The discovery of pre-historic decorated caves in western Europe transformed the way we think about the development of art. The earliest known evidence of human artistic endeavor, the awe-inspiring paintings, dramatic engravings and small, delicate sculptures of animals and humans found in these caves still hold a unique power and fascination, more than a century after they were first discovered. In this book, internationally renowned expert on prehistoric art Jean Clottes explores the origins of art and creativity. He takes the reader on a guided tour of 85 caves and rock shelters, many of which are not open to the public, revealing the extraordinary beauty of the works of art within them.
Cave Art features more than 300 works from the Paleolithic period, made between 35,000 and 11,000 years ago, presented in geographical and chronological order.This comprehensive, accessible introduction to prehistoric art includes such spectacular works as the famous horses of Lascaux, the buffalo in the Altamira cave in Spain and the ivory carving of a woman's face found at Brassempouy in the south of France, as well as examples from less well-known sites. A wonderful range of animals is presented, from cave bears to reindeer, as well as mysterious abstract signs and schematic representations of human beings. Examples of portable art and sculpture are also included. While most of the caves described in the book are European, Cave Art also includes examples of open-air rock art made after the last ice age at sites around the world.
With an unparalleled selection of images, Cave Art offers a unique guided tour of the earliest expressions of human creativity. Each work in Cave Art is illustrated by a color photograph, and accompanied by a clear, vivid explanatory text. A concise introduction tells the story of the discovery of the caves, and gives a clear outline of current knowledge, research and debate on the subject of prehistoric art. The book also includes a chronology, maps of the main caves and sites, a glossary and a list of sites that can be visited.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
If you are interested in art history or just love looking at art, you'd certainly want to look at the earliest examples of art made by humans. You might conceivably buy enough air miles to see all the important works of western art, but many of the artworks shown in _Cave Art_ (Phaidon) by Jean Clottes you are never going to see, and the book's expansive and generous photographs are as close as you are going to get. You'd have to be an expert caver to get to some of the paintings shown here, and even so, many of them are in caves that are now closed to all but the most-degreed researchers. There are so many images here that one might think that there is a large store to draw from, but given that they range from 11,000 to 35,000 years old, it is amazing that the caves, always vulnerable to damage by water, time, and human activity, have preserved the treasures. Indeed, we may be getting a skewed, pinhole view of a larger artistic endeavor; if these artists were working during all...
This work is full, wondrously detailed, and offers a comprehensive view of the amazing art that was painted in caves across a rather discreet geographic region in France and Spain. In addition to paintings, a variety of artifacts are included as well. It is a wonderful and accomplished reference; and if you care to know more about your curious ancient, human ancestors, it is a treasure book.
An absolutely stunning book. The writing is not only scholarly but the photographs are beautiful. The author is an outstanding expert in this field and has had access to other experts in the field as well as access to many of the caves and sites which are now closed to the public. The text is a survey that enables to reader to have a historical trip through the grand, overawing beauty of the art expressed by our remote ancestors. This volume allows us a peek into this world and what it must have been like at times. This is a must for anyone who loves art, the role it plays in people's lives and how our remote ancestors interpreted their lives through their art and through time.
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