A bit of history…

Have you ever wondered where art came from? I know I haven’t. Just kidding. History is important in every subject, and seeing as I’m studying art it seems only fitting to know a little bit about the beginnings of the subject. Rather that just concentrating on art, we are focusing on the history of visual communication. Which is rather a vast subject to grasp in a few short months so readers this is your warning, don’t expect anything to deep and meaningful! So where did it all begin? A long long time ago! 37,000 years ago are the first recorded cave paintings. Cave paintings can be found all over the world but I took a particular interest in the ones found in the Chauvet Cave in France. These are dated between 37,000 and 28,000 years ago. My first thought is that the artistic style did not change much in that period. There’s a 9,000 year difference yet the images from throughout are all very similar. In comparison to modern day you can see an incredible difference in the art created even just 100 years ago. So maybe this wasn’t art for arts sake? Perhaps this was just the way in which people passed down knowledge and information. Most of the cave paintings seem to be of animals that lived at the time. Especially predatory animals. So it makes sense that a painting on a cave wall would be of the cave lions, panthers and bears for future generations to watch out for. There were no paintings of complete human figures found in the caves in France, but there were many hand stencils and also lots of abstract symbols and shapes. Perhaps this was the first codified language? A way of keeping records?

Other Stone Age art included petroglyphs, which are images created by removing part of the rock. In essence they are rock carvings. Pictographs are patterns painted on the rock.

800px-newspaper_rock

I’m quite drawn to cave art. Although it seems like ancient doodling, and pictures of random hand stencils and cows and the like, it is the first example of anything being written down. The people making these markings did so for a reason, whether it be to kill some time and draw a pretty picture, or because they had a message to record. It is amazing that some of these drawings have lasted over 30,000 years. It also fascinates me the advancements that have been made not only in technology but in language and communication. In the current age, even though there are language barriers, it is possible for all people to communicate. And especially with the invention of telephones, computers and the internet, that communication is almost instant. We have developed so much from those people drawing cows and lions on a cave wall.

 

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