Prehistoric Art

The image in the cave of Altamira
The image in the cave of Altamira

The oldest surviving works of art were created in the prehistoric era, approximately sixty thousand years ago. At that time people did not know and metal tools were made of stone; hence the name of the era – the stone age. People of the Stone Age gave artistic shape everyday objects – stone tools and vessels of clay, although this was not a practical necessity. Why would they do that? On this subject we can build only assumptions.

Prehistoric ArtOne of the causes of art considered human need for beauty and the joy of creation, the other – the beliefs of the time. With superstitions associated beautiful monuments of the Stone Age – written colors, and engraved on the stone images that cover the walls and ceilings of underground caves – cave paintings. People at that time believed in magic: they believed that with the help of pictures and other images can be influenced by the nature. It was believed, for example, you need to hit an arrow or a spear painted animals to ensure the success of this hunt.

The exact time of the creation of cave paintings still could not be determined. The most beautiful of them were created, according to scientists, about twenty – ten thousand years ago. Large Live While part of Europe covered with a thick layer of ice; habitable remained only the southern part of the continent. The glacier slowly retreated, and after it moved to the north of primitive hunters. It can be assumed that in the most difficult conditions of the time all the forces of man left to fight hunger, cold and wild beasts. Nevertheless, he created a magnificent painting. On the walls of caves depict dozens of large animals, which was already able to hunt; Among them there are those who will be tamed by man – bulls, horses, reindeer and more. Cave paintings have retained the appearance of these animals and who later died out completely: mammoths and cave bears.

Prehistoric ArtPrimitive artists are very well aware of the animals, which depend on the existence of the people. Light and flexible, they passed the line postures and movements of the beast. Colorful chords – black, red, white, yellow – producing fascinating impression. Mineral dyes mixed with water, animal fat and plant sap, color cave paintings made especially vivid. To create such a large and perfect works, then as now, it was necessary to learn. It is possible that the stones with scratched images of animals are found in caves, were student work “art school” Stone Age.

It so happened that it is the children, with quite by accident, found the most interesting cave paintings in Europe. They are found in the caves of Altamira in Spain and Lascaux in France. So far in Europe, we found about a hundred caves with paintings; we can assume that they are also more, but not all is revealed. Paintings of Lascaux caves were discovered only in 1940. Similar monuments known outside Europe – in Asia, in North Africa.

It is amazing and a lot of these paintings, and their high artistic quality. Initially, many experts doubt the authenticity of the cave paintings: it seemed that the early humans could not be as adept at painting, and a wonderful preserved paintings suggest forgery.

Along with cave paintings and drawings at the time produced a variety of sculptures made of bone and stone. They were made using primitive tools, and the work required exceptional patience. Create statues, no doubt, too, it was due to the primitive beliefs.

During the Stone Age followed the Bronze (it got its name from the widespread then metal alloy – bronze). The Bronze Age began in Western Europe relatively late, about four thousand years ago. Bronze was much easier to handle than a stone, it could be mold and polish. Therefore, in the Bronze Age produced all kinds of household items, richly decorated with ornaments and have high artistic value. Ornamental decorations consisted mostly of circles, spirals, wavy lines, and similar motives. Particular attention was paid to decoration – they are large in size and catches the eye.

By the Bronze Age and are unique, great size buildings, owes its appearance as primitive beliefs. On the peninsula of Brittany in France for whole kilometers stretched the field of so-called menhirs. In the language of the Celts latest possible inhabitants of the peninsula, the name of the stone columns several meters high means “long stone”. Such groups are called cromlechs. Preserved and other kinds of buildings – dolmens, originally served as a burial walls of huge stone slabs overlapping roof of the same monolithic stone block. Numerous menhirs and dolmens were located in places that are considered sacred. Particularly famous for the ruins of the sanctuary in England – Stonehenge. It is assumed that there worshiped the sun.