lecture, prehistoric art

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  1. 1. Preh isto r ic ArtHistory of the World: Part IMel Brooks, 1981http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W_v_ubcYsTI The Flintstones, Hanna-Barbera, ca. 1960s
  2. 2. The Stone Age The first known period ofprehistoric human culturecharacterized by the use of stonetools (Merriam-Webster) Prehistoric (pre-history = a timebefore writing and recorded history) Earliest Stone Age art comes fromSouthern Africa Important Stone Age artifacts onevery continent except Antarctica Bias in Stokstad textbook towardEuropean art Variety of materials used (clay,stone, cave paintings, reliefsculptures) Map of Prehistoric Europe Incised ochre plaque, Blombos Cave, South Africa, 70,000 BCE
  3. 3. Paleolithic Art Paleolithic Neolithic 30,000 BCE9,000 BCE(oldest knownart objects) Paleo = oldlithos = stone Neo = new
  4. 4. Man vs. Image
  5. 5. The Female Nude denotative = literal, descriptive meaningJenny Saville, Self-Portraitca. 1990Rineke Dijkstra,Saskia Harderwijk, NetherlandsMarch 16 1994, c-printConnotative = meaning derived from context (cultural/historical)
  6. 6. Paleolithic Sculpture - Venus of Willendorf Denotative Connotative 4 One of many limestoneother smallPaleolithic Nude woman female nudes Exaggerated Both lack faces, reproductive arms anatomy Both exaggerate (breasts,breasts, belly, belly, pubic pubic region triangle) Suggest Arms and emphasis on hands very fertility (female, Venus of DolnEarth?) small Vstonice (hidden) Representation ca. 29,000 BCEof womanhood ceramic No facenot a specific CzechNude Woman (Venus of Willendorf) (decorativewoman? 28,000 - 25,000 BCE braids) Willendorf, Austria
  7. 7. Paleolithic Cave Art Focus on Southern France andNorthern Spain At least 300 sites discovered Still rare considering they rangein date from ca. 30,000 BCE ca.10,000 BCE Most are paintings on walls (deepin caves); some relief sculptures(in clay), some wall engravings Paintings red or black (red oryellow ochre, iron oxides likehematite, charcoal or manganesedioxide) Crushed into powder and mixedwith binder (water) then appliedwith brushes made of twigs,reeds Or blown onto surface throughhollowed reed or bone Illuminated work through stonelamps using fat as fuel Could complete a wall in a day These deep, dark spacesuninhabited by manPowdered red ochre Hematite rock
  8. 8. Active Learning Project (see worksheet)Paleolithic Cave Art in FranceBy Jean Clotteshttp://www.bradshawfoundation.com/clottes/index.php Focus in your readings on Themes ChosenHuman and Animal Activities and Meaning(s)
  9. 9. Paleolithic Cave Art Groups 1 & 2 Shows most commonsubject (animals) Clay relief of two bison Modeled by hand andsmoothed with spatula Fingers used to createmane and facialfeatures In profile (most common& complete, descriptiverendering) Pictorial definition ofsubject Two bison, reliefs in the cave at Le Tuc dAudoubert, France ca. 15,000 10,000 BCE, clay each 2ft long
  10. 10. Paleolithic Cave Art Groups 3 & 4 Shows most commonsubject (animals) Two horses andhandprints Animals rendered inprofile Shape dictated by rockformation on right? Accompanied bygeometric forms (here,dots)Spotted Horses and negative handprints Handprints created byCave at Pech-Merle, Franceblowing paint through ca. 22,000 BCEhollowed reed or bone112 long(artists or othersignature?)
  11. 11. Paleolithic Cave Art Groups 5 & 6 Shows most commonsubject (animals) Not all are bulls Also shown in profile andin twisted perspective Contoured and shadedbodies Hall added to over time Probably not intended torepresent a herd Some share a groundline while some floatHall of the Bullsabove Lascaux, France Lack of setting or ca. 15,000 13,000 BCEbackgroundlargest bull 11 6 long Focus on pictorialdefinition of animal(conceptually rendered) detail of abovenot narrative or scene
  12. 12. Paleolithic Cave Art Groups 7 & 8 Shows most commonsubject (animals rhinoceros and bison) Animals in profile (rhinomore naturalistic thanschematic bison) Not painted by single artist One of earliest appearancesof man (not woman) Suggested narrative?(although since deep incave, not necessarily meantto be read)Rhinoceros, wounded man and disemboweled bison Bison is disemboweled; bird well shaft, Lascaux, Franceman (masked?) falling or 15,000 13,000 BCEdead? bison, 38 long Aftermath of man vs.animal? (see spear & staff)
  13. 13. Film Screening:Cave of Forgotten Dreams2010 Werner Herzog, directorhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oZFP5HfJPTY
  14. 14. Neolithic Art Paleolithic Neolithic 30,000 BCE9,000 BCE(oldest knownart objects) Paleo = oldlithos = stone Neo = new
  15. 15. Neolithic Art - atalhyk Neolithic community from 7,000 5,000 BCE in present-day Turkey First excavated in 1958 One of first city dwellings Houses constructed by timber frame and mud-brick Plastered walls with platforms Dead buried beneath floor Walls typically decorated with mural paintings and plaster reliefs Shrines?http://www.catalhoyuk.com/#
  16. 16. Neolithic Art - atalhyk Shows striking change since Paleolithic cave painting Regular use of human figure (alone and in groups) Introduction of pictorial narrative Organized hunting party Heads and facial features delineated Details include bows, arrows, and clothing Painted on prepared (plaster) Deer hunt (detail) surface (vs. directly on wall)wall painting Use of composite frontal and atalhyk profile views (head in profile, Turkey torso frontal, profile view for arms5750 BCE and legs) Composite view would becomeDetail from Hall of standard (pictorial definition ofBulls, Lascaux subject) for millennia Diagram of ancient Egyptian canon of proportions
  17. 17. Neolithic Art - Stonehenge One of most famous prehistoric sites in world24 Period saw development of monumental architecture Use of huge rough-cut stones (megaliths) Inspired name of period (megalithic) Stonehenge, Salisbury Plain, Wiltshire Range from 17 - 24 ft. inEngland, 2550 1600 BCE height and up to 50 tons each Arranged in a circle (henge) and surrounded by a ditch Use of sarsen (like sandstone) and smaller bluestones Post-and-lintel system Characteristic of other megalithic monuments in BritainJohn Constable, Stonehenge, 1835, watercolor
  18. 18. Stonehenge diagram, Salisbury Plain,WiltshireNeolithic Art - StonehengeEngland, 2550 1600 BCE sarsen stones 24 ft. tall supportbluestones lintels (beams)97 ft. diameteroutermost ringhorseshoe ofConnotative trilithons (three-stone Meaning: constructions) astronomical posts weigh 45 50 observatory? tons each(solar calendar) (marks point of summer solstice)
  19. 19. Stonehenge in Popular Culture Wiccans at Summer Solstice Jim Reinders, Carhenge, Alliance Nebraska, 1980sThis is Spinal Tap, 1984, Rob Reinerhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Zdyo4vJuCU
  20. 20. Contemporary Art Meets the Stone AgeJames Turrell, Roden CraterAna Mendieta, from Silueta series, ca. 1970s near Flagstaff, Arizona, 1979 to present