Prehistory of Art
Prehistoric art happened in two main periods: Paleolithic art (superior) and Neolithic art, which may have different characteristics depending on the region.
However, the first artistic manifestations date to the end of the Lower Paleolithic (300000 B.C.) and are situated around 40000 B.C.
The art of the Upper Paleolithic had a span of more than 20,000 years. It's represented by the paintings and engravings produced by primitive men during the first phase of Prehistory.
Neolithic art began around 10,000 to 5,000 B.C. In this period, there was the improvement of art and the development of new styles. The discovery of the possibilities of using metals also gave rise to new forms of expression in Neolithic art. Among the most famous creations of the Neolithic are the monuments made with megaliths, such as Stonehenge, whose construction still intrigues researchers.
Upper Paleolithic art presents itself in four ways:
1. objects, usually small in size or miniatures (found generally in the remains of campsites).
2. painted murals drawn or engraved on walls of cave interiors.
3. bas-relief carvings, engraved directly on cave rocks.
4. rudimentary tools made from bone, horn, and stone.
Miniatures: the small proportion of a great art
Miniature art, also called "furniture art", was made in small dimensions. This is probably because the people of the period were nomadic, which made it difficult to transport large objects.
Among the best-known miniatures are the Paleolithic Venuses. Many statues from this period were named "Venus" after the Roman goddess of beauty, usually depicted nude. The archeologists discovered them in the 19th century. And, in some way, understood that the statues fulfilled the goddess' function for Paleolithic humans as a symbol of fertility and beauty. Although the term "Venus" has become established in art, certain contemporary scholars avoid, because it is unclear what function the statuettes fulfilled.
It is assumed that the abundant curves are meant to symbolize the reproduction and survival of the species, creating an object for rituals. One of the most remarkable features of these statues is the stylization of the heads and often of other parts of the body. There are also missing arms, and the belly is pronounced.
Other languages of prehistoric art
In addition to prehistoric paintings and sculptures, other languages of art have been present since ancient times. Excavations in 2008 and 2012 revealed the oldest instruments found so far: flutes made of bones that date between 41,000 B.C. and 33,000 B.C.
According to scientists, the interference of art and culture at the very beginning of the trajectory of the modern human being would be possible help to explain the reason for the survival of the species, in contrast to Neanderthal man, who went extinct.
Prehistory is also marked by dance. The main references of this practice during the Upper Paleolithic originate in the various petroglyphs portraying scenes of people in dancing positions. And also in the evidence that music was made during this phase of human history.
Researchers believe that, for prehistoric people, dance had functions such as the celebration of a good hunt, the cult of the dead, and performing rituals to promote the healing of illnesses.