Original Art

The word “original” comes from origin, the source. Today I saw some truly original art In a couple of caves here in France’s Dordogne valley. Thinking about the absorption of these prehistoric artists as they etched images into limestone with sharp flints or applied black and red colors, probably by a technique I used to describe to my anthro students as “spit painting”… I was overwhelmed. Although I cannot know exactly what their motivation was, I can know without a doubt that this was something important.

As someone who struggles with drawing or painting BIG, I was also impressed with the scale of many of the paintings and etched drawings.  Of course, they are still far from life size, so maybe these ancient painters actually thought they were painting in miniature…

The image above includes some curious elements that are referred to as “technoformes”.  These were new to me, and I found them fascinating.  I don’t know what the experts are positing as their significance, but I can’t help seeing them as structures, maybe of wood and other perishable materials.  Maybe the first architectural drawings?


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