5Prehistoric Art in Western Europe Stages of prehistoric civilization1. Old Stone Age – Paleolithic30,000-10,000 BC2. Middle Stone Age – Mesolithic10,000-5,000 BC3. New Stone Age – Neolithic5,000 BC-
6Use of hunting rituals and artwork: Cave painting was limited almost exclusively to animals. Why?Some believe that cave paintings were part of magic rituals before the hunt.What kinds of rituals do we use today?
7How were cave paintings discovered? LascauxAltimira
8It was discovered by four boys in 1940 somewhat accidentally It was discovered by four boys in 1940 somewhat accidentally. They found a large hole near a tree that had fallen on a hill overlooking Montignac in France. In 1955 the first signs of deterioration appeared on the cave paintings. Carbon dioxide from visitors’ breath was discovered to be the cause the cave was closed. It remains closed but a replica of the cave located nearby is open to the public.
9In 1875 he heard about a cave in Altamira meadow In 1875 he heard about a cave in Altamira meadow. When he visited it, he saw shells, bones and some drawings that attracted his attention. Shortly afterwards, in 1879, while he was digging in Altamira Cave, his nine year old daughter Maria wandered a little further inside. There she saw what she thought were the paintings of oxen. Sautuola recognized the figures at once; they were not oxen, but bison. His daughter’s discovery of the paintings in the cave in 1879 was the first discovery of Paleolithic cave art, and the cave is of one of the most spectacular sites in the world.
10These sites have been protected from many of the elements that otherwise would have caused erosion and damage. They may not be a vibrant as they once were but you can still see the amazing artwork of these prehistoric people because the paintings have been safe, deep inside caves for thousands of years.
11Some of the materials used for pigment include: ClaySoft stoneFatBloodCrushed plants and berriesAshesCan you think of anything else that may have been used?
12Some of the materials used to apply the pigment to cave walls include: FingersReedPlantsSticksFurCan you think of anything else that may have been used?
13Most of these cave paintings are large in size Most of these cave paintings are large in size. Between five to seven feet in length.
14The subject matter of the cave paintings is limited almost exclusively to animals, mostly deer, bison, boar, wild horses, etc. Why?Many experts believe that the earliest known paintings were created nearly 30,000 years ago. How do we know this?
15Dating Prehistoric Art One way is to date the artifact based on the age of the surrounding layers of earth.Another way is through radiocarbon dating.
16Eventually prehistoric builders made their way outside their caves and began building more comfortable shelters. They built small communities and eventually the hunters replaced their weapons with farming tools.
17Art of the Fertile Crescent Civilizations developed in a few great river valleys where deposits of rich soil produced abundant harvests. (Remember that hunting communities were slowly making the transition to farming.) One of these river valleys extended about 170 miles north of the Persian Gulf, between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, this area became know as the Fertile Crescent.
19The SumeriansSometime before 4500 B.C. a people from the east known as Sumerians abandoned their wandering, tent-dwelling lifestyle and settled in Mesopotamia. The region they settled was called Sumer.
20ZigguratsA ziggurat is a stepped mountain made of brick covered earth.
21As a towering symbolic mountain, the ziggurat satisfied the desire to create a monument that appeared to span the space between earth and heaven. The most well known ziggurat, which incidentally no longer exists, is the Tower of Babel. However, there are many impressive ruins of other ziggurats.
22Sumerians as ArtistsArcheologists have unearthed evidence of a rich and flourishing civilization.Much evidence comes from ancient cemeteries and burial sites filled with jewelry, chariots (believe it or not!), headdresses, sculptures, and musical instruments.We can’t tell if they were the first to establish a written language, however it is the oldest known to us.
23StylusTo draw their picture like writing they used clay tablets and a writing instrument called a stylus. It was probably made from a reed and had a three-cornered end. It could produce triangular forms, wedges, and straight lines.CuneiformThe Sumerians were probably the first to develop a writing system composed of wedge –shaped characters called cuneiform.
24Babylonian Civilization Around 1800 B.C. after centuries of war between various Mesopotamian city-states, the Babylonians under the rule of King Hammurabi, gained control of Mesopotamia.King Hammurabi is famous for his code of conduct he published to unify legal practices in his empire. He had the code engraved on a stele, which is an inscribed stone pillar, and placed it in a public area for all to see. No one could say they didn’t know the law!
25Persian EmpireNebuchadnezzar was a successor of Hammurabi’s, he rekindled Babylonian supremacy and increased the empire.Tradition tells us that Nebuchadnezzar, after a long reign marked by conquest and properity, suffered from insanity. It is said he thought he was an animal, walked on all four, and ate grass.He died in 562 B.C. and within 30 years his empire was in shambles.A new people took over. They were mistakenly called Persians after a territory known as Parsa, or Persis. (They called themselves Irani.)In 539 B.C. they advanced on Mesopotamia
27Persian ArtPersian art found it’s highest accomplishment in architecture and relief sculpture. We can see this best at Persepolis in modern Iran. It was built on a stone platform with magnificent rooms and wooden ceilings supported by huge columns. The most important room was the Audience Hall where the king would formally greet important visitors. This great hall contained 100 columns 65 feet high. Nothing remains of it today but a few columns and the outlines of the general floor plan.