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Cave Art

Overview

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 ...

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Overview

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.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

With the discovery of the Chauvet cave in the 1990s, the earliest indisputable evidence of human artistry has been pushed back over 10,000 years. Recent research has further clarified our understanding of the development of European Paleolithic art. Clottes (Return to Chauvet Cave), one of the leading scholars in this field, provides a survey of the various phases of the earliest art history. The book is presented like an exhibition catalog-a brief introductory essay summarizes the latest findings, followed by hundreds of color photos, each accompanied by a highly informative entry statement. The art reproduced includes cave wall paintings, engravings, and three-dimensional sculptures. In addition, the volume offers a chronological diagram, a glossary, and a list of sites open to the public. Highly recommended as a visual survey for any library with an interest in art and archaeology.
—Eugene C. Burt

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780714857237
  • Publisher: Phaidon Press
  • Publication date: 3/31/2010
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 537,824
  • Product dimensions: 9.70 (w) x 11.40 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Jean Clottes (b. 1933) is the world expert on prehistoric art. A respected scholar, he taught in many universities around the world, including Toulouse (France), Berkeley (United States), Gerona (Spain) and Neuchatel (Switzerland). Still very active today, Clottes is involved in many international organizations. He is an expert at ICOMOS-UNESCO (International Committee on Monuments and Sites), a member of the High Council for Historical Monuments, and the president of IFRAO (International Federation of Rock Art Organizations). Clottes has published numerous books on the subject, including World Rock Art (Getty Foundation, 2002), Chauvet Cave (University of Utah Press, 2003) and The Shamans of Prehistory (Abrams, 1998). He received numerous awards, and was appointed Chevalier in the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (1973), Chevalier in the Ordre de la Legion d'Honneur (2000) and Commandeur in the Ordre des Palmes Academiques (2007).

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Table of Contents

Introduction 11

35000-22000 years ago: the age of Chauvet

The Chauvet cave 32

Aurignacian art 54

Gravettian art 66

22000-17000 years ago: the age of Lascaux

The Lascaux cave 106

Solutrean art 122

17000-11000 years ago: the end of the Ice Age

The Niaux cave 184

Magdalenian art 206

From 11000 years ago: after the Ice Age 290

Chronology 313

Glossary of cultures, terms and techniques 314

Prehistoric sites open to the public 316

Maps and plans 317

Select bibliography 322

Index 324

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