Essay on Cave Paintings

Essay on Cave Paintings

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Creating art is one of the single defining factors that set humans apart from animal species. Through art, humans are able to express their innermost ideas and feelings, without having the difficulty of trying to find the correct words to accurately describe their thought processes. Works of art can help us to understand the people who have come before us. This is evidenced by the knowledge humans have discovered of prehistoric men and their symbolic cave paintings. The expression, style, and meaning vary and archaeologists put in much effort to uncover these works.
The first evidence of cave art appeared in Western Europe (Berenguer 67). Early cave paintings were characteristic of Western art. They were supported by an acute vision, deep expressiveness, enormous personality, and detailed execution (Berenguer 68). Art first appeared in sculpture-form, and then moved to engravings on cave walls. Eventually, this led to experimentation with colors, ultimately evolving to paintings (Berenguer 69).
In addition to adorning cave walls, prehistoric men also painted the surfaces of rocks and the floors of caves. How the paintings were made (the tools that were used, what minerals were used in making the pigments) does not necessarily reveal much important information regarding their meaning. More so, the location of the paintings discloses crucial material for understanding (Curtis 142). Originally, paintings were congregated at the entrance of the caves, but eventually were moved farther inside. This reveals that these paintings were not necessarily showpieces, but more deep and personal expressions. Paintings toward the front of the caves often indicated and pointed towards an interior sanctuary, serving as a beckoning call (Berengu...


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...al fat. Scientists consider the paintings to have been designed 15,000 to 17,000 years ago (Sayre 13).
The motivations behind the cave paintings of the prehistoric men are likely to always remain a mystery since we do not have proper documentation of their incentives, inspirations, or practices. Theories will always sprout up, sometimes in confliction with one another. The more we study these mysterious designs, the more we can begin to understand their lives and the way they lived them.



Works Cited

Berenguer, Magín. Prehistoric Man and His Art: The Caves of Ribadesella. Park Ridge, N.J: Noyes Press, 1975. Print.
Curtis, Gregory. The Cave Painters: Probing the Mysteries of the World's First Artists. New York: Knopf, 2006. Print.
Sayre, Henry M. Cave Paintings to Picasso: The Inside Scoop on 50 Art Masterpieces. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 2004. Print.

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