Artwork Analysis Of Pre-Historic Period

Freshman (College 1st year) ・Art ・Harvard ・3 Sources

Pre-historic Art

The pre-historic art is man's artistic attempts which he made many years ago before Christ, and they are regarded his first tries before he developed ways of record keeping. It's called the preliterate history in human's life. The man began to use symbols as a means of communication. This way helped him interpret his surroundings, and the present humans found ways to study these symbols that were drawn to determine what the early man thought of his world. The symbols were written in caves or rocks and included writings as well as paintings.

Lascaux Caves

One awesome example of pre-historic art is located in southwestern France. The Lascaux Caves are famous for the paintings. The caves were found in September 1940, in the countryside near a village in Lascaux valley. An archaeologist discovered that the cave paintings dated back to the Paleolithic period. The paintings were of animals which occupied the region many years ago. The Lascaux caves are large and have been divided by anthropologists and archeologists into sections. The art also includes human and symbols.

Pictures of Animals

The Lascaux cave walls are painted with over 1500 pictures of animals. It is thought that as the artist was painting the people from the communities would tell stories and sing praise songs. Researchers believe that these paintings are a representation of hunting success. In some areas, they found many pictures of one animal and in other areas another type of animal which they thought represented more success in hunting in those areas.

Symbols and Signs

Some symbols and signs used in the paintings are considered to describe weapons and wounds. The paintings also depicted real social relations between animals. In some pictures, animals were drawn together while animals known not to associate with each other weren't drawn from the same rock.

Paleolithic and Neolithic Art

Paleolithic art period is also called the old stone age. During this stage, man created art by painting on stone. The man was interested in hunting and artistic representation of his world by painting in small rocks, stationary rocks and inside caves. Neolithic age is the time when man abandoned his lifestyle of hunting and gathering and settled down in more organized families and started practicing farming. During these two periods, Man was involved in arts. There is enough evidence in Europe to support this claim.

Art from the Neolithic Age

Skara Brae is a village in Scotland that represents art from the Neolithic age. Early on it was thought that the village belonged to the iron age, but radiocarbon dating revealed that they were from the late Neolithic period. Stonehenge in England is famous because of rock rings found there. They are believed to belong to the Neolithic period. Lascaux Valley in France consists of the cave painting of animals that were hunted by the man at that time. The artistic work belonged to the upper paleolithic period. In Willendorf an artifact called Venus of Willen Dorf is thought to have been carved during the Paleolithic period. The object is believed to represent females who survived the old stone age period, but the actual origin is not known. In Jordan Pre-Pottery Neolithic A period is found as different ways in which houses were built at that time including plastering the inside walls. There were also plastered human skulls there.

Ancient Near Eastern Art

The ancient near eastern art is a region that is represented by nowadays by Mesopotamia, ancient Egypt, Iran and other areas in the East. The period dates between the bronze age and iron age. The ancient near east is known as the first place where man started practicing agriculture and developed urban centers as well as family organizations. Writing, law, wheel invention, and mathematics were all developed in the ancient near east. In Mesopotamia, the Sumerians occupied land between Euphrates and Tigris rivers. It was fertile and started agriculture in Mesopotamia. They also invented the writing and wrote on clays. They also brought bookkeeping were the kept records for future references.


Beaulieu, Paul-Alain, J. N. Postgate, and Guillermo Algaze. "Early Mesopotamia. Society and Economy at the Dawn of History." The Classical World 88, no. 3 (1995): 235. doi:10.2307/4351718.
George, A. R. "The Ancient World Marc van de Mieroop: The ancient Mesopotamian city, xv, 269 pp. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1997." Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 62, no. 03 (1999): 550. doi:10.1017/s0041977x00018620.
White, Randall Keith. Prehistoric art: the symbolic journey of humankind. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 2003.

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