As we begin to assess Art in its cultural and historic context, we find ourselves turning our gaze back into our collective distant past and marvel at the work painted and scratched onto cave walls. Our earliest ancestors, responding to a community driven by hopes, fears, and ignorance, saw fit to leave their perceptions of the world which we, unfortunately, refer to as “primitive art”. The famed British sculptor, Henry Moore, once remarked: “Primitive art…is something made by people with a direct and immediate response to life.” Although no written documents have been found to record the “thoughts” of our earliest ancestors, nevertheless, their painted images on cave walls such as Chauvet Cave speak volumes about their perceptions of the visible world they inhabited so many years ago. It is believed that the cave painters constructed images on the cave walls in a representational way so that, in some magical way, the spirit of the animal depicted would inhabit the replicated form. In other words, their painted animals became those animals in the wilds. What are your thoughts of our ancient ancestors and their attempts to “record” or “document” their time by replicating animals on the walls of sacred caves?
Animals found in Chauvet Cave