.
  • The only available bluestone comes from Wales, 150 miles away.
  • Stonehenge builders believed that bluestone possessed special properties, probably magical ones
  • In 1500 B.C., the last generation of Stonehenge builders moved the bluestones inside the horseshoe; researchers today have no idea why

20

Stonehenge (Construction)

  • 1,000-foot trench and embankment encircle a series of concentric circles and circular shapes
    • Continuious outer circle of 50 ton, 20-foot-high gray sandstones, called sarsen stones, topped by connecting lintels
    • Inner horseshoe of five sets of gray sandstone groups in a post-and-lintel arrangement .
    • Smoothed the inside faces of the stones
    • Tapered the posts at the top so that the bellies or midsections of the posts appear to bulge
    • Curved the outer lintels so each would form an arc, enhancing the circular appearance of the outer ring.
    • “drilled” holes in the lintels and cut cone-shaped pegs into the post that the posts and lintels would fit together snuggly in a mortise and tenon joint (like a set of Lincoln Logs).