Presentation on theme: "The Birth of Art What Genesis is to the biblical account of the beginning of the human race, early cave art is to the history of human intelligence, imagination,"— Presentation transcript:
The Birth of Art What Genesis is to the biblical account of the beginning of the human race, early cave art is to the history of human intelligence, imagination, and creative power. In the caves of southern France and northern Spain, the first of which were discovered only a little over a century ago, as well as in central Europe, Asia, and Africa, where humankind seems to have had its origin, we may witness the birth of that unique capability that has made us masters of our environment---the making of images and symbols. The Birth of Art What Genesis is to the biblical account of the beginning of the human race, early cave art is to the history of human intelligence, imagination, and creative power. In the caves of southern France and northern Spain, the first of which were discovered only a little over a century ago, as well as in central Europe, Asia, and Africa, where humankind seems to have had its origin, we may witness the birth of that unique capability that has made us masters of our environment---the making of images and symbols.
Bison, detail of a painted ceiling in the Altamira cave (Santander, Spain), c. 14,000-12,000 BC, Each bison approx. 8 ’ long
Bison, detail of a painted ceiling in the Altamira cave (Santander, Spain)
Standing Bison, Altamira cave, Spain, c. 12,000 BC, 1.8x1.5 m
“ Chinese Horse, ” Lascaux, Dordogne, France, c. 15,000-13,000 BC. Paint on limestone rock, horse 1.42 m long.
Bird-headed Man with Bison and Rhinoceros, Lascaux caves, paint on limestone, 2.75m
Cave engraving with figure of mythical beast, Mount Helan, Ningxia, China, Archaic hunter period (12th – 10th millennium BC).
Men and women hunting kangaroos, Unbalanya Hill, Arnhem Land, Northern Territory, Australia, Rock painting. Aboriginal artists used two relatively different styles, a naturalistic one for animals and a schematic one for humans---in common with those in Europe. The revolutionary finds (1996) challenged basic assumptions about when and where humans evolved. 75,000-50,000 BC. The stone tools and other finds suggest that Australia was inhabited as long ago as 174,000 BC.
Spotted horses and negative hand imprints, Pech-Merle, Lot, France, c. 22,000 BC
Two Bison, clay relief in cave at Le Tuc d ’ Audoubert (Ariège, France), c. 12,000 BC, L. 2’
Bison with turned head, from la Madeleine, Dordogne, France, c. 12,000 BC. Reindeer horn, 10.5 cm long, Musée des Antiquités Nationales.
Human with feline head, from Hohlenstein-Stadel, Germany, ca. 30,000 BC. Mammoth ivory, 11 ” h. Ulmer Museum, ULM.
Woman from Brassempouy, France, c. 28,000 BCE. Ivory, 3.5 cm. Some doubt its authenticity, since it was recovered at a dig where the workers were paid by what they discovered.
This is a reconstruction of what the original Venus of Brassempouy may have looked like. The artist has imagined a heavy net over the hair, giving the effect of both a hat and braided hair. Anyway, the miniature head is one of the few Ice Age figures with facial features and a detailed hairstyle.
Woman from Willendorf, Austria. c. 28,000-25,000 BC. Limestone, h. 11 cm, Naturhistorisches Museum, Vienna. 1908.
The Venus of Hohle Fels is an Upper Paleolithic Venus figurine dated to between 35 000 and 40 000 years ago, belonging to the early Aurignacian, and is the oldest undisputed example of Upper Paleolithic art and figurative prehistoric art in general. The 2008 excavations at Hohle Fels Cave in the Swabian Jura of southwestern Germany. The figure, about 2.4 inches tall, was carved from a mammoth tusk. fertility totems?
Four views of the venus. Source: http://i238.photobucket.com/albums/f f79/totemc/_45768279_venus_jesen_ 466.jpg
The figurine, found in 2008 in a cave in Schelklingen, southern Germany is thought to be the world's oldest reproduction of a human.
The Venus of Hohle Fels in its protective casket.
Woman holding a bison horn, from laussel, Dordogne, France, c. 23,000-20,000 BC. Painted limestone, approx. 44cm high, Musee A ’ quitanine, Bordeaux.
Alignment of menhirs, Carnac, Brittany, France, c. 4000 BC. Stone, 183-457 cm high. The Carnac menhirs number almost three thousand, arranged in parallel rows nearly 4000 m long. A small village has grown up around the menhirs (The word is formed by two Celtic words: men meaning “ stone ” and hir meaning “ long ” ). They are unhewn or slightly shaped single stones (monoliths), indicating probably an important Neolithic religious center in what is now northern France. (Dolmens – dol means “ table ” )
Stonehenge, Salisbury Plain, Wiltshire, England, aerial view, ca. 2550-1600 BC, 24 ’ h. 97 ’ d
The Rise of Civilization ----- The Art of the Ancient Near East When humans first gave up the dangerous and uncertain life of the hunter and gatherer for the more predictable and stable life of the farmer and herder, the change in human society was so astounding, so fundamental, that it justly has been called the Neolithic Revolution. This revolutionary change in the nature of daily life first occurred in Mesopotamia---a Greek word that means “ the land between the rivers. ” There humankind first learned how to use the wheel and the plow, how to control floods and construct irrigation canals. The land became an oasis--- and the presumed setting for the biblical Garden of Eden. The Mesopotamian society began to flourished along the Tigris and Euphrates rivers between 4000 and 3000 BC. They are credited not only with the invention of the wheel, but also with the invention of writing. They developed schools, libraries, and written law. Unlike Egypt, which was protected on all sides by sea and desert, Mesopotamian society was constantly threatened by invasion. Perhaps this explains why stories told in much Mesopotamian art are about the fighting.
Ur-Nina and Family, 3000-2180 B.C., Paris, Louvre
Banquet scene, cylinder seal, from the tomb of Pu-abi, Royal Cemetery, Ur (modern Muqayyar), Iraq, ca. 2600 BC, Lapis lazuli, approx. 2 ” high, British Museum. By 3000 BC, Sumerians further simplified their pictographic signs and developed cuneiforms, which marked the beginning of writing.
Cylinder seal and modern impression hunting scene
Administrative tablet with cylinder seal impression
Cuneiform Writing. It was the Sumerians who developed the earliest known writing.
Lion Monster, c. 3500-3000 BC. Limestone, 8.9 cm Kneeling Bull, Iran, 3100-299 BC. Silver, 16.3 cm, MMOA
Statuettes of worshipers, from the Square Temple at Eshnunna (modern Tell Asmar), Iraq, ca. 2700 BC. Gypsum inlaid with shell and black limestone, tallest 76 cm h. Baghdad and Chicago.
War side of the Standard of Ur, from Tomb 779, Royal Cemetery, Ur (modern Tell Muqayyar), Iraq, ca. 2600 BC. Wood inlaid with shell, lapis Lazuli, and red limestone, approx. 20 x 48 cm, British Museum, London.
Bull-headed Lyre (restored) 165 cm h. Lyre soundbox, from the tomb of Queen Puabi, Ur. c. 2685 BC. Wood with inlaid gold, lapis lazuli, and shell, approx. 33 cm high. University Museum, UP, Philadelphia
Harp of Shabad (gold and ivory), 3500-3000 B.C., Phila., Univ. Mus.
Head of an Akkadian Ruler, from Nineveh (modern Kuyunjik), Iraq, c. 2250- 2200 BC. Copper, 36.5 cm h, Iraq Museum, Baghdad.
Ziggurat (northeastern fa ç ade with restored stairs), Ur (modern Tell Muqayyar), Iraq, ca. 2100 BC. This is one of the greatest ziggurats in Mesopotamia. (ziggurat---a high stepped platform)
Seated statue of Gudea holding temple plan, from Girsu (modern Telloh), Iraq, ca. 2100 BC, Diorite, approx. 73.5 cm, Louvre.
Votive statue of Gudea (holding a vessel from which life-giving water flows in two streams filled with leaping fish), from Lagash (modern Telloh, Iraq), ca. 2120 BC, Diorite, approx. 73.7 cm, Louvre, Paris.
Stele with law code of Hammurabi, from Susa (Modern Shush, Iran), ca. 1792-1750 BC, Basalt, approx. 213 cm h. Louvre. In the introductory section of the stela ’ s long cuneiform inscription, Hammurabi declared that with this code of law he intended “ to cause justice to prevail in the land and to destroy the wicked and the evil, that the strong might not oppress the weak nor the weak the strong. ” Most of the 300 or so entries that follow deal with commercial and property matters. Only sixty-eight relate to domestic problems, and a mere twenty deal with physical assault. Punishments depended on the gender and social standing of the offender. Like the Stela of Naramsin, this stela was removed to Susa by Elamite invaders.
Portrait Head of a Ruler, from ancient Iran, c. 2100-2000 BC. Copper, 34 cm MMOA
Inscription on the queen ’ s skirt explicitly asks the gods to protect the statue: He who would seize my statue, who would smash it, who would destroy its inscription, who would erase my name, may he be smitten by the curse of [the gods], that his name shall become extinct, that his offspring be barren ….This is Napir-Asu ’ s offering.
Lamassu (winged, human-headed bull), from the citadel of Sargon II, Dur Sharrukin (modern Khorsabad), Iraq, ca. 720- 705 BC. Limestone, approx. 422 cm high, Louvre.
Reconstruction drawing of Babylon in the 6th century BC. The Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago. In this view, the palace of Nebuchadnezzar II, with its famous Hanging Gardens, can be seen just behind and to the right of the Ishtar Gate, to the west of the processional Way. The marduk Ziggurat looms up in the far distance on the east bank of the Euphrates. This structure was at times believed to be the biblical Tower of Babel-Bab-il was an early form of the city ’ s name.
Royal Audience Hall and stairway, palace of Darius I and Xerxes I, Persepolis, Iran, ca. 521-465 BC. Decorated w/ 100 columns, 12.2 m high, originally painted, the shafts show influences from other cultures, including Egypt and Greece.