June 21
Prehistoric Beginnings




So how do we look at art? Six things to consider...

Chronology = When was it made?

Provenance = Where was it made?
Style = How does it look? Is that look particular to a time, place or artist?
Iconography = What symbols are used and what do they mean?
Artist = Who made it?
Meaning, Cause and Context = what does it mean?











Remember to ask questions!
Open ended questions are stronger because they can usually be answered with multiple acceptable answers.
"How" and "Why" questions lead to more depth than "What" and "Who" questions.
Stay calm! You may not be able to answer all of your questions immediately and that's ok.


Zeus or Poseidon

Zeus. c. 460 - 450 BC. Bronze, height 6' 10".











Ishtar Gate

Ishtar Gate, from Babylon, Iraq. c. 575 B.C. Glazed brick.












The Battle of Hastings. Detail of the Bayeux Tapestry. c. 1086.











Bison from the Altamira Cave, Spain. c. 15,000 - 10,000 BCE.










The first artists?





















Mammoth Bone House

Modern reconstruction of Mammoth Bone House based on sites in Russia & Ukraine c. 12,000 - 18,000 years ago










Prehistoric Period
c. 2,000,000 BCE
earliest known toolmaking
2,500,000 - 230,00 BCE
earliest cultures form
c. 70,000 - 8,000 BCE.
last Ice Age in Europe

Engraved ochre and bone tools from Blombos cave in South Africa. c. 75,000 - 80,000 BCE






Paleolithic Era - "Old Stone Age" - 40,000 to 8000 BCE
c. 50,000 BCE
earliest known images in Australia
c. 30,000 BCE
earliest known stone figures in Europe
c. 28,000 BCE
earliest known cave paintings

Lion Human

Lion-Human. c. 30,000 - 26,000 BCE. Mammoth ivory, height 11 5/8".

humans begin practicing ritual burial





Neolithic Era - "New Stone Age" - 8000 to 2300 BCE
c. 8000 - 1000 BCE
plants and animals domesticated
c. 4500 - 1500 BCE
megalithic tombs and monuments
c. 3300 - 3000 BCE .
earliest writing developed

Cuneiform clay tablet from presnet-day Iraq.
c. 3200 BCE

Cro Magnon man (anatomically modern) replaces Neanderthal

Humans make more refined tools

Shift from migratory to agrarian lifestyle

Modern language developed along with earliest forms of writing











Altamira Cave

Wounded Bison

Wounded Bison. Cave painting. c. 15,000 - 10,000 BC. Altamira, Spain











Don Marcelino Sanz de Sautuola and Daughter Maria











Axial Gallery

Axial Gallery, Altamira Cave. c. 15,000 - 10,000 BCE











Viewing Altamira











Lascaux Cave, Dordogne, France

Discovered on September 12, 1940 by Marcel Ravidat, Jacques Marsal, Georges Agnel, and Simon Coencas











Hall of the Bulls, Lascaux Cave, Dordogne, France. c. 15,000 BCE.










Hall of the Bulls, Lascaux Cave, Dordogne, France. c. 15,000 BCE.










Lascaux virtual tour

Map of Lascaux Cave











Shaft of the Dead Man or Bird-Headed Man with Bison, Lascaux Cave, Dordogne, France. c. 15,000 BCE.











Chauvet Cave, Vallon-Pont-D'Arc, Ardeche Gorge, France

Jean Marie Chauvet in the cave after its discovery












Horses. Cave painting. c. 30,000 - 28,000 BCE Chauvet Cave.
Chinese Horse. c. 30,000 - 28,000 BCE Chauvet Cave.








Felines. c. 30,000 - 28,000 BCE Chauvet Cave.
Bear. c. 30,000 - 28,000 BCE Chauvet Cave.










Engraved Horse. c. 30,000 - 28,000 BCE Chauvet Cave.











Hand Print, Chauvet
Cave Bear Skull Altar, Chauvet


Animism = the belief that nature is filled with spirits











Bison, from La Madeleine near Les Eyzies c. 15,000 - 10,000 BC. Reindeer horn, length 4".











Woman of Willendorf. c. 25,000 - 20,000 BC. Limestone, height 4 3/8".


More on the Discovery of the Woman of Wilendorf











modern obese pregnant woman
Woman of Willendorf. c. 25,000 - 20,000 BC. Limestone, height 4 3/8".