Monday, January 14, 2013

new origins cave art

Romare Bearden, Sunday Morning Breakfast, 1967

Joachim Beuckelar, Christ in the House of Martha and Mary, 1565

Corita Kent, Wonder, 1965
Salvador Dali, Sublime Moment, 1938
For those of us who wonder, imagine, search for meaning and try to connect the dots of visual culture, it is a deeper challenge and The Artist at the Table is designed to encourage these efforts.

The blog for my project, is the medium to explore humankind's (homo erectus) longest artistic endeavor  - expressive messages about food. Our culinary efforts, biology, social science and the art world become connected here. Going back to the Upper Paleolithic, 30,00 BCE.

Detailed Expedition Map
And food images offer a rich literary, visual and cinematic dimension, extending back to Renaissance artists -- Da Vinci, Chaucer, Dante, and to the Roman and Greek mosaic makers, writers, the Bible, of course, and early cave paintings.

Cave Paintings:
Scholars today assume that the first cave paintings were the beginning and very probably, brief narrative images of a spiritual nature.  The current anthropological thought is, that preceding all this, was genetic change, (sometimes referred to as "a great leap" and possibly "mono-genises", a totally new genetic structure sprung up in Mediterranean Europe). This and other theories (the ongoing nurture-nature idea) are found in today's studies of evolution, human reproduction, cancer studies, behavior and the environment. Possibly even speed dating.  More arguments from supporters of the enforces of cultural norms and "social script"

 And now, ART.

Puenta Visego, Spain, (left) is the location of earliest cave paintings, as shown below. 
Castillo cave, northern Spain. Note animal image left center. 

The scholarly art/archeology world at present is focused upon the Aurignacian (The name derives from the locale: Haute-Garonne area of France) archaeological culture of the Upper Palaeolithic, located in Europe and southwest Asia, as well as the cave discoveries throughout the 19th and 20th centuries.

  Cave art: "Hunters", Lascaux, France. One of the earliest images of homo erectus.
   The cave artists continued broadly within the period from ca. 45,000 to 35,000 years ago (about 37,000 to 27,000 years ago on the uncalibrated radiocarbon timescale; between ca. 47,000 and 41,000 years ago using the most recent calibration of the radiocarbon timescale). 
Tantalizing Questions:

How did it occur that the artists realized that they were somehow apart from nature as it had been perceived?  Even beyond visual perception lay an understanding that the animals to be presented as images had meaning, a power beyond the taste of flesh and survival.  These homosapiens gained the notion of symbol, their greatest leap.

All of the social or "human" evidence is lost.  Tools and carved objects or artifacts., remain and field research groups test probable living sites and carry the marvel that a member of that ancient society could create an affective and realistic image in a dimly-lit cave wall, far back from natural light, aided by only some primitive lamp using grease or oil.

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