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by Archaeology Newsroom

Art

Art appears in the Late Paleolithic and reaches its climax in the Magdalenian. The works of art which have survived represent only a part of the Palaeolithic artistic production and especially the one which is made of hard natural, or animal material. The works of art are divided in two categories: the movable works of art, which comprise tools, weapons, pendants and incised slabs; and the art of caves, which includes works of sculpture, engraving and painting. Palaeolithic art was developed and expanded in the European area exclusively. In regions such as the Francocantabrian zone it occurs frequently, while elsewhere it appears sporadically or it is absent. The art of caves prevails in Western Europe, while in Eastern Europe the mobiliary art is found in abundance. The subject repertoire comprises animals, the horse and bison having the leading role. Human figures, hands and signs also appear. Narrative representations or compositions are absent as well as any attempt to indicate landscape.

All the known techniques have been used in yellow, orange, brown and black colours, while green and blue are excluded. According to A. Leroi-Gourhan, Palaeolithic art presents four stages of evolution; in the preliminary stages the figures are modelled in a completely schematic and linear way, while later their caracteristics start to become standard. The artist follows the proportions of the visual reality, but still the subjective motion prevails. The works of prime are full of realism, power and expression; the combination of painting, engraving and relief is now developing. The theories concerning the interpretation of this art have followed the evolution of the anthropologic thought from the 19th century until today. In Greece, Palaeolithic art is unknown as yet.